Paradigm Shift: Monitoring Savannah River’s groundwater using artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques

November 1, 2023, 3:00PMRadwaste SolutionsChris O’Neil
A close-up of the ALTEMIS monitoring device. (Photo: Brad Bohr/SRNL)

Researchers at Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL), in concert with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Florida International University, are leading the Advanced Long-Term Environmental Monitoring Systems (ALTEMIS) project to move groundwater cleanup from a reactive process to a proactive process, while also reducing the cost of long-term monitoring and accelerating site closure.

NNSA looks to strengthen workforce through partnership program

October 10, 2023, 7:02AMNuclear News

Through its Minority Serving Institution Partnership Program (MSIPP) and Tribal Education Partnership Program (TEPP), the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration has awarded five grants totaling $2.5 million to minority-serving institutions (MSIs) and tribal colleges and universities (TCUs).

Savannah River hosts workshop, job shadowing event

July 19, 2023, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
Savannah River National Laboratory employee Vernon Bush, center, and SRNL summer intern Jadrion Huell, standing at right, of Claflin University, conduct a job shadowing activity with students Tredarius Lassiter, seated at left, and Tommy Applewhite. (Photo: DOE)

A three-day Minority Serving Institutions Partnership Program (MSIPP) event, led by Savannah River National Laboratory researcher Simona Hunyadi Murph, was held recently at the South Carolina site, according to a release by the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (DOE-EM). The event included a collaborative workshop, job shadowing, and a tour of the laboratory and Savannah River Site field 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.

Savannah River lab qualified to provide safeguards reference materials to IAEA

May 3, 2023, 12:03PMNuclear News

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s Department of Safeguards recently qualified Savannah River National Laboratory to produce microparticle reference materials that can be used to evaluate measurement quality in support of the Network of Analytical Laboratories (NWAL) and the IAEA’s verification mission. SRNL announced the development on April 25.

HALEU production prep to begin at Savannah River Site

April 3, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News

(Image: DOE)

The Department of Energy reported on March 30 that the Savannah River Site’s H Canyon facility recently initiated actions to recycle a small amount of used high-enriched uranium (HEU). SRS is a 310-square-mile DOE site in South Carolina.

The HEU, which is currently stored at the site’s H Area, will be downblended in a few years into high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU), which will help to provide fuel for advanced nuclear reactors in the United States.

The DOE has a brief video available with graphic information about HALEU.

Waste Management 2023: Hot topics for the DOE

March 27, 2023, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
Panelists speak at the 2023 Waste Management Symposia “Hot Topics” session. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) has made great progress in accomplishing its cleanup of legacy radioactive waste but has yet to tackle its most challenging tasks, including the treatment of liquid tank waste at the Hanford, Idaho, and Savannah River sites. That was the consensus of the DOE-EM officials who took part in a panel session of the 2023 Waste Management Symposia, held February 26–March 2 in Phoenix, Ariz.

Locked in glass: The vitrification of LLW streams

March 10, 2023, 3:00PMRadwaste SolutionsAmanda Gilmore
A sample of GeoMelt glass. (Photos: Veolia)

When it comes to managing nuclear waste, technology is transforming the way some of the most problematic waste is handled. The idea to transform nuclear waste into glass was developed back in the 1970s as a way to lock away the waste’s radioactive elements and prevent them from escaping. For more than 40 years, vitrification has been used for the immobilization of high-level radioactive waste in many countries around the world, including the United States.

Savannah River’s DWPF receives upgrades, exits outage

February 15, 2023, 9:40AMRadwaste Solutions
Savannah River’s DWPF has completed the conversion from formic acid to glycolic acid in the waste vitrification process. (Photo: DOE)

The Defense Waste Processing Facility (DWPF) at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina has resumed operations after a completing a processing improvement that the DOE said will enable safer operations and more efficient vitrification of radioactive waste.

General Fusion marshals CNL support for Canadian fusion power by 2030

November 17, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
This still image, taken from a General Fusion video, depicts the demo plant that will be built near Oxford, U.K. (Image: General Fusion)

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) and General Fusion have announced a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to “develop fusion energy research capabilities within CNL, to support the goal of constructing a potential General Fusion commercial power plant in Canada before 2030.” The plant would follow on a demonstration-scale plant that General Fusion wants to have operating in the United Kingdom by 2027 to validate the performance and economics of the technology.

DOE evaluates wearable robotic devices to aid cleanup workforce

November 4, 2022, 7:09AMRadwaste Solutions
Nicholas Spivey, left, an SRNL mechanical engineer, and Kurt Gerdes, director of EM’s Office of Technology Development, use virtual reality simulation of an EM worksite during meetings held at the IHMC in Pensacola, Fla. (Photo: DOE)

For the first time since forming in 2020, more than 40 members of a Department of Energy team met in person to evaluate technologies, including exoskeletons and wearable robotic devices, that could be adapted to the cleanup mission of department’s Office of Environmental Management (EM), helping improve the safety and well-being of its workers.

TikTok nuclear professor takes on new tasks

August 3, 2022, 12:24PMANS News


Robert Hayes, the person behind a popular social media account defending nuclear energy to the masses, was named to a joint faculty position by Savannah River National Laboratory and North Carolina State University on August 1.

