Full court refuses to review Texas interim storage case

March 19, 2024, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions

By a narrow vote of 9–7, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals denied a petition to rehear the court’s 2023 decision to vacate Interim Storage Partners’ (ISP’s) license to build and operate a consolidated interim storage facility for commercial spent nuclear fuel in Andrews County, Texas.

DOE again awards $45 billion Hanford tank contract to H2C

March 4, 2024, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
Hanford’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, also known as the Vit Plant. (Photo: Bechtel National)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management once again awarded a 10-year, $45 billion contract to Hanford Tank Waste Operations and Closure (H2C) of Lynchburg, Va., for the cleanup of tank waste at the Hanford Site.

Orano, SHINE to cooperate on used fuel recycling plant

March 1, 2024, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions
Orano CEO Nicolas Maes (left) and SHINE Technologies founder and CEO Greg Piefer shake hands after agreeing to cooperate on a pilot used fuel recycling facility. (Photo: Orano)

Orano and SHINE Technologies have agreed to cooperate in the development of a pilot plant capable of recycling used nuclear fuel from light water reactors on a commercial scale. In announcing the signing of a memorandum of understanding on Thursday, the companies said the selection of a site for the pilot U.S. facility is expected by the end of this year.

Orano completes removal of Crystal River-3 RPV

December 11, 2023, 6:58AMRadwaste Solutions

The first piece of Crystal River-3’s reactor pressure vessel is lifted from the reactor cavity. (Photo: Orano)

The cutting and conditioning of the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) and internals belonging to the pressurized water reactor at the Crystal River-3 nuclear power plant in Florida has been completed, the Orano Group has announced. Finished in under two years, removal of the RPV marks the conclusion of the plant’s dismantling and spent fuel management project, which began in 2021.

Crystal River-3 is being decommissioned by Advanced Decommissioning Partners (ADP), a joint venture of Orano and NorthStar Group Services. Duke Energy transferred the licenses for Crystal River-3 to ADP in October 2020 for accelerated decommissioning.

Optimized process: Orano’s Dismantling and Services teams carried out the cutting and conditioning of the reactor vessel and primary circuit components using a patented segmentation process called “optimized segmentation,” according to the company.

OPG picks fuel suppliers for first Darlington SMR

December 1, 2023, 12:01PMNuclear News
Representatives of OPG and its partners announced new contracts at the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris. (Photo: X/@urencoglobal)

At the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris this week, Ontario Power Generation announced contracts with Canadian, French, and U.S. companies to ensure a fuel supply for the first of four GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy BWRX-300 small modular reactors planned for deployment at OPG’s Darlington nuclear power plant.

NRC to hold hybrid meeting on Crystal River-3 license termination

November 29, 2023, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
The Crystal River-3 nuclear power plant.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced that it will hold a hybrid public meeting on December 7 to discuss the license termination process and to accept comments on the remaining cleanup activities under the license termination plan for the Crystal River-3 nuclear power plant in Crystal River, Fla.

Sharing D&D Knowledge in a Competitive Market

October 27, 2023, 3:13PMRadwaste SolutionsTim Gregoire
Vermont Yankee’s segmented reactor vessel head is lowered into a custom-built package for transportation and disposal. (Photo: Orano)

Currently, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is overseeing 17 nuclear power plants that are undergoing active decommissioning. For 10 of those plants, the NRC licenses have been transferred, either through sale or temporary transfer, from the plant owner and operator to a third party, nonutility company for decommissioning. To be profitable, those companies are decommissioning the nuclear plants as expediently as they safely can, while still protecting workers and the environment, using proprietary techniques and processes.

U.S. requests review of circuit court’s ruling on Texas storage facility

October 27, 2023, 12:05PMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice are asking the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review its decision to vacate Interim Storage Partners’ license to build and operate a consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) for commercial spent nuclear fuel in Andrews County, Texas.

A focus where it is needed

September 7, 2023, 6:57AMNuclear NewsKen Petersen

Ken Petersen

The front end of the fuel cycle is getting a lot of attention lately—and it needs it. The war in Ukraine has disrupted the global supply chain for many products, nuclear fuel being one. Several countries have determined that they no longer want to rely on nuclear fuel from Russia. This can be anything from fabricated fuel including uranium, conversion, and enrichment to just enrichment.

Since the Cold War, Russia has been a major supplier of nuclear fuel to the West. Replacing Russia as the main supplier will take both time and money—a fact that has become even more clear as the small modular reactor community grows, and with it, the demand for high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) for fuel.

The American Nuclear Society has been highlighting the immediacy of the fuel supply problem—which will become a crisis without immediate action—for years. In 2021, ANS wrote to Congress, urging swift action. This year, Nuclear News and ANS’s Nuclear Newswire have run a three-part series by energy writer and consultant Matt Wald on the domestic nuclear fuel shortage. The first article, “On the verge of a crisis: The U.S. nuclear fuel Gordian knot,” was published on Newswire on April 14; the second, “The U.S. nuclear fuel Gordian knot: From global supplier to vulnerable customer,” on May 19. The final piece of the series, “The U.S. nuclear fuel Gordian knot: The uncertain path forward,” was posted on September 1.

