The Watchful Guardian: Argonne’s ARG-US remote monitoring technologies

April 12, 2024, 3:07PMRadwaste SolutionsKevin A. Brown and Yung Liu
The DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Ill. (Photo: DOE)

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory are developing and deploying ARG-US (from the Greek Argus, meaning “Watchful Guardian”) remote monitoring systems technologies to enhance the safety, security, and safeguards (3S) of packages of nuclear and other radioactive material during storage, transportation, and disposal.

Nonproliferation proponents call on Biden to oppose SHINE's proposed recycling plant

April 8, 2024, 3:01PMRadwaste Solutions

A group of 29 nonproliferation supporters sent a letter to President Biden asking that he withhold federal support for a proposed pilot plant for recycling spent nuclear fuel to be built by the Wisconsin-based fusion tech company SHINE Technologies. The experts further asked that Biden “discourage” the Nuclear Regulatory Commission from licensing the plant, claiming it would extract enough weapons-grade plutonium to build 100 atomic bombs a year.

Still time to submit for NSTOR collections on policy issues

February 14, 2024, 7:00AMANS News

ANS’s fully open research platform Nuclear Science and Technology Open Research (NSTOR) has two collections forming that aim to capture opinions and data on cross-cutting policy topics.

Industry experts at ANS virtual event discuss strategies for safe and secure nuclear power expansion

February 9, 2024, 7:02AMANS News
From left: Piercy, Hart, Iyengar, Tobey

The latest virtual event produced by the American Nuclear Society brought together experts from the forefront of the global nuclear industry to discuss strategies for ensuring a safe, secure, and healthy expansion in the face of a rapidly changing energy and geopolitical landscape.

The webinar, moderated by ANS Executive Director/CEO Craig Piercy, featured J’Tia Hart, chief science officer for the National and Homeland Security Directorate at Idaho National Laboratory; Anagha Iyengar, deputy program director for analytics and innovation at the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Office of International Nuclear Security; and William Tobey, former NNSA deputy administrator for defense nuclear nonproliferation.

Bomb-sniffing canines report for duty at Hanford

August 10, 2023, 12:02PMNuclear News
K-9 officer Dee and her partner, Patrol Officer Manny Rodriguez, during a training exercise. (Photo: DOE )

The Department of Energy’s Hanford Site has introduced its newest team members, Dee and Freda, two highly skilled explosive-detecting K-9 officers. The police dogs will work with Richland Operations Office contractor Hanford Mission Integration Solutions to help ensure the safety and security of the legacy nuclear reservation near Richland, Wash.

NRC issues strategic plan for reviewing AI in nuclear applications

June 1, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News

To help plan and prepare for new technologies involving artificial intelligence, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has released its Artificial Intelligence Strategic Plan (NUREG-2261) for fiscal years 2023–2027.

The NRC said that it expects license applications that include the use of AI technologies to be submitted to the agency for review and approval within the next few years. The strategic plan is meant to help ensure that NRC staff are prepared to review and evaluate such applications.

In the foreword, the NRC Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research director Raymond Furstenau introduces the strategic plan, writing, “We recognize that interest in AI is growing rapidly in both the public and private sectors. As such, I think [it] is important to lay the groundwork needed to ensure the safe and secure use of AI in NRC-regulated activities.”

SRNL, Augusta University to cooperate on security, workforce development

May 10, 2023, 9:33AMNuclear News
Augusta University’s Neil MacKinnon and SRNL’s Tammy Taylor at the signing ceremony for a new security and workforce development partnership.

Savannah River National Laboratory and Augusta University have announced a new agreement that formalizes a long-standing partnership and expands on a shared mission to address global security issues.

Nuclear oversight board to discuss Savannah River safety concerns

April 12, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
The DOE's Savannah River Site. (Photo: DOE)

The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB) is scheduled to visit the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site in South Carolina the week of May 8 to discuss ongoing safety concerns and the protection of the public and workforce, as well as the DOE’s effectiveness in addressing those concerns.

Reports of fire at Y-12 weapons production building

February 22, 2023, 3:01PMNuclear News
The Y-12 site in Oak Ridge, Tenn. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

A fire broke out at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn., earlier today. According to Y-12’s Facebook page, one of the site’s production buildings had a fire in a hood at approximately 9:15 a.m. Y-12 emergency services responded to the event and precautionary protective actions were initiated for employees who were in the vicinity of the incident and who were not involved in the emergency response.

