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.

Draft proposal includes nuclear in EU taxonomy

January 5, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

France and other pronuclear European Union members appear to be winning the argument with their antinuclear neighbors—Germany, most prominently—regarding whether to add nuclear energy to the EU taxonomy, the classification system used to direct investments toward environmentally sustainable economic projects.

On January 1, the European Commission released a 60-page draft proposal that includes nuclear and natural gas in the taxonomy. Also, in a related press release, the EC said that it has begun consultations with EU members “on a draft text of a Taxonomy Complementary Delegated Act covering certain gas and nuclear activities.”

DOE affirms its interpretation of high-level waste

December 22, 2021, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions

With a notice published in the December 21 Federal Register, the Department of Energy has affirmed its interpretation of the statutory term “high-level radioactive waste” to mean that not all wastes from the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel are HLW. The DOE said it interprets the statutory term such that some reprocessing wastes may be classified as non-HLW and may be safely disposed of in accordance with its radiological characteristics.

DOE resumes consent-based siting process for spent fuel storage

December 1, 2021, 12:03PMRadwaste Solutions
Spent fuel in dry cask storage at the closed Kewaunee nuclear power plant. (Photo: NAC International)

The Department of Energy has restarted its consent-based siting process for identifying sites to store the nation’s spent nuclear fuel. Yesterday, the DOE issued a request for information that “will be used to further develop DOE’s consent-based siting process and overall waste management strategy in an equitable way.”

DOE begins commissioning of Hanford’s WTP

November 30, 2021, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
Electrician Ralph Bisla conducts tests of the finishing line inside Hanford’s WTP Low-Activity Waste Facility. (Photo: DOE)

Having completed all startup testing of components and systems, the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP) at the Hanford Site near Richland, Wash., has moved to the commissioning phase, the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) announced last week. During the commissioning phase, the final steps will be taken to prepare for the vitrification of radioactive and chemical waste as part of Hanford’s Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste (DFLAW) program.

DOE looks to dispose of Hanford tank waste as LLW

November 9, 2021, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
Crews pump waste from Hanford’s single-shell tanks to more stable double-shell tanks. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy is considering solidifying 2,000 gallons of Hanford’s tank waste and disposing of it as low-level radioactive waste at an off-site facility. A virtual public meeting on the proposed disposal plan is scheduled for November 18.

Mega-volume disposal unit to begin operation at Savannah River Site

November 9, 2021, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
DOE liquid waste contractor Savannah River Remediation is moving forward with Saltstone Disposal Unit projects to support the Salt Waste Processing Facility at the Savannah River Site.

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) has authorized the use of a second mega-volume saltstone disposal unit (SDU) at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. Savannah River Remediation (SRR), EM’s liquid waste contractor at SRS, received Critical Decision-4 for Saltstone Disposal Unit 7, marking the final step in the approval process before beginning operations.

Decommissioning San Onofre

November 5, 2021, 3:37PMNuclear NewsJohn Dobken

Imagine it’s January 1998. A specially equipped train from the Department of Energy rolls up to the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) to pick up spent nuclear fuel and take it to the Yucca Mountain repository in Nevada. This scene is repeated thousands of times at nuclear plant sites across the U.S. over the ensuing decades. The solution to permanent spent fuel disposal as outlined in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (and its amendments) is working as intended. The nation’s commercial spent fuel is safely isolated deep underground for the long term.

But that is not what happened. Work on Yucca Mountain has been stalled for a full decade, and the organization within the DOE that by law is responsible for managing the spent fuel program has been defunded and disbanded.

NWMO, University of Guelph to use eDNA to track host site biodiversity

October 27, 2021, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
Research teams from the NWMO and the University of Guelph conduct eDNA sampling in the Ignace area of Ontario, Canada. (Photo: NWMO)

Canada’s Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is working with the University of Guelph to launch a joint environmental DNA (eDNA) research program to further understand biodiversity conditions around two potential sites in Ontario for a deep geological repository for spent nuclear fuel.

Moab cleanup reaches milestone

October 27, 2021, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
Sealed steel containers of uranium mill tailings are loaded onto railcars at the DOE’s Moab Site in preparation for transport to the Crescent Junction disposal cell. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) announced that it has accomplished another of its 2021 priorities by permanently disposing of a cumulative 12 million tons of uranium mill tailings from the Moab Site in Utah. The announcement, made on October 26, follows last week’s report by EM that it has shipped more than 1 million tons of tailings for disposal in fiscal year 2021, which ended on September 30, the largest annual amount since FY 2012.

RFP issued for Hanford’s integrated tank disposition contract

October 25, 2021, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
Hanford’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, also known as the Vit Plant. (Photo: Bechtel National)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) has issued a final request for proposal (RFP) for the Hanford Integrated Tank Disposition Contract, a 10-year, $45 billion deal to oversee waste tank operations at the DOE’s Hanford Site near Richland, Wash. Proposals are due by December 20.

Animation depicts Hanford’s direct-feed waste treatment process

October 20, 2021, 12:09PMRadwaste Solutions
A screen shot from Hanford’s DFLAW animation. (Image: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) has released an animated video of the Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste (DFLAW) Program at the Hanford Site near Richland, Wash. The video shows the integrated procedure for treating Hanford’s radioactive tank waste, a process EM says is a key component of its strategic cleanup vision.

View the animation here.