Sellafield begins removing waste from legacy fuel cladding store

August 17, 2023, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
The Pile Fuel Cladding Silo on the Sellafield site in West Cumbria, England. (Photo: Sellafield Ltd.)

After decades of planning and weeks of preparation and checks, the first batch of legacy waste has been retrieved from the Pile Fuel Cladding Silo at the Sellafield nuclear site in West Cumbria, England. According to Sellafield Ltd., the site license company, a state-of-the-art robotic arm was used to reach into the silo and, for the first time, remove and repackage the waste for longer-term storage.

These retrievals mark a significant achievement in progress toward the cleanup and decommissioning of one of the most hazardous buildings on the site, according to Sellafield Ltd., which made the announcement on August 16.

Watch a video about the Pile Fuel Cladding Silo and Sellafield’s waste retrieval operations here.

American Nuclear Society recommends updating EPA repository regs

August 16, 2023, 9:15AMPress Releases

Downers Grove, Illinois – The American Nuclear Society (ANS) published a finalized report on recommendations for updating public health and safety standards for the permanent disposal of commercial used nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste at future geological repository projects in the United States.

IAEA launches new research project on deep borehole disposal

August 14, 2023, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
A schematic illustration of a deep borehole repository assuming disposal into a bedrock. (Image: Sandia National Laboratories via IAEA)

The International Atomic Energy Agency is launching a new Coordinated Research Project (CRP) to increase international knowledge and drive progress toward testing deep borehole disposal for intermediate- and high-level radioactive waste.

IAEA’s sealed sources management review service completes first mission

August 11, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
A new IAEA peer review service demonstrates the proper management of disused sealed radioactive sources. (Photos: IAEA [left] and TINT [right])

The International Atomic Energy Agency has carried out the first mission of its Disused Sealed Radioactive Sources Technical Centre peer review service, or DSRS TeC, at the Thailand Institute of Nuclear Technology (TINT) in Bangkok. Held July 18–21, the inaugural mission was supported by funds from the United States.

Glass added to heated Hanford Vit Plant melter

August 9, 2023, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
A 300-pound bag of frit is in position to be poured into the melter at Hanford’s LAW Facility. (Photo: Bechtel National)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management announced that the first batches of glass-forming beads, called frit, were poured last week into a melter at the Hanford Site’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP), also known as the Vit Plant. The melter, which has been heated to 2,100ºF, will be used to immobilize Hanford’s radioactive and chemical tank waste, turning it into a stable glass form through vitrification.

Hanford’s Vit Plant melter reaches 2,100°F

August 4, 2023, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy announced last week that Melter 1 at the Hanford Site’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, also known as the Vit Plant, has hit its operational temperature of 2,100ºF. The DOE began heating Melter 1 in October 2022, but was soon forced to pause when abnormalities in the heaters’ power supply were encountered.

NWTRB to hold meeting and workshop on consent-based siting

August 2, 2023, 12:02PMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, which evaluates the Department of Energy’s activities on radioactive waste management, is holding a hybrid (in person and virtual) public meeting on August 30 to discuss the DOE’s consent-based process for siting one or more federal interim storage facilities for commercial spent nuclear fuel. The DOE’s research and development related to high-burnup SNF and advanced reactor waste disposal will also be discussed.

New adsorbent shows promise in helping remove Cs+ from nuclear wastewater

July 11, 2023, 3:01PMNuclear News
(Image: Kuk Cho/Pusan National University)

Researchers from the Pusan National University in South Korea have developed a new calcium-doped ion exchanger for the removal of radioactive cesium from acidic nuclear power plant wastewater. The findings have the potential for developing more efficient and effective methods of remediating radioactive contamination.

DOE, New Mexico reach agreement on WIPP permit renewal

June 30, 2023, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, near Carlsbad, N.M. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management and the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) have negotiated a settlement on terms to renew the 10-year operating permit for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, N.M. The DOE, along with WIPP’s operating contractor, Salado Isolation Mining Contractors, and the NMED negotiated the settlement with New Mexico stakeholders.

U.K. to begin new search for a geological repository

June 29, 2023, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions
Concept art showing a geological disposal facility with tunnels and vaults in deep underground rock, under the seabed. (Image: NWS)

Nuclear Waste Services, the United Kingdom’s radioactive waste management organization, launched in January 2022, has begun a wide range of studies to evaluate sites that could be suitable to host a geological disposal facility (GDF).

France’s ASN begins review of the Cigéo repository

June 28, 2023, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
Diagram of the Cigéo repository in France. (Image: Andra)

Having deemed the application admissible, France’s nuclear safety authority, Autorité de sûreté nucléaire (ASN), will undertake a technical appraisal of Andra’s application to construct the Cigéo deep geological disposal facility for radioactive waste.

ANS Annual Meeting: Mapping the winding road to used fuel disposal

June 19, 2023, 12:09PMRadwaste Solutions

The question “What about the waste?” is typically thrown out by the antinuclear crowd as an attempt to bog down the discussion of nuclear development. However, with renewed interest in nuclear power—and new advanced reactors in particular—what to do about used nuclear fuel is coming to the fore as a question that needs resolving.

ANS responds to DOE’s funding award for consent-based siting

June 16, 2023, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
(Image: DOE)

American Nuclear Society Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer Craig Piercy responded to the Department of Energy’s awarding the Society about $2 million to lead a team of universities in developing a replicable model for community engagement on nuclear storage, saying the work will help the DOE determine what consensus decision-making looks like in the siting process for facilities storing commercial spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste.

AECL and CNL sign long-term agreement with Canadian indigenous group

June 14, 2023, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions

Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), and the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation (AOPFN) have signed a long-term relationship agreement that aims to foster mutual respect, collaboration, and economic opportunities between Canada’s indigenous communities and the nuclear industry.

Under terms of the agreement, a working group featuring representation from all three parties will be formed to facilitate ongoing engagements and collaboration among the organizations. This is in addition to the creation of what will be known as the AOPFN Neya Wabun (guardian program), which will establish a regular presence of Pikwakanagan guardians at CNL operations and AECL sites within the territory.

Two new reports shed light on Hanford’s tank waste challenges

June 5, 2023, 3:02PMRadwaste Solutions
Hanford’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant. (Photo: DOE)

A pair of recent reports by the U.S. Government Accountability Office and the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine highlight some of the challenges the Department of Energy faces in treating the millions of gallons of legacy radioactive waste at the Hanford Site in Washington state.

Idaho’s IWTU reaches 100 percent radiological operations

May 25, 2023, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
DOE-EM’s Greg Sosson (standing) views Integrated Waste Treatment activity during the facility’s first day of radiological operations. (Photo: DOE)

After initial runs using a mix of radiological waste and nonradioactive simulant, the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit (IWTU) at the Idaho National Laboratory site has progressed to treating sodium-bearing waste entirely, the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (DOE-EM) announced on May 22.

DOE-EM outlines its cleanup goals for the coming decade

May 22, 2023, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management has released its Strategic Vision 2023–2033, a blueprint of the office’s anticipated cleanup achievements over the next decade. DOE-EM said the strategic vision is focused on the priorities of addressing radioactive liquid tank waste, demolishing contaminated buildings, remediating contaminated soil and groundwater, and safely managing and disposing of waste.

“The Strategic Vision 2023–2033 is intended to help us gaze further out to a place we want to be in the future,” DOE-EM senior advisor William “Ike” White said. “It sets EM on a course that will span a decade and inspire us all to achieve EM’s vital nuclear cleanup mission.”