Bacteria found to reduce uranium mobility in clay

April 18, 2024, 7:04AMRadwaste Solutions
An artistic representation of a Desulfosporosinus cell with immobilized uranium on the surface. (Image: B. Schröder/HZDR)

Researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) research laboratory in Germany have investigated a microorganism capable of transforming water-soluble hexavalent uranium [U(VI)] to the less-mobile tetravalent uranium [U(IV)]. The researchers found that the sulfate-reducing bacterium Desulfosporosinus hippei, a relative of naturally occurring microorganisms present in clay rock and bentonite, showed a relatively fast removal of uranium from clay pore water.

Hanford brings second Vit Plant melter on line

April 15, 2024, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
Vit Plant crews begin adding frit into Hanford’s second melter. (Photo: Bechtel National)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management recently announced that crews at the Hanford Site’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, also known as the Vit Plant, recently brought the second of two 300-ton melters up to the operating temperature of 2,100°F.

House E&C subcommittee to hold hearing on spent fuel management

April 8, 2024, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions

The House Energy and Commerce Committee announced a public hearing on improving the U.S. management of spent nuclear fuel. The hearing, titled “American Nuclear Energy Expansion: Spent Fuel Policy and Innovation,” will be held on April 10 by the E&C Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Subcommittee.

The hearing will be livestreamed on the E&C Committee website.

WIPP marks 25 years of TRU waste operations

April 3, 2024, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
A screen shot of a video marking the 25th anniversary of operations at the WIPP disposal facility. (Image: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management celebrated a major milestone for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant last week, marking the 25th anniversary of the receipt of the first waste shipment at the disposal facility in New Mexico’s Chihuahuan Desert.

Full court refuses to review Texas interim storage case

March 19, 2024, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions

By a narrow vote of 9–7, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals denied a petition to rehear the court’s 2023 decision to vacate Interim Storage Partners’ (ISP’s) license to build and operate a consolidated interim storage facility for commercial spent nuclear fuel in Andrews County, Texas.

NWTRB recommends further analysis of SNF canisters

March 8, 2024, 12:04PMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board (NWTRB), the independent federal agency tasked with reviewing the Department of Energy’s activities related to spent nuclear fuel management, issued a new report to Congress and the secretary of energy that examines the storage of spent fuel in dry storage casks at independent spent fuel storage installations (ISFSI).

Startup heaters installed in Hanford’s second waste melter

February 15, 2024, 12:04PMRadwaste Solutions
One of 18 startup heaters is installed in Hanford’s second melter, which will be used to vitrify liquid waste. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management announced that crews at the Hanford Site’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, also known as the Vit Plant, recently installed 18 temporary startup heaters in the second of two melters in the plant’s Low-Activity Waste Facility.

WIPP reaches 10-year high in TRU waste shipments

February 5, 2024, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
A waste transport delivery truck heads for the WIPP site in New Mexico. In 2023, the repository saw its best shipment performance in 10 years. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management announced last week that, for calendar year 2023, the department’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) had its best shipment performance in 10 years, having received 489 transuranic (TRU) waste shipments from generator sites throughout the country. For comparison, WIPP received only 272 shipments in 2022.

Nukem completes test setup for in-drum waste solidification plant

January 30, 2024, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
Nukem’s waste solidification plant mock-up. (Photo: Nukem Technologies)

Nukem Technologies, a German-based radioactive waste management company, announced last week that it has successfully completed a mock-up for a state-of-the-art waste solidification plant. The plant will use the in-drum cementation process for encapsulating various types of radioactive waste into a solid, secure form suitable for long-term storage.

Mining of new waste disposal panel begins at WIPP

January 25, 2024, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
A continuous miner machine cuts into salt rock as mining begins on Panel 11, one of WIPP’s next waste disposal panels. (Photo: DOE)

For the first time in a decade, crews have started mining a new disposal panel at the Department of Energy’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico, the nation’s deep geologic waste repository for defense-related transuranic waste.

Canada authorizes building of LLW disposal facility at Chalk River

January 16, 2024, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
Concept art of the Chalk River near surface disposal facility for LLW. (Image: CNL)

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has decided to amend Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ operating license for the Chalk River Laboratories, allowing the construction of a near surface disposal facility (NSDF) for low-level radioactive waste on the nuclear research site in Deep River, Ontario.

Next-gen workforce development for nuclear waste disposal R&D

January 11, 2024, 12:07PMANS News

The Department of Energy, in conjunction with Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Texas A&M University, will conduct a biweekly webinar series aimed at providing a broad overview of nuclear waste management and disposal in the United States as well as the latest research activities. The target audience is undergraduate and graduate students in science, engineering, policy, sociotechnical, and social science programs.

Idaho’s IWTU to resume operations in early 2024

December 14, 2023, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
A view of two vessels that each contain approximately 30,000 pounds of granulated activated carbon, used to remove mercury from process off-gas during IWTU operations. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management said Idaho’s Integrated Waste Treatment Unit (IWTU) is set to resume radioactive liquid waste treatment operations early next year after crews replaced carbon material from two plant vessels. The IWTU was shut down for an unplanned outage on September 6 to address elevated mercury concentrations in the plant’s granulated activated carbon (GAC) beds, according to Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB) reports.

New method ensures integrity of Savannah River’s radioactive material containers

December 11, 2023, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
Operators in plastic suits prepare for drum venting operations. (Photo: DOE/SRNS)

Department of Energy contractor Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) said its Savannah River Site employees recently used an innovative method to ensure the integrity of radioactive material storage containers currently in long-term dry storage at the South Carolina site.

First container of test glass filled at Hanford’s Vit Plant

December 6, 2023, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
Crewmembers stand in front of the first stainless-steel container filled with molten test glass at Hanford’s Vit Plant. (Photo: Bechtel National)

Bechtel and the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management announced on December 4 that the first set of test glass was successfully poured into a stainless-steel storage container designed to hold vitrified waste at Hanford’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, also known as the Vit Plant.

WIPP prepares to bring new ventilation system on line

November 27, 2023, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
Electrical circuits are tested during the commissioning of the new ventilation system at WIPP. (Photo: DOE)

Commissioning has begun on a new large-scale ventilation system at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico.

The Safety Significant Confinement Ventilation System (SSCVS) is expected to increase underground airflow from 170,000 cubic feet per minute up to 540,000 cfm. The increased airflow will allow for simultaneous underground waste emplacement, mining, and ground control work. Ground control, including bolting, controls the movement of salt rock—known as salt creep—in the WIPP underground.

Deep geologic repository progress

November 10, 2023, 3:07PMNuclear NewsEmily Stein

Outside my office, there is a display case filled with rock samples from all over the world. It contains a disk of translucent, orange salt from the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, N.M.; a core of white-and-bronze gneiss from the site of the future deep geologic repository in Eurajoki, Finland; several angular chunks of fine-grained, gray claystone from the underground research laboratory at Bure, France; and a piece of coarse-grained granite from the underground research tunnel in Daejeon, South Korea.

Hanford pours first glass from Vit Plant melter

November 8, 2023, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
Workers monitor the pouring of melter glass from a control room in Hanford’s LAW Facility. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management said crews at its Hanford Site in Washington state have started pouring the first molten glass from a waste vitrification melter into a stainless steel container at the site’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, also known as the Vit Plant.