Savannah River facility prepped for NNSA project

February 7, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
A crane is used to remove equipment during a project to repurpose Building 226-F for an NNSA mission at the Savannah River Site. (Photo: DOE)

Work has begun to prepare the Savannah River Plutonium Processing Facility (SRPPF) at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site in South Carolina for its future national security mission: the manufacturing of plutonium pits for the National Nuclear Security Administration.

National labs targeted in Russia-based phishing scheme, Reuters reports

January 9, 2023, 12:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Reuters broke an “exclusive” story on January 6 that, “according to Internet records reviewed by Reuters and five cyber security experts, a Russian hacking team known as Cold River targeted three Department of Energy laboratoriesArgonne, Brookhaven, and Lawrence Livermore—with a phishing scheme in the summer of 2022.

NNSA cancels M&O contract for Pantex and Y-12, to hold separate contract competitions

May 23, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
The Pantex Plant in Texas (Photo: NNSA)

The National Nuclear Security Administration announced last week that it is canceling its November 2020 contract solicitation for management and operation of the Pantex Plant and Y-12 National Security Complex and terminating the contract award announced in November 2021 for the two sites. The NNSA intends to hold two new competitions for separate contracts to manage each site.

NRC issues $50,000 fine for security-related violations at Oyster Creek

January 28, 2022, 12:01PMNuclear News
HDI was issued a confirmatory order by the NRC for regulatory violations at Oyster Creek. (Photo: Exelon)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a confirmatory order to Holtec Decommissioning International (HDI) following an alternative dispute resolution mediation session regarding security-related violations at the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in Lacey Township, N.J. A subsidiary of Holtec International, HDI is decommissioning Oyster Creek, which permanently ceased operations in 2018.

NRC commissioners vote to continue ISFSI security rulemaking

January 26, 2022, 7:22AMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will continue work on a new rule on security requirements for independent spent fuel storage installations (ISFSIs), with two of the agency’s three commissioners voting to disapprove a request by NRC staff to discontinue the proposed rulemaking. The commissioners’ votes on the request were recorded on August 4, 2021, but were not made public until January 24.

NRC proposes penalty for security violations at Oyster Creek

January 4, 2022, 6:59AMNuclear News
Spent fuel casks are loaded at Oyster Creek’s dry storage pad. (Photo: Holtec)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has proposed a $150,000 fine for apparent security-related violations at the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in New Jersey. Oyster Creek permanently ceased operations in 2018, and ownership of the plant was transferred to Holtec Decommissioning International for decommissioning in July 2019.

NRC suspends authority to ship heavy water to China

October 4, 2021, 6:59AMNuclear News

Citing national security interests, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued an order suspending the general license authority to export radioactive material and deuterium to China General Nuclear (CGN) and its subsidiaries or related entities.

The NRC licensees subject to the order had been authorized to ship radioactive materials and heavy water to China through a general license granted in sections 110.21 through 110.24 of 10 CFR Part 110. Notice of the order was published in the October 1 Federal Register.

U.S. Nuclear Nexus created to guide exporters of advanced nuclear technology

August 23, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News

Companies, universities, and national laboratories across the United States are working together to develop and demonstrate advanced nuclear technologies. To deploy those technologies on a global scale and maximize U.S. efforts to combat climate change, technology developers eyeing the export market must navigate rules and recommendations designed to ensure that international safeguards, security, and nonproliferation standards are met. Understanding and, where appropriate, integrating these standards early in the development process is crucial for streamlining export and technology deployment.

University students explore nuclear nonproliferation with LANL experts

August 2, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear News
Left: The University of Texas at Austin SBD Challenge team: from left, Michael Butero, Matthew Frangos, Daniel Gutierrez, and John (Jack) Whelan. Right: The University of Rhode Island team: from left, Jay Macchia, Sean Babin, and Peter Tillinghast. (Photo: NNSA)

The National Nuclear Security Administration's Office of Nonproliferation and Arms Control has been partnering with national laboratories and universities to introduce engineering students to the field of international safeguards. Safeguards ensure that nuclear material and facilities are not used to illicitly manufacture nuclear weapons, the NNSA noted in a July 27 article.