Decontamination and Decommissioning

Teardown commences on West Valley’s Main Plant

September 28, 2022, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
Demolition of the MPPB, one of the last remaining major facilities at WVDP, is expected to be completed in about 30 months. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) said it has met one of its cleanup priorities for 2022 by beginning demolition of the Main Plant Process Building (MPPB) at the West Valley Demonstration Project (WVDP) in New York. Located 35 miles south of Buffalo, the 150-acre WVDP site is home to the only commercial spent nuclear fuel reprocessing facility to operate in the United States.

NRC opens Palisades’ decommissioning plans to public comment

September 12, 2022, 7:09AMRadwaste Solutions
The Palisades nuclear power plant.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has made Holtec International’s post-shutdown decommissioning activities report (PSDAR) for the closed Palisades nuclear power plant available for public comment until December 27. The NRC also plans to hold a public meeting to discuss the report on the evening of September 22 at the South Haven campus of Lake Michigan College, about 10 miles north of the Palisades site in Covert, Mich.

The Future of Diablo Canyon

September 2, 2022, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
The Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in San Luis Obispo County, Calif. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

The reports of the death of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant may be greatly exaggerated. While Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) announced as early as 2016 that it would be closing California’s last operating nuclear power plant at the end of its current operating license, there has been growing political pressure to keep the plant, and its 2,200 MWe of carbon-free energy, running.

Jacobs/Multiconsult JV to plan Norwegian decommissioning program

July 1, 2022, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions

The Jeep-II facility at Kjeller. (Photo: Institute for Energy Technology)

A joint venture of Jacobs and Oslo-based engineering company Multiconsult Norge have been selected by Norsk Nukleær Dekommisjonering (NDD) to plan the decommissioning of Norway’s nuclear facilities. NDD is the state-run enterprise responsible for the decommissioning of Norway’s nuclear facilities and radioactive waste management.

Holtec completes acquisition of Michigan’s Palisades and Big Rock Point

June 29, 2022, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
The Palisades nuclear power plant. (Photo: Holtec International)

Holtec International announced on June 28 that it has completed the acquisition of the Palisades nuclear power plant and the Big Rock Point site from Entergy Corporation. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the license transfer for the two sites, both located in Michigan, in December 2021.

Cocooning of Hanford’s K East Reactor begins

June 29, 2022, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
The first steel columns, each weighing up to 28 tons, were placed for a cocoon over the former K East Reactor building at the Hanford Site. (Photo: DOE-EM)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) said that construction is well underway on a protective enclosure, or cocoon, for the K East Reactor building at the Hanford Site near Richland, Wash.

EM reports that is has achieved one of its key construction priorities for 2022 by beginning construction of the enclosure, which is designed to protect the reactor building while the radioactivity in the deactivated reactor core decays over the next several decades, making it safer and easier to decommission.

A time-lapse video showing the construction of the cocoon’s massive 120-foot steel frame can be seen here.

Demolition begins on high-risk contaminated Y-12 building

June 1, 2022, 3:01PMRadwaste Solutions
Demolition crews remove some of the auxiliary structures surrounding the main building of the Criticality Experiment Laboratory on the Oak Ridge Reservation. (Photo: DOE)

A contractor for the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) started tearing down a 1940s-era facility in May at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Demolition of the former Criticality Experiment Laboratory, also known as Building 9213, is the latest project by EM to address a large inventory of high-risk excess contaminated facilities at the Oak Ridge Reservation.

DOE issues final RFPs for Portsmouth, Paducah contracts

May 31, 2022, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) last week began accepting bids for the contract to manage the Portsmouth site in Ohio and Paducah site in Kentucky, where the former uranium enrichment plants are being decommissioned and remediated.

The final request for proposals for the Portsmouth Paducah Project Office’s Operations and Site Mission Support (OSMS) contract were issued by EM on March 25. The new contract, which has an estimated value of $2.9 billion over the 10-year performance period, will replace an existing contract currently held by Mid-America Conversion Services.

ANS responds to NRC’s proposed amendments on decommissioning regulations

May 25, 2022, 12:01PMANS News

ANS President Steven P. Nesbit has submitted comments to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, on behalf of the Society, regarding the commission’s proposed amendments to regulations on the decommissioning of production and utilization facilities. The NRC’s proposed regulatory changes address numerous areas, including emergency preparedness, physical security, cybersecurity, irradiated fuel management, decommissioning funding assurance, environmental considerations, low-level waste transportation, spent fuel management planning, and drug and alcohol testing.

NRC extends public comment period on decommissioning rule

May 19, 2022, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has extended the deadline for comments on its new decommissioning rulemaking until August 30. The proposed rule, which would amend NRC regulations pertaining to nuclear facilities transitioning to decommissioning, was first published in the Federal Register on March 3 with deadline for comments of May 17.

NRC schedules public meetings on D&D rulemaking

April 7, 2022, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has announced that it will hold public meetings this month to present its proposed regulations for nuclear power plants transitioning from operating status to decommissioning.