Final EA and proposed FONSI for MCRE released

August 1, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
The former Zero-Power Physics Reactor cell at INL’s Materials and Fuels Center could be home to the MCRE. (Photo: INL)

The Department of Energy today released its final environmental assessment (EA) and a proposed finding of no significant impact (FONSI) for the design, construction, and operation of the Molten Chloride Reactor Experiment (MCRE) at Idaho National Laboratory. The draft EA was released earlier this year, in March, for four weeks of public comments.

NorthStar to take ownership of Vallecitos for D&D

May 11, 2023, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
The Vallecitos Nuclear Center in northern California. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy announced May 9 that it intends to transfer ownership of the 1,600-acre GEH Vallecitos Nuclear Center to NorthStar Group Services for nuclear decontamination, decommissioning, and environmental site restoration.

DOE awards $45 billion Hanford tank waste contract

April 14, 2023, 9:29AMRadwaste Solutions
Hanford’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, also known as the Vit Plant. (Photo: Bechtel National)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management awarded a 10-year contract worth up to $45 billion to Hanford Tank Waste Operations and Closure (H2C) of Lynchburg, Va., to oversee the management of liquid radioactive tank waste at the DOE’s Hanford Site in southeastern Washington state.

Shipping Vermont Yankee’s LLW: Lessons for transporting used fuel

March 23, 2023, 9:30AMRadwaste SolutionsJay Thomas, Mike Valenzano, and Nicolas Guibert
A loaded MP197HB cask is prepared for departure from the Vermont Yankee decommissioning site to West Texas. (Photos: Orano TN)

The rapid changes in the nuclear energy industry over the last decade, driven in part by fluctuating energy market prices and an aging fleet of reactors, have led to the closure of multiple reactors in the United States and other countries. These closures have increased the need for larger and more efficient ways to manage low-level radioactive waste processing and transport capacities. The safe transport of radioactive material is a key component of the overall nuclear industry reliability. Though sometimes perceived as a bottleneck and costly, it is necessary to send waste material to disposal.

Orano, TerraPower get vouchers to study LEU+ transport and chlorine chemistry

June 23, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
A rendering of the MCRE. (Image: Southern Company)

The Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) awarded vouchers to Orano Federal Services and TerraPower on June 22, giving them access to specialized facilities and expertise at Department of Energy national laboratories. Orano is partnering with Oak Ridge National Laboratory on a new technical study that updates the physical chemistry limits for the safe transport of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas enriched up to 10 percent in existing shipping containers, and TerraPower is turning to Los Alamos National Laboratory’s neutron testing capabilities to measure the properties of chlorine isotopes and determine how they will behave in the Molten Chloride Reactor Experiment (MCRE).

South Korea produces first dual-purpose used fuel cask for U.S. customer

June 8, 2022, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions
SeAH Besteel’s Gusan plant in South Korea. (Image: SeAH Besteel)

Orano TN Americas and South Korean special steel maker SeAH Besteel last week announced the completion and delivery of the first dual-purpose used nuclear fuel dry storage cask manufactured for a U.S. utility by the Korean company.

Following Orano’s purchase order in September 2019, SeAH Besteel established a mass production system for Orano’s dual-purpose casks in compliance with U.S. and international nuclear standards. Orano TN Americas is a subsidiary of France’s Orano NPS.

DOE funds R&D for advanced reactor fuel cycle management

March 14, 2022, 7:01AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) has awarded a total of $36 million for 11 projects to develop technologies that will limit the amount of waste produced from advanced reactors and will support sustainable domestic fuel stocks. The projects include research into the facilities and systems required to reprocess, recycle, and dispose of spent fuel generated through diverse advanced reactor fuel cycles.

ARDP recipient Southern announces molten salt fast reactor demonstration plans

November 19, 2021, 9:29AMNuclear News
The Molten Chloride Reactor Experiment will be built at Idaho National Laboratory to demonstrate criticality in a fast-spectrum salt-cooled reactor within five years. (Image: Southern Company)

Southern Company and the Department of Energy have announced an agreement to demonstrate the world’s first fast-spectrum salt reactor in collaboration with TerraPower and a host of other participants at Idaho National Laboratory. With this announcement, at least four of the DOE’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Project awardees featuring four different coolants—helium (X-energy), sodium (TerraPower), fluoride salt (Kairos Power), and chloride salt (Southern, with TerraPower)—have announced a site and a commitment to build either a full-size demo reactor or a scaled-down experimental reactor.

From the pages of Nuclear News : Industry update

November 1, 2021, 3:01PMNuclear News

Here is a recap of industry happenings over the course of the past month:


Terrestrial Energy and Cameco examine partnership for deploying IMSR Generation IV nuclear power plants

  • Terrestrial Energy and Cameco Corporation have signed a non-binding and non-exclusive memorandum of understanding to examine potential partnership opportunities to deploy Terrestrial Energy’s Integrated Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR) Generation IV nuclear power plants in North America and worldwide. The partnership would also evaluate possible opportunities for the supply of uranium, fuel, and other services. As part of these activities, the companies are investigating the potential of Cameco’s Port Hope uranium conversion facility in Ontario, Canada, for IMSR fuel salt supply.

French support for nuclear is growing, survey says

October 26, 2021, 7:03AMNuclear News

A new survey by the research and consulting firm BVA Group for France’s Orano finds an increased acceptance of nuclear energy among the French people from two years ago. (BVA conducted a similar poll for the nuclear fuel cycle company in 2019.)