Finnish nuclear plant and spent fuel repository become YouTube stars

June 9, 2021, 3:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe
A screen capture from the video "Finland Might Have Solved Nuclear Power’s Biggest Problem" on YouTube.

A new video, Finland Might Have Solved Nuclear Power’s Biggest Problem, debuted on YouTube this morning and has been seen already by a large number of viewers. The video takes a look at Finland’s efforts to lessen its reliance on foreign energy and meet its goal of carbon neutrality by 2035 with nuclear power, as well as to provide a solution to the problem of spent nuclear fuel.

Excavation of first deposition tunnels begins at Finnish repository

May 11, 2021, 4:11PMRadwaste Solutions
A deposition tunnel is excavated into bedrock at Finland’s Onkalo facility. (Photo: Posiva)

Posiva Oy, the company responsible for the disposal of Finland’s spent nuclear fuel, announced last week that it has begun excavating the first disposal tunnels at the Onkalo deep geologic repository near the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant.

Finland’s Onkalo repository a “game changer,” says IAEA’s Grossi

December 2, 2020, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions

Onkalo, Finland’s deep geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel, has been characterized as a game changer for the long-term sustainability of nuclear energy by Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

“Finland has had the determination to move forward with the project and to bring it to fruition,” Grossi said during a November 26 visit to Olkiluoto, Finland, where the repository is under construction. “Waste management has always been at the center of many debates about nuclear energy and the sustainability of nuclear activity around the world. Everybody knew of the idea of a geological repository for high-level radioactive nuclear waste, but Finland did it.”

Posiva Oy, the Finnish company tasked with researching and creating a method for the permanent disposal of spent fuel from Finland’s Olkiluoto and Loviisa nuclear power plants, obtained a license to construct the Onkalo repository in 2015, marking the first time that a construction license for a geological disposal facility was issued anywhere in the world. The site near the Olkiluoto plant was chosen following several years of screening a number of potential sites.

NUREG published on high-burnup spent fuel storage and transportation

November 25, 2020, 9:36AMNuclear News

A final report on the dry storage and transportation of high-burnup spent nuclear fuel (NUREG-2224) has been issued by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. NUREG-2224 provides a technical basis in support of the NRC’s guidance on adequate fuel conditions as it pertains to hydride reorientation in the cladding of high-burnup spent fuel (over 45 gigawatt-day per metric ton uranium).

NUREG-2224, “Dry Storage and Transportation of High Burnup Spent Nuclear Fuel,” was made publicly available on November 23 on the NRC’s ADAMS website with Accession No. ML20191A321.

A look back at 1984 U.K. spent fuel flask test

September 29, 2020, 9:32AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The government of the United Kingdom conducted a series of tests in the 1980s to assess the robustness of spent nuclear fuel packages. One such test involved ramming a 140-ton diesel locomotive into a transportation canister, called a nuclear flask, at 100 miles per hour. The test, according to a recent article published by the online magazine The Drive, was a “smashing” success. Just 0.29 psi of pressure escaped the 50-ton test flask, which had been pressurized to 100 psi.

House bill would create spent fuel R&D program at the DOE

September 25, 2020, 9:29AMRadwaste Solutions

San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, Units 1, 2 and 3. Photo: SoCal Edison

A bill introduced on September 21 by Rep. Mark Levine (D., Calif.) would direct the Department of Energy to conduct an advanced fuel cycle research, development, demonstration, and commercial application program. According to Levine, whose district includes the closed San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), the Spent Nuclear Fuel Solutions Research and Development Act (H.R. 8258) is intended to foster innovation in the storage and disposal of spent nuclear fuel.

The program, which would be authorized at over $500 million over five years, would have the DOE investigate a variety of options for managing the storage, use, and disposal of spent fuel, including dry cask storage, consolidated interim storage, deep geological storage and disposal, and vitrification.

