IAEA team recommends improvements to Denmark’s radwaste program

May 13, 2022, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
Denmark’s Risø National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy. The two cylindrical buildings outermost on the peninsula contained the two nuclear reactors DR-2 and DR-3. (Photo: DTU)

An independent review of Denmark’s radioactive waste management program by an International Atomic Energy Agency team found that the country has developed a robust and well-functioning system, but that the national program needs further refinement if it is to be effectively implemented.

The government of Denmark requested the review of its waste management program to fulfil its European Union obligations requiring an independent review of EU member states’ national radioactive waste management programs. The Danish parliament adopted a resolution outlining the policy goals and activities of its national program for safely managing radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel in 2018.

International workshop to evaluate geologic repository safety assessment software

April 25, 2022, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions

Sandia National Laboratories engineers Emily Stein, left, and Paul Mariner discuss recent results from their Geologic Disposal Safety Assessment software framework.

Ten teams of scientists from across the globe, including teams from the United States, Canada, Germany, and Taiwan, are virtually comparing software tools developed to assess the safety performance of deep geologic repositories for nuclear waste. The virtual workshop, held this month, is being conducted by members of an international collaboration called Development of Coupled Models and their Validation against Experiments, or DECOVALEX.

“The DECOVALEX initiative creates an important framework for experts in repository sciences from around the world to test and improve simulation models that are important to assessing the safety of geologic disposal,” said Jens Birkholzer, chairman of the initiative and a senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Web campaign advocates for nuclear waste solution

April 21, 2022, 3:08PMRadwaste Solutions

Waste management start-up company Deep Isolation has launched an online campaign to educate the public about nuclear waste and gain support for solving the issue to protect the environment, increase energy security, and remove a barrier to nuclear energy.

The website Solve Nuclear Waste aims to increase awareness about the need for permanent nuclear waste disposal to help secure a clean energy future. Visitors to the site can sign a petition that the company will share with elected officials and decision-makers to demonstrate that the public cares about the issue.

Canada moves closer to selecting spent fuel repository site

April 13, 2022, 7:11AMRadwaste Solutions
An NWMO geoscientist examines core samples pulled from rock in South Bruce, Ontario, as part of investigations of a potential deep geological repository. (Photo: NWMO)

Canada’s Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) has completed a deep borehole drilling program at the two sites in Ontario under investigation for potentially hosting a deep geological repository to hold the country’s spent nuclear fuel. The NWMO said that Canada’s top geoscientists are leading the studies, in which approximately eight kilometers of core samples were pulled from the bedrock in the Wabigoon-Ignace area and the Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON)–South Bruce area.

WIPP: Abnormal event declared, no risk to workers or public

April 11, 2022, 3:02PMRadwaste Solutions
The Department of Energy's Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, in New Mexico. (Photo: DOE)

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and Joint Information Center (JIC) were activated on April 9 following an abnormal event that occurred during routine waste handling at the Department of Energy’s WIPP repository for transuranic waste, near Carlsbad, N.M.

NRC to consolidate LLW rulemaking

April 11, 2022, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
An NRC diagram of a LLW waste disposal site.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will integrate two separate rulemaking activities concerning the disposal of low-level radioactive waste, issuing a “re-proposed” rule that consolidates updates to 10 CFR Part 61, “Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal,” and proposed changes to the requirements for the near-surface disposal of greater-than-Class C (GTCC) waste.

BATS Part III: Carrying out phase 3 of the WIPP brine availability test in salt

March 25, 2022, 4:02PMRadwaste SolutionsMollie Rappe
Sandia National Laboratories researchers Melissa Mills, left, and Kristopher Kuhlman peer through a WIPP salt sample.

Last fall, scientists from Sandia, Los Alamos, and Lawrence Berkeley national laboratories began the third phase of a years-long experiment to understand how salt and very salty water behave near hot nuclear waste containers in a salt-bed repository. Initiated in 2017, the Brine Availability Test in Salt (BATS) project is part of a spent nuclear fuel research campaign within the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy (DOE-NE).

Consent-based siting has “potential to succeed,” webinar panelists say

March 24, 2022, 9:25AMANS News
A screenshot of the panelists for the ANS spent fuel management webinar.

The Department of Energy’s new consent-based process for siting an interim storage facility for the nation’s spent nuclear fuel faces many challenges, but it could be successful if correctly implemented by the department, according to the panelists of the American Nuclear Society’s webinar “Spent Nuclear Fuel Management: Wasting Away or Chance for Progress?” ANS President Steve Nesbit moderated the webinar, held on March 23.

One man’s trash: Extracting valuable isotopes from waste material

March 17, 2022, 9:31AMRadwaste Solutions
A vial containing Th-299 extracted from uranyl nitrate.

This past October, the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM) and its contractor Isotek successfully completed processing and disposing the low-dose inventory of uranium-233 stored at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), ending a two-year effort that has eliminated a portion of the site’s legacy nuclear material and provided rare nuclear isotopes for next-generation cancer treatment research.

Perma-Fix, Westinghouse to cooperate on U.K. waste treatment facility

March 15, 2022, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions
Bulk Processing Unit at the Perma-Fix Northwest waste treatment facility. (Photo: Perma-Fix)

Westinghouse Electric Company and nuclear waste management company Perma-Fix Environmental Services plan to jointly develop a state-of-the-art advanced materials treatment facility in the United Kingdom. During the 2022 Waste Management Symposia, held last week in Phoenix, Ariz., the two companies signed a nonbinding agreement to cooperate on a facility that will provide low-level radioactive waste treatment services to the European market.

