Can plant closures be an industry engagement opportunity?

May 14, 2021, 9:04AMNuclear NewsJim A. Hamilton
New York’s Indian Point-3 was scheduled to close in April 2021.

At present, more than 20 commercial nuclear power plants in the United States have entered the decommissioning process, and many indicators point to a coming wave of additional plant closures. Indeed, with increasing numbers of plants terminating operations due to unfavorable market conditions, some voices have deemed this the “age of decommissioning.”

Regardless of whether a plant shuts its doors earlier than antici­pated or seeks a life extension through relicensing, all plants eventually close. When they do, the closure sets off a wave of economic impacts ranging from minor disruptions to severe and long-lasting harm.

Solving Sellafield’s 4 Ds problem

November 6, 2020, 3:44PMNuclear Newsthe U.K. National Nuclear Laboratory and Sellafield Ltd

The U.K. National Nuclear Laboratory’s Colin Fairbairn (left) and Ben Smith (in pre-COVID days) work on the Box Encapsulation Plant (BEP) robots project at the NNL’s facility in Workington, Cumbria, U.K. Photos: UKNNL

Though robotics solutions have been used across many industries, for many purposes, Sellafield Ltd has begun to bring robotics to the U.K. nuclear industry to conduct tasks in extreme environments. The Sellafield site, in Cumbria, United Kingdom, contains historic waste storage silos and storage ponds, some of which started operations in the 1950s and contain some of the most hazardous intermediate--level waste in the United Kingdom. There is a pressing need to decommission these aging facilities as soon as possible, as some of them pose significant radiation risk.