The meetings will be held on April 12 in Chicago, April 19 in Atlanta, and April 21 in Plymouth, Mass. The meetings will run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. local time and will include an opportunity for members of the public to ask questions. Those unable to attend in person can participate via Microsoft Teams. Details on meeting venues and virtual participation are provided in the public meeting notices at the above links.

U.K. develops robotic system for Dounreay D&D

April 6, 2022, 3:04PMRadwaste Solutions
A robot called Lyra was used to survey an underground radioactive ventilation duct in Dounreay’s redundant laboratories. (Photo: NDA)

Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd. (DSRL) and the Robotics and Artificial Intelligence in Nuclear (RAIN) Hub, a consortium of universities led by the University of Manchester, are working together on the development of robots capable of accessing areas that are inaccessible or unsafe for humans to work in. The robots will be used to inspect and characterize Dounreay’s laboratories, buildings, and structures as the United Kingdom prepares to decontaminate and decommission the nuclear site.

NRC approves Kewaunee license transfer to EnergySolutions for decommissioning

April 5, 2022, 6:58AMRadwaste Solutions
The Kewaunee nuclear power plant in Carlton, Wis.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved the transfer of the operating license of the shutdown Kewaunee nuclear power plant from Dominion Energy to EnergySolutions. The transfer, which includes the general license for the Wisconsin site’s spent fuel storage facility, is contingent upon approval by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission.

EnergySolutions entered into an agreement with Dominion in May 2021 to acquire the Kewaunee site for decommissioning.

EnergySolutions and RSCS team up to decommission NS Savannah

March 31, 2022, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
NS Savannah at Pier 13 in Baltimore, Md., in 2012.

Utah-based EnergySolutions is joining Radiation Safety and Control Services (RSCS) in the decommissioning of NS Savannah, the world’s first nuclear-powered merchant ship, currently berthed at the Port of Baltimore in Maryland. EnergySolutions announced on March 29 that a joint venture of the two companies, Nuclear Ship Support Services, is conducting the final phases of decommissioning the ship’s reactor, which was defueled in 1975 but remains in place.

Holtec and Hyundai to cooperate on D&D projects

March 30, 2022, 3:07PMRadwaste Solutions
Holtec president and chief executive officer Kris Singh (left) and Hyundai E&C president and CEO Yoon Young-Joon at the teaming agreement signing ceremony. (Photo: Holtec)

Holtec International and Hyundai Engineering & Construction have signed an agreement to cooperate in the area of nuclear plant decontamination and decommissioning.

Under the teaming agreement, Hyundai E&C will participate in D&D activities at Holtec-owned decommissioning sites in the United States to build its capabilities and experience in preparation for decommissioning projects in South Korea, which will be undertaken by the two companies. The agreement also provides for the two companies to further expand their cooperation internationally.

The Nuclear Communities Forum is coming soon

March 21, 2022, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Smart Growth America—in partnership with the National Association of Development Organizations, the Center for Creative Land Recycling, and the Nuclear Decommissioning Collaborative—is hosting a webinar titled “Nuclear Communities Forum 2022” on Friday, April 1, from 11 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. (EDT).

Register now. The webinar is free and open to all.

Hanford K East Reactor cocooning project taking shape

March 8, 2022, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
An artist’s rendering of the K East Reactor safe-storage enclosure. (Photo: DOE)

Preparations are being made to enclose, or “cocoon,” the K East Reactor, the seventh of nine former reactors at the Department of Energy’s Hanford Site. The cocooning project is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Watch this video for more on the project.

NRC releases proposed decommissioning rule for public comment

March 4, 2022, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission published its proposed decommissioning rule in the March 3 Federal Register, opening a 75-day public comment period. Approved by the NRC in November 2021, the proposed rule would incorporate lessons learned from plants that have recently transitioned to decontamination and decommissioning and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the regulatory framework.

D&D of USS Nautilus prototype reactor to begin in 2023

February 14, 2022, 3:04PMRadwaste Solutions
The interior of the Submarine 1st Generation Westinghouse prototype, located at the Naval Reactors Facility on the INL site, circa mid-1950s. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) announced on February 10 that it is set to deactivate and demolish the prototype for the reactor used for the USS Nautilus, the world’s first operational nuclear-powered submarine and the first submarine to complete a submerged transit of the North Pole.

NRC denies petition to revise decommissioning rules

February 9, 2022, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has denied a petition for rulemaking, filed in February 2019 by Gerard P. Van Noordennen on behalf of EnergySolutions, requesting that the agency revise its regulations to allow licensees access to a nuclear power plant’s decommissioning trust fund to pay for the disposal of major radioactive components before the plant permanently ceases operations and begins decommissioning.

“Major radioactive components” refers to the reactor vessel and internals, steam generators, pressurizers, large bore reactor coolant system piping, and other large components.