DOE funds R&D for advanced reactor fuel cycle management

March 14, 2022, 7:01AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) has awarded a total of $36 million for 11 projects to develop technologies that will limit the amount of waste produced from advanced reactors and will support sustainable domestic fuel stocks. The projects include research into the facilities and systems required to reprocess, recycle, and dispose of spent fuel generated through diverse advanced reactor fuel cycles.

Oak Ridge contractor to resume U-233 processing campaign in March

February 28, 2022, 3:04PMRadwaste Solutions
A screen shot of a YouTube video of the DOE’s U-233 Initial Processing Campaign at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Isotek, the Department of Energy contractor responsible for overseeing the inventory of uranium-233 at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and preparing it for removal from the site, said it plans to resume preparations for processing high-dose U-233 in March. The company was forced to suspend its operational readiness review of the Initial Processing Campaign at Oak Ridge in January due to issues related to COVID-19, as well as difficulties operating in colder temperatures.

From Canada with love: Repatriating HEU to the U.S.

February 25, 2022, 2:59PMRadwaste SolutionsGlen Jackson and Jeffrey Galan
State troopers and first responders at a TRM roadshow stop in Virginia. The display LWT cask can be seen at the far right in its shipping container. (Photos courtesy of DOE/NNSA)

In March 2012, during the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea, the governments of Canada and the United States committed to work cooperatively to repatriate approximately 6,000 gallons of high-enriched uranyl nitrate liquid (HEUNL) target residue material (TRM) stored at the Chalk River Laboratories in Ontario to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site in South Carolina. The announcement was part of a larger agreement between the two countries to reduce proliferation risks by consolidating high-enriched uranium at a smaller number of secure locations.

Final test run begins on Idaho’s IWTU after supply chain delays

February 25, 2022, 7:13AMRadwaste Solutions
The IWTU liquid nitrogen storage system at the DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory Site. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) stated on February 22 that its Idaho National Laboratory Site contractor is operating the final test run of the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit (IWTU), running waste simulant through the facility to ensure the plant’s performance and personnel proficiency for upcoming radiological operations.

Canada announces program to protect property values near South Bruce

February 23, 2022, 6:58AMRadwaste Solutions
The NWMO said its Property Value Protection program satisfies one of the guiding principles set out to support local decision-making about Canada’s repository project. (Photo: NWMO)

Canada’s Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) said in a February news release that it has developed a program to protect the value of properties near the potential site in South Bruce, Ontario, for the country’s deep geological repository for used nuclear fuel. Along with Ignace in western Ontario, South Bruce is one of the two potential locations the NWMO has identified for hosting a deep geological repository.

According to the NWMO, the Property Value Protection program reflects a responsible commitment to the community and addresses questions the organization heard from residents about whether property values will be affected if South Bruce is selected for the repository. The program, which was developed in consultation with the community of South Bruce, will compensate residents if the sale of their properties is negatively affected by the project.

Levin and Issa reintroduce bill to remove spent fuel from San Onofre site

February 16, 2022, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions



Reps. Mike Levin (D., Calif.) and Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) have reintroduced bipartisan legislation that would make the San Onofre nuclear power plant in Southern California one of the highest priority sites in the United States for the removal of spent nuclear fuel. The bill is being cosponsored by Reps. Scott Peters (D., Calif.), Michelle Steel (R., Calif.), Katie Porter (D., Calif.), and Young Kim (R., Calif.).

The Spent Fuel Prioritization Act would amend the Nuclear Waste Policy Act to require the Department of Energy to prioritize spent fuel removal from decommissioned reactors based on the size of the population near the plant, the seismic hazard associated with the area, and any national security concerns. The bill does not call for a permanent repository or consolidated interim storage, nor does it authorize the transfer of spent fuel to any non-consenting state or locality.

U.K. launches new radioactive waste management organization

February 1, 2022, 7:35AMRadwaste Solutions

The government of the United Kingdom on January 31 announced the launch of Nuclear Waste Services. The new organization brings together site operator Low Level Waste Repository Limited, geological disposal facility developer Radioactive Waste Management Limited, and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s (NDA) Integrated Waste Management Program.

According to the U.K. government, Nuclear Waste Services will maintain current commitments to the Low-Level Waste Repository in West Cumbria, the geological disposal facility program, and the communities involved with both, while also creating a business with the capability to manage U.K. nuclear waste “safely and securely for generations to come.”

DOE notes progress in campaign to transfer radioactive capsules to dry storage at Hanford Site

January 27, 2022, 12:03PMRadwaste Solutions
Workers recently installed manipulator equipment at a full-scale mock-up of areas of the Hanford Site’s Waste Encapsulation and Storage Facility. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) announced this week that preparations are well underway for the transfer of nearly 2,000 highly radioactive cesium and strontium capsules from the Waste Encapsulation and Storage Facility (WESF) to interim dry storage at the Hanford Site near Richland, Wash.

NWTRB to hold public meeting on DOE waste management, consent-based siting

January 24, 2022, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, an independent federal agency established by Congress to conduct ongoing technical and scientific evaluation of the Department of Energy’s efforts to manage and dispose of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste, will hold virtual public meetings on March 1 and March 2, to review recent DOE activities.

Predictions: What lies ahead for nuclear in 2022

January 21, 2022, 3:26PMNuclear News

As we begin a new year, it is natural not only to look back (see page 24 for top news stories of 2021) but also to look forward. Nuclear News reached out to leaders in the nuclear community to get their predictions on what 2022 has in store, whether broadly or for their specific areas within the community. Although the responses below are wide-ranging and varied, one thing is made clear by all of the respondents: 2022 will see growth and opportunity. The future for nuclear is bright.