“Dr. Hayes will help develop and execute SRNL’s vision to advance nonproliferation and global security stewardship by expanding knowledge of and applications in sensing, characterizing, assessing, and deterring nuclear proliferation,” said Tammy Taylor, associate laboratory director for global security. Taylor explained that Hayes will conduct collaborative research to address key gaps identified in the strategic vision for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, while helping develop the workforce that will support future NNSA and national security organization mission needs.

House subcommittee asks for improvements to nuclear cleanup strategy

July 19, 2022, 7:07AMRadwaste Solutions
Rep. Jamaal Bowman during a hearing of the House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Energy.

The House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Energy held a hearing last week to evaluate the Department of Energy’s approach to research and development on new strategies and technologies to support the nuclear waste cleanup mission of its Office of Environmental Management (EM).

Ten private fusion companies get national lab and university access from INFUSE

July 7, 2022, 3:07PMNuclear News

The Department of Energy announced awards for 18 Innovation Network for Fusion Energy (INFUSE) projects on July 6 that link private fusion energy developers with DOE national laboratories (and, in a first for the program, with U.S. universities) to overcome scientific and technological challenges in fusion energy development. The 18 selected projects include representation from 10 private companies, three national labs, and eight universities.

Plutonium transported from IAEA laboratory to Oak Ridge

March 30, 2022, 9:46AMNuclear News

Truck loaded with nuclear cargo before departing the IAEA’s Nuclear Material Laboratory. (Photo: NNSA).

Plutonium from an International Atomic Energy Agency laboratory in Austria has been removed to the United States, the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration announced on March 29.

The plutonium was shipped from the IAEA’s Nuclear Material Laboratory in Seibersdorf, Austria, to Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, where it will be used in sealed sources for nonproliferation research and development.

Safeguards: The plutonium included in the shipment represents approximately 15 years of accumulated residue from inspection samples collected in support of the IAEA’s safeguards mission, according to the NNSA. Technical experts from ORNL and Savannah River National Laboratory worked with a team from the IAEA for several years to complete all activities required for the safe and secure transportation of the material to Oak Ridge.

DOE expands minority partnership program for post-doctoral researchers

March 1, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management recently announced the expansion of its Minority Serving Institutions Partnership Program for post-doctoral researchers.

The program will offer the opportunity for recent graduates with Ph.D. degrees to perform scientific research that furthers technology development, enhances the global scientific knowledge base, and results in publishing in peer-reviewed journals.

From the pages of Nuclear News: Industry update

October 14, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News

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


Ukraine’s Energoatom signs deals for nuclear power exploration and deployment

Energoatom, the state-owned nuclear utility of Ukraine, and Westinghouse Electric Company have signed an agreement to bring Westinghouse AP1000 reactors to multiple sites in Ukraine. The signing took place at the U.S. Department of Energy headquarters in Washington, D.C., and was witnessed by Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky, U.S. energy secretary Jennifer Granholm, and Ukraine’s energy minister German Galushchenko.

In addition, Energoatom signed a memorandum of understanding with NuScale Power to explore small modular reactor deployment in Ukraine. Under the MOU, NuScale will support Energoatom’s examination of NuScale’s SMR technology, including a feasibility study for proposed project sites and the development of a project timeline and deliverables, cost studies, technical reviews, licensing and permitting activities, and project-specific engineering studies and design work.

Savannah River contract awarded to Battelle-led group

December 23, 2020, 3:05PMNuclear News

A new M&O contract was awarded for SRNL. Photo: DOE

A management and operating (M&O) contract for the Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) valued at approximately $3.8 billion was awarded to Battelle Savannah River Alliance (BSRA), a consortium of universities and private firms led by Columbus, Ohio–based Battelle. Awarded by the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management, the cost-plus-award-fee contract will include a five-year base period (inclusive of 120-day transition period) and potential term of up to five more years, for a total period of up to 10 years.

As announced by the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management on December 22, the new SRNL M&O contract is expected to enhance the laboratory’s ability to focus on research and development, increase its flexibility to pursue more diversified projects, and attract talent and the involvement of other research and academic institutions in its projects.

BSRA takes over responsibility for the SRNL work scope from the larger Savannah River Site (SRS) M&O contract with Savannah River Nuclear Solutions. The transition of the management and operation of SRNL to the new contract will start following issuance of a notice to proceed to BSRA, the DOE said.

TOFE 2020 opening plenary: Looking back and forward

November 17, 2020, 9:31AMNuclear News

Presented as an embedded topical meeting at the 2020 ANS Virtual Winter Meeting, the Technology of Fusion Energy (TOFE) 2020 meeting opened on November 16 with the first of four plenary sessions to be held during the week: “Looking Back and Looking Forward in Fusion.” (TOFE 2020 also features 29 technical sessions through November 19.)

The plenary session, chaired by Savannah River National Laboratory’s Greg Staack, featured two speakers: Melissa Hanson, curator for the Savannah River Site Cold War Historic Preservation Program, and Heather Lewtas, a technical lead for the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA)’s Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production program.