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.

ANS leads effort in asking Congress to update SNF disposal regs

November 3, 2023, 7:56AMANS News
Workers walk down an underground passageway at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant transuranic waste repository in New Mexico. (Photo: DOE)

The American Nuclear Society coordinated an effort with eight nongovernmental organizations in asking Congress to update the Environmental Protection Agency’s generic standards for the safe, permanent disposal of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and high-level radioactive waste.

EPRI joins NEA in joint advanced reactor waste project

October 31, 2023, 9:31AMRadwaste Solutions
NEA director general William Magwood (left) and EPRI senior vice president Neil Wilmshurst finalize EPRI support for the joint WISARD project. (Photo: NEA)

The Nuclear Energy Agency has announced a new collaboration with the Electric Power Research Institute on an upcoming project that will focus on waste management strategies for small modular reactors and advanced nuclear energy systems.

U.S. requests review of circuit court’s ruling on Texas storage facility

October 27, 2023, 12:05PMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice are asking the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review its decision to vacate Interim Storage Partners’ license to build and operate a consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) for commercial spent nuclear fuel in Andrews County, Texas.

New LLW sorting facility opens in Ontario

October 26, 2023, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
Representatives from OPG, Laurentis Energy Partners, and EnergySolutions Canada, as well as the mayor of Kincardine, Kenneth Craig, cut the ceremonial ribbon to officially open WCSR facility. (Photo: OPG)

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) subsidiary Laurentis Energy Partners has opened, in partnership with EnergySolutions Canada, a new 42,000-square-foot facility in Kincardine, Ontario, that will minimize waste associated with nuclear energy generation in the Canadian province, the company announced this week.

DOE seeks input on Hanford’s 5-year cleanup plan

October 16, 2023, 12:40PMRadwaste Solutions
Crews with Hanford contractor Central Plateau Cleanup Company break up concrete and remove contaminated soil near the former K Area reactors on the Hanford Site earlier this year. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy is seeking the public’s input on the Hanford Site’s 5-year plan, which outlines planned cleanup work either to be completed or initiated at the former plutonium production site near Richland, Wash. The DOE updates Hanford’s 5-year plan annually to reflect current progress and ongoing integrated planning for future work at the site.

Canada to site a geologic repository for ILW and nonfuel HLW

October 10, 2023, 3:01PMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization, the not-for-profit organization responsible for managing Canada’s spent nuclear fuel, said it will begin developing a plan for a consent-based siting process for a deep geologic repository for intermediate-level and nonfuel high-level radioactive waste.

SRS employees use novel training exercise to align waste mission

October 5, 2023, 3:02PMRadwaste Solutions
Ray Tran, an engineer for Savannah River tank farms, helps complete a timeline of SRS historical events as part of SRMC’s vision casting training initiative. (Photo: DOE)

More than 3,000 employees with Department of Energy contractor Savannah River Mission Completion (SRMC) participated in a vision casting initiative, learning more about the past, present, and future of the Savannah River Site’s liquid waste mission.

NNSA welcomes opening of Kazakhstan storage facility

September 26, 2023, 8:49AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration recently marked the completion of a new long-term radioactive waste storage facility in Kazakhstan.

The facility, at Kazakhstan’s Institute of Nuclear Physics (INP), has been operational since 2022 and has an expected lifespan of 50 years. According to the NNSA, the facility conforms with all Kazakhstan and International Atomic Energy Agency guidelines and replaces a much older facility located at an INP property in Turaz.

Jumping hurdles: ARPA-E and the path to advanced reactor deployment

September 15, 2023, 3:31PMNuclear NewsJenifer Shafer and Robert Ledoux

The Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E), a branch of the Department of Energy, is tasked with driving the research and development of cutting-edge energy technologies. The agency’s core emphasis is on mitigating emissions, increasing energy efficiency, reducing imports, ensuring energy systems resiliency, and offering transformative solutions for the management of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel (SNF). Its mission is instrumental in ensuring the United States retains its technological superiority in the design and implementation of new energy technologies. Efforts in SNF research also benefit prior investments in ARPA-E’s MEITNER (Modeling-Enhanced Innovations Trailblazing Nuclear Energy Reinvigoration) and GEMINA (Generating Electricity Managed by Intelligent Nuclear Assets) programs, which seek to substantially decrease the capital and operational expenditures associated with advanced reactors (ARs).

Hanford begins removing Vit Plant startup heaters

September 14, 2023, 12:01PMRadwaste Solutions
A startup heater is removed from a melter in the Vit Plant’s Low-Activity Waste Facility. (Photo: DOE)

Workers at the Hanford Site’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, also known as the Vit Plant, have begun removing the first three of 18 temporary startup heaters, the Department of Energy announced on September 12. The startup heaters were used to raise the first of two 300-ton glass melters in the plant’s Low-Activity Waste Facility to its operating temperature of 2,100°F.

Deep Isolation receives ARPA-E award to further borehole disposal technologies

August 31, 2023, 7:03AMRadwaste Solutions

Deep Isolation announced this week that it has received funding from the Department of Energy to test a range of deep borehole disposal canisters at a test facility in Cameron, Texas, managed by the nonprofit Deep Borehole Demonstration Center.

Oak Ridge breaks ground on critical new disposal facility

August 25, 2023, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions
Taking part in the Environmental Management Disposal Facility groundbreaking, from left, were Steve Arnette of Jacobs; Mark Whitney of Amentum,; Wade Creswell, a Roane Co., Tenn., executive; Brent Booker of the Laborers’ International Union of North America; Kevin Adkisson of North America’s Building Trades Unions; Jeaneanne Gettle of the EPA; Lt. Gov. Randy McNally; David Salyers of TDEC; Ken Rueter of UCOR; Jay Mullis of OREM; U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann; and DOE-EM’s William “Ike” White. (Photo: DOE)

National, state, and local leaders joined the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM) and its lead cleanup contractor, United Cleanup Oak Ridge (UCOR), earlier this month to celebrate the groundbreaking for a new on-site disposal facility at the Oak Ridge Reservation in Tennessee.

Watch a video highlighting the Environmental Management Disposal Facility groundbreaking ceremony here.

New Mexico publishes final proposed permit for WIPP

August 21, 2023, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions

The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) released the proposed final permit for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant renewal process on August 15. The NMED also announced a public hybrid meeting scheduled for September 22, where the public will have the opportunity to ask questions about the proposed final permit.