SRS workers meet Pu downblending goals ahead of schedule

November 7, 2022, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
A view of Savannah River’s K Area, where employees began downblending plutonium in 2016. (Photo: DOE)

Contractor employees at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site in South Carolina recently exceeded their plutonium downblending goal for 2022 ahead of schedule as part of the ongoing activities to remove Pu from the state, the DOE’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) announced.

Students graduate from SRNS/Aiken Tech nuclear apprenticeship program

August 12, 2022, 6:59AMANS Nuclear Cafe
The third cohort of the Nuclear Operator Apprenticeship Program was recognized in a ceremony at Aiken Technical College. (Credit: SRNS)

Twenty-three students in the third cohort of the Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) Nuclear Operator Apprenticeship Program graduated recently following their completion of the Nuclear Fundamentals Certificate curriculum at Aiken Technical College (ATC) in South Carolina. The class was the largest ever of operator apprentices to graduate from the program. Those graduates who meet all employment requirements are eligible for hire at the Savannah River Site.

Savannah River Site uses passive system to remove groundwater contaminants

June 8, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News
SRNS environmental engineers Bryce Garner (left) and Adam Willey (center) ask questions of lead operator Daniel Ferrell (right), from field services contractor Cascade Environmental, as he describes how equipment injects oil and iron into the Savannah River Site’s groundwater. (Photo: DOE)

In this week’s “EM Update,” the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) reports that its contractor Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) has successfully reduced degreasing solvents in the aquifer beneath the Savannah River Site in South Carolina using a technology that injects a form of iron and oil into groundwater.

“The oil attracts the Cold War[–era] cleaning solvents while the iron degrades and neutralizes the contamination,” said Shannan Lucero, SRNS manager for area closure projects.

Cold War–era cooling tower at Savannah River Site demolished

October 12, 2021, 7:02AMRadwaste Solutions
Workers demolish a large industrial cooling tower built in 1952 at the DOE’s Savannah River Site. (Photo: SRNS)

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS), the management and operations contractor for the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site, has torn down a large industrial cooling tower at the site’s D Area complex. The cooling tower, built in 1952, is one of more than 30 structures being removed from SRS’s D Area as the DOE works to reduce the site’s footprint.

ISO deems Savannah River’s environmental program ‘robust’

June 30, 2021, 7:18AMRadwaste Solutions
From left, SRNS mechanic Todd Cockrell, engineer John Bradley, and project manager Joao Cardoso-Neto plan the removal of a vapor extraction unit at the Savannah River Site. (Photo: DOE)

Department of Energy site contractors Savannah River Nuclear Solutions and Savannah River Remediation received high marks from a recent independent audit of their environmental management work at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.

Tank waste retrieval project completed at Savannah River Site

May 13, 2021, 3:01PMRadwaste Solutions
A salt dissolution campaign in Tank 37 at the Savannah River Site was completed ahead of schedule, creating tank space for evaporator operations and allowing for more feed to the Salt Waste Processing Facility. (Photo: DOE)

Department of Energy contractor Savannah River Remediation (SRR) announced on May 11 that it has completed a salt dissolution campaign in Tank 37, one of the underground tanks storing high-level radioactive liquid waste at the Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina.

AgCl proves effective in reducing Savannah River’s I-129 contamination

April 30, 2021, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
SRNS subcontractors Donald Miles and Richard Mooney drill for soil samples as part of a project to immobilize I-129 in the groundwater and soil at the Savannah River Site. Photo: DOE/SRNS

A silver chloride–based cleanup technology is expected to reduce radioactive iodine-129 contamination found in soil and groundwater near the center of the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site in South Carolina to levels well below regulatory limits. The I-129 was created during the production of plutonium and tritium at the site throughout the Cold War era.

DOE issues draft RFP for $21.5 billion Savannah River M&O contract

April 29, 2021, 3:05PMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management has released a draft request for proposals (RFP) for a new contract worth up to $21.5 billion over 10 years for the operation of the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. The draft RFP contemplates a standalone, performance-based, cost-plus-award-fee management and operating (M&O) contract containing discrete contract line-item numbers/specifications with the potential for other contract types.

