Accelerated SRS spent fuel disposition plan to save billions, DOE says

July 7, 2022, 9:34AMRadwaste Solutions

Savannah River Site’s H Canyon and L Basin. (Photo: DOE-EM)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) has approved a new plan that will accelerate the disposition of spent nuclear fuel at its Savannah River Site in South Carolina by more than 20 years, which will result in a savings of more than $4 billion.

Under the newly approved approach, called accelerated basin de-inventory (ABD), SRS will dissolve spent fuel at the site’s H Canyon chemical separations facility and send it through the liquid waste program to be vitrified and stored on-site until a federal repository is identified.

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.

Agreement reached on cleanup of 25-mile Savannah River Site stream corridor

January 31, 2022, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
An SRNS subcontractor technician takes radiological readings of soil near Lower Three Runs, part of a major project to complete the cleanup of a contaminated 25-mile-long stream corridor at SRS. (Photo: DOE) (CLICK TO SEE FULL PHOTO)

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS), the Department of Energy’s management and operating contractor for the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, has reached an agreement with the state of South Carolina and federal environmental regulators on the final cleanup of a 25-mile-long stream corridor at the site that was radiologically contaminated as a result of operations during the Cold War.

The corridor consists of Par Pond, nine miles of canals adjacent to the pond, and a stream named Lower Three Runs. The stream begins near the center of the site, just above Par Pond, and winds its way southward across SRS.

Savannah River engineers engage students in real-world problem solving

January 21, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News
From left to right, Richmond County Technical Career Magnet School (Team 1) students Leila Cortez, Jaidyn Moore, and Tamea Dunnom and teacher Carla Biley won third place in Best Engineering Student Design at the WORCshop@AU event. They are joined by Rick Connolly, SRNS operations and maintenance director and WORCshop@AU judge (second from right).

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS), the Department of Energy contractor responsible for the management and operations of the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, partnered with Augusta University to create WORCshop@AU, an education outreach opportunity to introduce local high school students to nuclear science careers by solving a real-world problem. The program concluded on December 9, when student teams presented their solutions during a friendly competition.

From the pages of Nuclear News: Industry update

December 21, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News

ADVANCED REACTORS MARKETPLACE

GEH’s BWRX-300 SMR technology chosen for Darlington clean energy project

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy has been selected by Ontario Power Generation as technology partner for the Darlington site's new nuclear plant project. GEH will work with OPG to deploy a BWRX-300 small modular reactor as early as 2028 at the Darlington site in Canada.

■ NuScale Power and Kazakhstan Nuclear Power Plants LLP have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the deployment of NuScale VOYGR power plants in Kazakhstan. KNPP specializes in the development of nuclear power plant construction in Kazakhstan. The agreement calls for a sharing of nuclear and technical expertise between NuScale and KNPP. Under the MOU, NuScale will support KNPP’s evaluation of NuScale’s SMR technology, including nuclear power plant engineering, construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance, and project-specific studies and design work.

PKN ORLEN and Synthos Green Energy have signed an agreement to set up a joint venture, ORLEN Synthos Green Energy, with a goal to prepare and commercialize small nuclear reactor technology, particularly GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy’s BWRX-300 reactors, in Poland. Related, BWXT Canada Ltd. signed a letter of intent with Synthos and GEH for the manufacture of key SMR components for Poland.

Search for next Savannah River M&O contractor delayed

November 10, 2021, 6:59AMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy has indefinitely delayed its final request for proposal (RFP) for the management and operations contract for the department’s Savannah River Site in South Carolina. The contract’s postponement was announced in a brief notice posted to the DOE’s Office of Environmental Management Consolidated Business Center website on November 9.

DOE contractor wins awards for Savannah River Site videos

November 5, 2021, 7:01AMANS Nuclear Cafe
SRNS's Communications and Media Services Department was honored with two 2021 Telly Awards. Members of the department include, from left, Robin Adney, Ian Rojas-Godoy, Brad Bohr, Nathan Lester, Steve Ashe, and Laura Russo. (Photo: DOE)

Along with established entertainment mediums such as Jennifer Garner’s “Pretend Cooking Show” and the Nickelodeon TV channel, Department of Energy contractor Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) has been named a winner in two categories of this year’s Telly Awards.

SRNS’s Communications and Media Services Department won a Gold Telly for the video “Savannah River Site Overview” in the non-broadcast, corporate image category, and a Bronze Telly for “SRNS Now: September 2020” in the non-broadcast, employee communications category.

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.

Pine forest helps safely disperse tritium at Savannah River Site

September 23, 2021, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
U.S. Forest Service employees Secunda Hughes (left) and Andrew Thompson inspect irrigation piping and sprinkler heads, part of a 62-acre pine plantation used to safely disperse tritium at the Savannah River Site.

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) is managing the release of tritiated water using a 62-acre plantation of pine trees and other natural resources to limit radioactively contaminated groundwater from reaching waterways on the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.

SRS makes progress in treating contaminated groundwater

September 13, 2021, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
F Area operator Thomas Harman (left) and SRNS scientist Kevin Boerstler check the pumps, sensors, and piping that blend a base concentrate to inject into acidic groundwater at the Savannah River Site. (Photo: DOE)

The Savannah River Site is reducing the flow of hazardous and radioactive metal contaminants to South Carolina’s rivers and streams by injecting a mix of clean water and baking soda into the site’s groundwater. The base mix neutralizes groundwater that has become acidic as a result of SRS’s chemical separations work, helping restrict the flow of contaminants.

New maintenance process reduces worker dose at Savannah River tritium facility

September 9, 2021, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
Operators disassemble a cutter head inside a module at the Savannah River's Tritium Extraction Facility using manipulators and hand tools. (Photo: SRNS)

Using basic hand tools and remote manipulators, operators at Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) were able to reduce radiation exposure to workers performing cutter head maintenance in the Savannah River Site’s Tritium Extraction Facility (TEF).

According to SRNS, the innovative procedure proved to be an excellent example of real-world application of As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA) principles of time, distance, and shielding.

Savannah River doubles shifts for processing surplus Pu

July 8, 2021, 6:57AMRadwaste Solutions
A view of Savannah River’s K Area Complex, where plutonium downblending operations take place. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management has doubled the number of work shifts for employees in glove box operations at its Savannah River Site in South Carolina. The increased work pace will help the department meet its commitment to South Carolina to remove surplus plutonium from the state, the DOE said.

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.

SRS preps for dissolution of stainless-steel-clad spent fuel

June 21, 2021, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
A train pushes a container full of old equipment from H Canyon to a Savannah River Site disposal facility to make way for a new spent nuclear fuel dissolving campaign. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy is preparing for an upcoming campaign to dissolve stainless-steel-clad spent nuclear fuel at its Savannah River Site in South Carolina by installing a new dissolver and an additional double-sized tank for storing dissolved material.

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.

Solar-powered microblowers remove SRS soil contaminants

April 15, 2021, 3:07PMRadwaste Solutions
SRNS engineers (from left) Will Jolin, John Bradley, and Joao Cardoso-Neto discuss a plan to move and repurpose equipment used at 19 soil cleanup sites. Photo: DOE

A project to passively remove nonradioactive contaminants from the soil and groundwater at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site in South Carolina is coming to an end, as workers prepare to remove solar-power “plugs” from 19 soil remediation locations at the site.

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.

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.