Photo: University of Manchester (U.K.)
Nuclear waste should not be used as an excuse for trying to shut down nuclear reactors, says radiation safety expert Andrew Karam in his recent article for the American Council on Science and Health titled, “Let’s Talk about Radioactive Waste."
The DOE recently completed startup testing on the uninterruptable electrical power system for Hanford’s Low-Activity Waste Facility.
Department of Energy workers recently finished startup testing of a battery-powered backup electrical system for the Low-Activity Waste (LAW) Facility at the Hanford Site near Richland, Wash. According to the DOE’s Office of Environmental Management (EM), the uninterruptable electrical power system is vital to safeguarding the facility, part of Hanford’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, in the unlikely event of a temporary power loss to the plant.
A look at Fukushima Daiichi today. (Photo: The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)
News programmers’ hunger for stories about the aftermath of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that caused three reactor meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi in March 2011 shows no signs of abating.
The Plutonium Facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Photo: LANL)
The Defense Nuclear Facility Safety Board, which provides independent federal oversight of Department of Energy weapons facilities, has reported that low-level radioactive and other combustible waste is accumulating in the basement of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Plutonium Facility (PF-4), and that housekeeping and waste management in the PF-4 basement have been a continuing challenge.
An artist's rendering of the HI-STORE facility (Image: Holtec)
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission plans to complete its safety review of Holtec International’s proposed HI-STORE consolidated interim storage facility by January 2022. A final licensing decision on the facility will be made in conjunction with the release of the agency’s final safety evaluation report, the NRC said in a July 2 letter to Holtec.
A view of Savannah River’s K Area Complex, where plutonium downblending operations take place. (Photo: DOE)
The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management has doubled the number of work shifts for employees in glove box operations at its Savannah River Site in South Carolina. The increased work pace will help the department meet its commitment to South Carolina to remove surplus plutonium from the state, the DOE said.
NWMO geologists study rock formations in the Ignace area of Ontario, Canada.
Canada’s Nuclear Waste Management Organization is studying the geology of the Ignace, Ontario, area to confirm its suitability as a site for a deep geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. Ignace is one of two areas the NWMO is investigating as possible host sites for a repository, with South Bruce, Ontario, being the second area.
A train pushes a container full of old equipment from H Canyon to a Savannah River Site disposal facility to make way for a new spent nuclear fuel dissolving campaign. (Photo: DOE)
The Department of Energy is preparing for an upcoming campaign to dissolve stainless-steel-clad spent nuclear fuel at its Savannah River Site in South Carolina by installing a new dissolver and an additional double-sized tank for storing dissolved material.
A view of the Savannah River Site’s Salt Waste Processing Facility. (Photo: DOE)
The Salt Waste Processing Facility at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site has performed largely as expected, processing more than one million gallons of radioactive waste during its first eight months of operation, the DOE reported on June 8. The SWPF is being used to treat the majority of the site’s remaining liquid radioactive waste, generated from the production of nuclear materials.
A loaded waste container at the site of the former Plutonium Finishing Plant is surveyed to ensure that it is safe for transfer to Hanford’s on-site disposal facility. (Photo: DOE)
Final cleanup activities at the Hanford Site’s demolished Plutonium Finishing Plant have resumed following a pause in work prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Energy announced. Crews with the DOE’s Richland Operations Office and site contractor Central Plateau Cleanup Company will remove, package, and dispose of rubble remaining from the demolition of the plant’s plutonium reclamation facility, which was torn down in 2017.
This figure, included in the ONWARDS funding opportunity announcement, shows how ARPA-E R&D programs address different stages of advanced reactor development. (Figure: ARPA-E)
The Department of Energy has announced up to $40 million in funding for a new Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program to conduct research and development into technologies for reprocessing and ultimately disposing of used nuclear fuel. The program, “Optimizing Nuclear Waste and Advanced Reactor Disposal Systems” (ONWARDS), announced on May 19, targets both open (once-through) and closed (reprocessing) fuel cycles to reduce the amount of waste produced from advanced reactors tenfold when compared to light water reactors.
Using Framatome’s technology, Germany’s VIRERO project is developing a robotic system for sorting and packaging radioactive waste. (Photo: Framatome)
Paving the way for increased automation in nuclear decontamination and decommissioning and waste management, French nuclear company Framatome announced that testing has confirmed the operation of its robotic systems for handling and sorting high-dose waste components.
A deposition tunnel is excavated into bedrock at Finland’s Onkalo facility. (Photo: Posiva)
Posiva Oy, the company responsible for the disposal of Finland’s spent nuclear fuel, announced last week that it has begun excavating the first disposal tunnels at the Onkalo deep geologic repository near the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant.