Siphoning D&D lessons from the oil and gas industry

The Deepsea Delta oil-drilling platform in the North Sea. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Nuclear decommissioning projects can benefit from the lessons learned in the fossil fuel industry, according to a December 8 Reuters Events post that draws heavily from an article published in the ANS magazine Radwaste Solutions.

Reuters reporter Paul Day interviewed the authors of “Tapping Nonnuclear Knowledge,” which appeared in the Fall 2020 issue of RS and examines research being done on cross-sector learning between nuclear and oil and gas decommissioning projects, particularly the mega projects of decommissioning nuclear power plants and offshore oil rigs.

DOE to provide $12 million for nuclear data research

The U.S. Department of Energy plans to provide up to $12 million for new research on nuclear data in support of crosscutting research. The aim of the program is to expand and improve the quality of data needed for a wide range of nuclear-related activities, from basic research in nuclear science to isotope production and nuclear nonproliferation efforts.

“Increasingly, precise data on the properties of atomic nuclei are central to enabling groundbreaking advances in medicine, commerce, and national security,” said Chris Fall, director of the DOE’s Office of Science, on December 7. “This program targets crosscutting opportunities to enhance the curation of existing nuclear data archives, as well as research to lay the groundwork for new applications in areas of national need.”

DOE awards $18 million to support high-intensity laser facilities

The Advanced Beam Laboratory at Colorado State University will receive funding under the DOE’s LaserNetUS program.

The Department of Energy’s Office of Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) aims to accelerate U.S. research in the field of high-energy-density plasma science with the awarding of $18 million to fund operations and user support at high-intensity laser facilities in the United States and Canada, the DOE announced on October 27.

The award is part of FES’s LaserNetUS initiative, which was established in 2018 to provide U.S. scientists increased access to high-intensity laser facilities at 10 universities and national laboratories: the University of Texas at Austin, Ohio State University, Colorado State University, the University of Michigan, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, the University of Rochester, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Canada’s Université du Québec.

South Korea completes first vacuum vessel section for ITER

ITER vacuum vessel section no. 6, shown here, was completely assembled in April. South Korea is providing four of the nine 40-degree vacuum vessel sections; Europe is providing the other five. Photo: ITER

South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) has completed work on the first vacuum vessel section for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), the ITER Organization reported on April 28. The 440-ton section is now being prepared for shipping this summer to the ITER construction site, located near Saint-Paul-lez-Durance, France.

Researchers investigate effects of heat on water migration at WIPP

Deep in the underground of a New Mexico desert, the Department of Energy is studying the effects of high-level, heat-generating radioactive waste on water migration in the salt formations. At the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, N.M., a collaboration between Sandia, Los Alamos, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories is performing a series of borehole-scale process tests, called the Brine Availability Test in Salt (BATS) project.