DOE official opens WM Symposia with 2021 EM priorities

March 9, 2021, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions

William “Ike” White, the DOE's acting assistant secretary for Environmental Management. Source: DOE

William “Ike” White, the Department of Energy’s acting assistant secretary for environmental management, helped open the 2021 Waste Management Symposia by announcing a new era for the department’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) and its cleanup mission. Speaking via live stream during the virtual meeting’s plenary session on March 8, White said, “Today, EM is at the start of a new era, with a new administration and a new set of priorities for the year, and, hopefully, the start of a new post-pandemic world.”

The new priorities that White touted are contained in EM’s Calendar Year 2021 Mission and Priorities, which outlines specific planned goals across the cleanup complex for the coming year. According to the DOE, the calendar serves as a marker for EM’s continuing success in addressing the legacy of nuclear weapons production and government-sponsored nuclear energy research.

NNSA releases contractor performance evaluations

January 19, 2021, 6:59AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The National Nuclear Security Administration last week released performance evaluation summaries on the effectiveness of its management and operating (M&O) contractors in meeting the agency’s expectations during fiscal year 2020.

The summaries feature assessment “scorecards,” as well as links to M&O contractor performance evaluation and measurement plans. Also included are specific contractor accomplishments, plus issues requiring attention.

U.S., Canada complete nuclear material shipping effort

January 13, 2021, 7:02AMRadwaste Solutions

A four-year campaign to repatriate 161 kilograms of highly enriched uranium liquid target residue material (TRM) from Chalk River Laboratories in Ontario, Canada, to the Savannah River Site in Aiken, S.C., has been completed, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) announced on January 12.

The campaign was conducted under the U.S.-Origin Foreign Research Reactor Spent Nuclear Fuel Acceptance Program, established in 1996 to return U.S.-origin spent nuclear fuel and other weapons-grade nuclear material from civilian sites worldwide. Other partners involved in the effort included the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM), Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS), and Savannah River National Laboratory as well as state and tribal governments.

The TRM is the by-product of the production of medical isotopes from AECL’s now-shuttered National Research Universal reactor. The repatriation of the material, begun in 2017 and completed in 2020, involved 115 separate truck shipments, covering some 150,000 miles, according to the announcements.

The year in review 2020: Waste Management

January 8, 2021, 2:50PMRadwaste Solutions

Here is a look back at the top stories of 2020 from our Waste Management section in Newswire and Nuclear News magazine. Remember to check back to Newswire soon for more top stories from 2020.

Waste Management section

  • First-ever cleanup of uranium enrichment plant celebrated at Oak Ridge: The completion of the decades-long effort to clean up the former Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant was celebrated on October 13, with Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette joining U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, and other state and community leaders at the East Tennessee Technology Park, where the uranium enrichment complex once stood. Read more.

Savannah River's Ford Building comes down

November 20, 2020, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions

Demolition of the Ford Building at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina has been completed, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) announced on November 18. The large metal storage building formerly contained mechanical systems used during the Cold War to remotely raise and lower control rods within nuclear reactor vessels.

Workers have also sealed the Ford Building’s original concrete flooring with six inches of new concrete. Teardown of the facility brings the number of structures that have been deactivated and decommissioned at the site to 292.

DOE issues RFP for Savannah River contract

April 23, 2020, 12:33PMNuclear News

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) has issued a draft request for proposal for the stand-alone management and operations (M&O) contract for Savannah River National Laboratory, located at the Savannah River Site near Aiken, S.C. The five-year contract, with possible award terms of up to five additional years, is anticipated to have a value of approximately $381 million a year.

Looking high and low for HALEU

September 2, 2019, 10:00AMNuclear NewsSusan Gallier
The interior of the process building at the American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon, Ohio, where Centrus Energy plans to operate a HALEU demonstration cascade by June 2022. (Photo: Centrus Energy)

Advanced reactor cores are being designed for higher efficiencies and longer lifetimes, but to get there, they need high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU).

Enriched to between 5 and 19.75 percent fissile U-235, HALEU is packed with nuclear potential. It can be used as a feedstock for the demonstration of new fuel designs, from uranium alloys to ceramic pellets and liquid fuels. Those fuels can enable advanced reactor and microreactor demonstrations. Operating light-water reactors could potentially transition to HALEU uranium oxide fuels for extended operating cycles and improved plant economics.