ARPA-E announces $40 million to develop transmutation technologies for UNF

July 17, 2024, 3:02PMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) announced $40 million in funding to develop cutting-edge technologies to enable the transmutation of used nuclear fuel into less-radioactive substances. According to ARPA-E, the new initiative addresses one of the agency’s core goals as outlined by Congress: to provide transformative solutions to improve the management, cleanup, and disposal of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel.

Canadian community says it is willing to host a geologic repository

July 12, 2024, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
The NWMO’s Laurie Swami (center right) congratulates Ignace mayor Kim Baigrie (center left) on the community’s confirmation of its willingness to host a deep geologic repository for Canada’s spent nuclear fuel. (Photo: NWMO)

The township of Ignace in northwestern Ontario has indicated its willingness to host a potential deep geologic repository for Canada’s spent nuclear fuel. The town council voted unanimously on July 10 to pass a resolution indicating its willingness to participate in the Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s (NWMO's) process for selecting a repository site, making it the first Canadian community to officially move forward with the next phase of a site selection process that began in 2010.

DOE issues RFI for a spent fuel consolidated interim storage facility

July 3, 2024, 3:01PMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy has issued a request for information opportunity for the design and construction of a federal consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) for spent nuclear fuel. The DOE is planning on establishing a federal CISF to manage SNF until a permanent repository is available. In May, the DOE received initial approval, known as “Critical Decision-0,” for such a facility.

The deadline for submissions is September 5.

ECA consortium to fund consent-based siting outreach

July 3, 2024, 9:36AMRadwaste Solutions

The Energy Communities Alliance, a membership organization of local governments adjacent to or impacted by Department of Energy sites, has awarded grants to three community organizations to develop avenues for inclusive public engagement and discussions of consent-based approaches to siting facilities for the interim storage of the nation’s spent nuclear fuel.

ANS Annual Conference: Nuclear waste

June 27, 2024, 3:03PMNuclear News
The waste management panel, from left: moderator Todd Allen, Fred Dilger of Nevada, Katrina McMurrian of the NWSC, the DOE’s Paul Murray, Jenifer Shafer of ARPA-E, and Kuhika Gupta of the University of Oklahoma. (Photo: ANS)

With increasing demand for clean, reliable, and safe sources of energy, the conversation around nuclear energy is changing. And so too is the conversation around nuclear waste, even as the country struggles to find a path for the disposal of its spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. From community engagement, to recycling, to existing success around other forms of nuclear waste management, the conversation around nuclear waste has many different angles, and an executive session of the American Nuclear Society’s 2024 Annual Conference in Las Vegas aimed to delve into some of those discussions.

ANS asks Congress to fund EPA work on repository standards

June 24, 2024, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions

The American Nuclear Society brought together 11 other energy and environmental advocacy organizations in calling on Congress to fund the Environmental Protection Agency to develop a new, technology-neutral, generic environmental standard for the disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste in the United States.

In a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate appropriations committees, the groups ask for an additional $3 million in fiscal year 2025 for the EPA’s Office of Radiation and Indoor Air to work on the new standard.

Nagra refutes involvement with transmutation tech start-up

May 31, 2024, 11:59AMRadwaste Solutions
Transmutex’s transmutation reactor. (Image: Transmutex)

Switzerland’s national cooperative for the disposal of radioactive waste, Nagra, is distancing itself from recent reports regarding the work of the Geneva-based engineering start-up Transmutex, which claims to have developed a new technology for the transmutation of radioactive waste.

ORP, Bechtel collaborate on plan for completing Hanford’s HLW Facility

May 22, 2024, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
Lourdes Legaspi, engineering automation supervisor (center) and her team are designing pipe and equipment components for the Hanford Site’s partially completed HLW Facility. A collaboration between the DOE and Bechtel National set a foundation for requirements engineers will follow in continuing the design of the facility. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management announced that its Office of River Protection (ORP) recently created a plan with contractor Bechtel National for completing the High-Level Waste Facility at the Hanford Site’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, also known as the Vit Plant.

DOE receives CD-0 approval for interim SNF storage facility

May 10, 2024, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy has received initial approval, known as “Critical Decision-0” (CD-0), for siting a federal consolidated interim storage facility for commercial spent nuclear fuel. Paul Murray, deputy assistant secretary of energy within the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy, confirmed to Nuclear Newswire that the DOE received CD-0 approval on May 6.

NWTRB to hold public meeting on SNF disposal and corrosion

May 1, 2024, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, an independent federal agency that evaluates the Department of Energy’s efforts to manage and dispose of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste, will hold a two-day public meeting May 21–22 to review information on the DOE’s research and development activities related to the disposal of SNF and HLW in crystalline host rocks and on the corrosion of commercial SNF after disposal.

Feds, state agree on deadlines for treating Hanford’s tank waste

May 1, 2024, 7:05AMRadwaste Solutions
An aerial view of the Hanford Site’s 200 Area and the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, also known as the Vit Plant. (Photo: DOE)

The U.S. Department of Energy, Washington State Department of Ecology, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have reached an agreement on revised plans for managing millions of gallons of radioactive and chemical liquid waste stored in 177 underground tanks at the Hanford Site near Richland, Wash.

Argonne opens registration for D&D training course

April 23, 2024, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions

Registration is open for Argonne National Laboratory’s Facility Decommissioning Training Course, a four-day instruction designed for those responsible for the decontamination and decommissioning of nuclear facilities and who are looking to understand the full breadth and depth of the D&D processes.

The next session will be held July 16–19 in Santa Fe, N.M. Information on the course and how to register can be found here.

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.