Decontamination and Decommissioning


World’s first nuclear-powered merchant ship to be decommissioned

January 11, 2023, 9:34AMRadwaste Solutions
The NS Savannah, the world’s first nuclear-powered merchant ship. (Photo: NARA)

The U.S. Department of Transportation has drafted a programmatic agreement (PA) on the decommissioning the NS Savannah, the world’s first nuclear-powered merchant ship. Christened in 1959 under President Dwight Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace initiative, which challenged world leaders to develop peaceful uses of nuclear power, the ship served as a demonstration project for the potential maritime use of nuclear energy.

Paducah breaks ground on new site emergency operations center

January 10, 2023, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
Construction is underway on the Paducah Site's new Emergency Operations Center. (Photo: DOE)

Construction crews at the Department of Energy's Paducah Site in Kentucky have broken ground on a new Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to improve coordination and response to emergencies across the site.

The 3,500-square-foot facility will replace the existing EOC, which was established in the site’s C-300 Control Building around 1990. The C-300 Control Building was built during the 1950s. The new modern facility will be used to monitor environmental conditions and house emergency management personnel.

The new EOC is scheduled for completion in this year.

A video is available on the construction of the new EOC.

Animated video shows West Valley main plant demolition plan

January 9, 2023, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
A screen capture from the DOE's West Valley video. (Image: DOE)

A new animated video from the Department of Energy's Office of Environmental Management (EM) shows how cleanup contractor CH2M HILL BWXT West Valley (CHBWV) will take down the main plant process building at the West Valley Demonstration Project (WVDP).

The EM team at West Valley wanted to convey the project to the public, and they believe the animation accomplishes that goal, according to Stephen Bousquet, EM WVDP federal project director for the Main Plant Deconstruction Project.

Click here to watch the video.

Team selected to dismantle Lithuania's Ignalina

January 9, 2023, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
The Ignalina nuclear power plant. (Photo: INPP)

A consortium comprising Westinghouse Electric Spain, Jacobs, and the Lithuanian Energy Institute has been selected to plan dismantling and waste management at the long closed two-unit Ignalina nuclear power plant in Lithuania.

NRC proposes to amend its rules on the use of credit ratings

January 4, 2023, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a proposed rule that would amend its regulations for approved financial assurance mechanisms for decommissioning. The rule is intended to implement the provisions of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that directed agencies to amend their regulations to remove any reference to or requirement of reliance on credit ratings.

Hanford's former PUREX plant is prepared for disposition

December 19, 2022, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
An aerial view of Hanford’s Plutonium Uranium Extraction plant, showing the main facility (at center), the 211-A chemical storage area, and (in foreground) the 203-A acid storage area. (Photo: DOE)

Work crews at the Department of Energy’s Hanford Site in Washington state are performing risk-reduction activities at the Plutonium Uranium Extraction (PUREX) plant to prepare it for eventual disposition.

“It will be a yearslong effort to get this large facility ready for disposition, and I’m encouraged by the progress to safely and efficiently advance this work,” said Andy Wiborg, the DOE’s Projects and Facilities Division team lead for Hanford’s Central Plateau cleanup project.

Crews demolish first reactor in Oak Ridge’s central campus

November 15, 2022, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
Crews completed the teardown of Oak Ridge’s Bulk Shielding Reactor (Building 3010), once used for research as part of the federal Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion Program. (Photos: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) said its cleanup contractor UCOR recently completed the first-ever demolition of a reactor in the central campus area at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

Reactor head removed from decommissioned Indian Point-3

November 11, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
On the left, equipment being installed at Indian Point-3 on April 26, 1971. Unit 3 began operation in August 1976. On the right, some of the same equipment being removed as part of the decommissioning process, November 2022. (Photo: Indian Point Energy Center)

Holtec continues the decommissioning work at Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan, N.Y.

Unit 2, a 1,028-MWe pressurized water reactor, was shut down in April 2020; Unit 3, a 1,041-MWe PWR, was closed one year later. (Unit 1 was decommissioned in 1974.)

DOE completes cocooning of Hanford’s K East Reactor

October 31, 2022, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
DOE contractor CPCCo recently completed construction of a protective cocoon over the former K East Reactor building at Hanford. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) announced that construction of Hanford’s K East Reactor cocoon has been completed ahead of schedule and under budget. Cocooning of K East—enclosing it in a protective steel structure while the reactor’s radioactivity naturally decays—was one of EM’s key construction priorities for 2022.

NNSA to take over ownership of Savannah River from DOE-EM

October 21, 2022, 11:51AMRadwaste Solutions
A view of the Savannah River Site’s H Area. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) announced on October 18 that it has begun the process of transferring primary authority of South Carolina’s Savannah River Site (SRS) to the National Nuclear Security Administration, with the transfer expected to be completed in 2025.

Savannah River’s D Area cleanup work continues

October 19, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
Workers dismantle the conveyors of a coal-handling system at the Savannah River Site’s D Area. (Photo: SRNS)

Workers at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site have achieved an 85 percent reduction in the site’s operational footprint, a percentage that will grow as decommissioning and demolition of facilities continue in the site’s massive D Area, according to the DOE.

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Former criticality experiment lab demolished at Oak Ridge

October 6, 2022, 12:01PMRadwaste Solutions
Crews make progress tearing down the former Criticality Experiment Laboratory. The teardown began this past summer after months of deactivation activities. (Photo: DOE)

Work crews at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Site in Tennessee have successfully completed the demolition of the former Criticality Experiment Laboratory. Crews worked this past summer to bring down the dilapidated 1940s-era facility, also known as Building 9213.

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.