NRC schedules webinars on Holtec’s proposed New Mexico storage site

August 14, 2020, 9:52AMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has scheduled four webinars in late August and early September to present its draft environmental findings and receive comments on Holtec International’s proposed consolidated spent nuclear fuel storage facility in New Mexico. Webinars were previously held on June 23 and July 9.

As published in the August 13 Federal Register, the public comment webinars will be held on August 20 from 6–9 p.m., August 25 from 2–5 p.m., August 26 from 6–9 p.m., and September 2 from 11 a.m.–2 p.m. All times are Eastern. Information for the webinars is posted on the NRC’s Public Meetings webpage.

Comment period extended for Texas interim SNF site

July 23, 2020, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has extended the deadline for public comments on a draft environmental impact statement for Interim Storage Partners’ (ISP) license application to construct and operate a consolidated interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel and greater-than-Class C waste in Andrews County, Texas. The NRC said the 60-day extension, to November 3, was to allow more time for members of the public to develop and submit comments in light of the events associated with the COVID-19 health emergency.

Canada’s NWMO prepares for borehole drilling at South Bruce

July 13, 2020, 12:14PMRadwaste Solutions

Canada’s Nuclear Waste Management Organization is getting ready to begin drilling the first borehole in South Bruce, Ontario, as the organization starts its evaluation of the site as a potential host for a deep geological repository for Canada’s spent nuclear fuel. The NWMO said that it has begun important technical and environmental work to prepare the site for drilling, including an evaluation conducted by a biologist on July 6, assessing the location for potential habitat use by sensitive species.

NRC extends comment period again for Holtec site

July 6, 2020, 8:17AMRadwaste Solutions

For the second time, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has extended the deadline for submitting comments on a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for Holtec International’s application to construct and operate a consolidated interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel and greater-than-Class C waste in southeastern New Mexico. As published in the June 24 Federal Register, the new deadline is September 22.

NRC extends comment period again for Holtec storage site due to COVID-19

June 25, 2020, 9:27AMRadwaste Solutions

For the second time, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has extended the deadline for submitting comments on the draft environmental impact statement for Holtec International’s application to construct and operate a consolidated interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel and greater-than-Class C waste in southeastern New Mexico. As published in the June 24 Federal Register, the new deadline for comments is September 22.

Comment period on Texas SNF storage facility opens

May 11, 2020, 10:17AMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is requesting comments on its draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for Interim Storage Partners’ (ISP) proposed consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) for spent nuclear fuel and greater-than-Class C (GTCC) waste in West Texas. The NRC published notice of the draft EIS in the May 8 Federal Register with a deadline of September 4 to submit comments. The NRC said that it is extending the usual 60-day comment period to allow more time for members of the public to submit comments during the COVID-19 health emergency.

Comments can be submitted through the federal rulemaking website with a search for Docket ID NRC–2016–0231.

Texas CISF poses no adverse environmental impacts

May 6, 2020, 3:07PMRadwaste Solutions

A rendering of Phase 1 of ISP’s proposed consolidated interim storage facility in Andrews County, Texas. Image: WCS

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has released a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for Interim Storage Partners’ (ISP) proposed consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) for spent nuclear fuel and greater-than-Class C (GTCC) waste in West Texas. Based on its environmental review of the CISF, the NRC staff issued a preliminary recommendation that an NRC license be granted to ISP to construct and operate the CISF to temporarily store up to 5,000 metric tons of uranium (MTU) in commercial spent fuel and GTCC waste for a licensing period of 40 years.

Researchers investigate effects of heat on water migration at WIPP

May 4, 2020, 10:38AMRadwaste Solutions

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.

Objections to Holtec's CISF license application dismissed

April 30, 2020, 8:17AMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has rejected a number of contentions filed against Holtec International’s application to build and operate a consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) for spent nuclear fuel in southeastern New Mexico. On April 23, the commissioners voted to dismiss five separate appeals of the presiding Atomic Safety and Licensing Board’s decision to deny requests to intervene in the proceeding for Holtec’s license application.