Environmental Remediation

Portsmouth’s X-326 building demolition is dusty work

June 2, 2022, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
The Panther T16 sprays fixative with a high-pressure water cannon onto X-326 building debris at the Portsmouth Site. (Photo: DOE)

Workers at the Department of Energy’s Portsmouth Site in Ohio have been using a new tool as part of the dust-suppression systems for the X-326 process building demolition project. The X-326 was one of three massive process buildings originally built to enrich uranium at the site, which was in operation starting in the 1950s. Environmental remediation of the site began in 1989, and deactivation and decommissioning activities began in 2011. Demolition of the facility has led to a dusty work environment.

DOE officials check out cleanup progress in Paducah

May 27, 2022, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
Dae Chung, associate principal deputy assistant secretary for corporate services (second from left) and other EM officials recently toured the Paducah Site. Also pictured (from left) are Jennifer Woodard, acting senior advisor to Chung; Jolie Fleming, technical services director for Four Rivers Nuclear Partnership; and Lisa Phillips, physical scientist. In this photo, they discuss the new criticality accident alarm system in the C-333 process building at Paducah. The building is being deactivated to prepare for future demolition. (Photo: DOE)

Officials from the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management recently got a firsthand look at cleanup progress being made at the Paducah Site in western Kentucky. The site is owned by the DOE, which is overseeing environmental cleanup activities there, including environmental remediation, waste management, depleted uranium conversion, and decontamination and decommissioning.

The visit by Dae Chung, associate principal deputy assistant secretary for corporate services, and other EM officials included stops at the C-400 cleaning building remediation project, the new Large Item Neutron Assay System (LINAS), and the C-333 process building deactivation.

Idaho waste retrieval project reaches early completion

April 1, 2022, 7:11AMRadwaste Solutions
An aerial view of the Radioactive Waste Management Complex at the Idaho National Laboratory site. (Photos: DOE)

Idaho Gov. Brad Little, attorney general Lawrence Wasden, Idaho legislators, county and city representatives, and the Department of Energy’s cleanup program management staff gathered at the Idaho National Laboratory site on March 30 to mark the completion of a cleanup project that helps protect the Snake River Plain Aquifer and fulfills a commitment with the State of Idaho.

Remediation of two Kyrgyz uranium legacy sites completed

March 29, 2022, 7:02AMRadwaste Solutions
A view of the village of Min Kush in central Kyrgyzstan. (Photo: EBRD)

The remediation of two former Soviet-era uranium mining sites in Kyrgyzstan has been completed on schedule and below budget, despite difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) announced on March 28.

DOE releases updated cleanup strategy

March 10, 2022, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) has issued EM Strategic Vision 2022-2032, a blueprint for planned nuclear-related cleanup efforts over the next decade. The document outlines environmental cleanup priorities for 2022–2032, focusing on safety, innovation, and improved performance.

According to a March 8 statement, the DOE is working to fulfill “the moral and ecological responsibility of safely dealing with contamination and delivering on environmental justice goals in communities that were vital to the development of nuclear weapons and advances in government-sponsored nuclear energy research.”

EM Strategic Vision 2022–2032, which is available here, is an update of previous iterations and was developed with feedback from regulators, tribal nations, local communities, and other partners.

Canada’s CNL seeks stakeholder support for Chalk River disposal facility

March 2, 2022, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
A rendering of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ proposed Near Surface Disposal Facility. (Image: CNL)

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) is asking its stakeholders (members of the public, industry, elected officials, and employees) to support a proposal to construct the Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF) to dispose of legacy radioactive waste at the Chalk River Laboratories in Ontario.

DOE hires contractor for completion of Moab remediation work

February 7, 2022, 7:02AMRadwaste Solutions
The Moab cleanup site in Utah in 2018. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (DOE-EM) has awarded a cleanup contract to North Wind Portage, Inc. for completion of environmental remediation of a uranium ore processing site near Moab, Utah. North Wind Portage is located in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

More information about the Moab project is available here.

Agreement reached on cleanup of 25-mile Savannah River Site stream corridor

January 31, 2022, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
An SRNS subcontractor technician takes radiological readings of soil near Lower Three Runs, part of a major project to complete the cleanup of a contaminated 25-mile-long stream corridor at SRS. (Photo: DOE) (CLICK TO SEE FULL PHOTO)

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS), the Department of Energy’s management and operating contractor for the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, has reached an agreement with the state of South Carolina and federal environmental regulators on the final cleanup of a 25-mile-long stream corridor at the site that was radiologically contaminated as a result of operations during the Cold War.

The corridor consists of Par Pond, nine miles of canals adjacent to the pond, and a stream named Lower Three Runs. The stream begins near the center of the site, just above Par Pond, and winds its way southward across SRS.

Machine learning and environmental remediation

January 28, 2022, 9:29AMANS Nuclear CafeAndrew Amann

Due to the large amount of water used by nuclear power plants, measuring the water’s impact on the environment is a huge data processing task. It is impossible to manually measure millions of gallons, along with tracking wildlife and the weather. The data computation needed to understand environmental patterns takes massive amounts of storage and strong algorithms to uncover anomalies.

DOE’s Environmental Management Office sets out 2022 cleanup priorities

January 18, 2022, 12:07PMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) has established its key priorities for calendar year 2022, covering planned cleanup, project construction, acquisition, and other important accomplishments to advance the office’s environmental and risk-reduction mission. EM is responsible for handling the nation’s Cold War environmental legacy resulting from five decades of nuclear weapons production and government-sponsored nuclear energy research.

“Our many accomplishments in 2021 positioned EM to achieve an equally challenging slate of priorities in 2022,” said EM senior advisor William “Ike” White. “Our 2022 priorities underscore our goals to accomplish cleanup that is safe and protective of our workforce, the public and the environment, and in a manner that is transparent to the communities that host and support our sites.”

How is technology changing the field of environmental remediation?

November 2, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear News

For U.S. nuclear plants now undergoing decommissioning and those about to begin the process, environmental remediation has remained relatively consistent on the nuclear side with respect to contaminated soil and groundwater cleanup. However, non-­radiological chemical remediation has been shifting as new and emerging compounds are getting attention from the public and from the Environmental Protection Agency and state agencies.

Pine forest helps safely disperse tritium at Savannah River Site

September 23, 2021, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
U.S. Forest Service employees Secunda Hughes (left) and Andrew Thompson inspect irrigation piping and sprinkler heads, part of a 62-acre pine plantation used to safely disperse tritium at the Savannah River Site.

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) is managing the release of tritiated water using a 62-acre plantation of pine trees and other natural resources to limit radioactively contaminated groundwater from reaching waterways on the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.

Three Studies in Site Remediation

September 21, 2021, 12:00PMRadwaste SolutionsJeremy Kartchner

For any nuclear power plant that has been permanently shut down, site restoration is the ultimate decommissioning goal when contracting with a utility to demolish a facility. The task, however, is not as simple as mobilizing heavy equipment and waving a wrecking ball or planting explosives to implode the facility, then loading up the debris and sending it to a landfill.

There is a real science and engineering approach necessary to safely restore the land to its original state. That has been the goal for EnergySolutions over the past decade as the company works to safely decommission shuttered nuclear power plants—packaging, transporting, and disposing of the waste, and restoring the sites for whatever reuse the owners and host communities see fit.