Waste Management

Idaho’s IWTU reaches 100 percent radiological operations

May 25, 2023, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
DOE-EM’s Greg Sosson (standing) views Integrated Waste Treatment activity during the facility’s first day of radiological operations. (Photo: DOE)

After initial runs using a mix of radiological waste and nonradioactive simulant, the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit (IWTU) at the Idaho National Laboratory site has progressed to treating sodium-bearing waste entirely, the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (DOE-EM) announced on May 22.

U.S., Canada to cooperate on spent fuel management

May 18, 2023, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
The NWMO’s Laurie Swami (left) and the DOE’s Kathryn Huff sign a statement of intent to cooperate on used nuclear fuel management in Washington, D.C., on May 16. (Photo: CNW Group/NWMO)

The United States and Canada will cooperate on spent nuclear fuel management under a statement of intent (SOI) signed between the U.S. Department of Energy and the Nuclear Waste Management Organization, the nonprofit responsible for the management of Canada’s commercial spent fuel.

INL waste treatment plant increases production

May 17, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
DOE-EM officials, IWTU employees, and others signed the first stainless steel canister prior to crews filling it with sodium-bearing waste and simulant. Once filled, that canister and 15 others were placed in a concrete vault for storage. (Photo: DOE)

Since the launch of operations just over a month ago, the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit (IWTU) at Idaho National Laboratory has increased sodium-bearing waste treatment fivefold. This activity is a vital step in removing the remaining liquid waste from nearby underground tanks at the site and protecting the underlying Snake River Plain Aquifer.

Holtec receives license for consolidated spent fuel storage site in New Mexico

May 11, 2023, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
A rendering of Holtec’s proposed HI-STORE CISF in New Mexico. (Image: Holtec)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a license to Holtec International to construct and operate a consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) for spent nuclear fuel in southeastern New Mexico. Holtec is proposing building the facility, called the HI-STORE CISF, between the cities of Carlsbad and Hobbs in Lea County on land provided by the Eddy Lea Energy Alliance (ELEA).

Waste Management 2023: Innovation, transformation, and sustainability

May 3, 2023, 7:01AMNuclear News

Attracting more than 2,000 attendees, the 2023 Waste Management Symposia was held February 26–March 2 in Phoenix, Ariz. For many, this year’s conference was a return to business as usual, with a packed exhibit hall and well-­attended technical sessions, as the upheaval brought about by the pandemic that began three years earlier seemed a thing of the past. Not that those who gathered in Phoenix threw any caution to the unseasonably cold and rainy winds that descended across Arizona this year.

WIPP drivers surpass 16 million safe miles

May 2, 2023, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
A CAST Specialty Transportation truck delivering TRU waste packages to WIPP. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) recently marked a milestone after its drivers exceeded 16 million safe miles without a serious accident or injury—equivalent to 33 round trips to the moon or more than 642 trips around the world, the DOE’s Office of Environmental Management announced.

NRC to hear arguments against Diablo Canyon ISFSI license renewal

April 25, 2023, 9:36AMRadwaste Solutions
The Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced that an agency licensing board will hold oral arguments in a challenge to Pacific Gas and Electric’s application to renew its license for the Diablo Canyon independent spent fuel storage installation in California.

The arguments, which will be open to the public, will be heard by an NRC Atomic Safety and Licensing Board on May 24 beginning at 1 p.m. eastern time.

Hanford cites progress in retrieving tank waste, preps for future transfers

April 21, 2023, 9:33AMRadwaste Solutions
Photos taken inside Hanford’s Tank AX-101 before workers started removing radioactive and chemical waste from it in January. As of April 18, crews have removed 35 percent of the tank waste. (Photos: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) said in an April 18 release that workers have so far removed almost 150,000 gallons, or about 35 percent, of the radioactive and chemical waste from Tank AX-101 at the department’s Hanford Site near Richland, Wash. Retrieval from this tank began in January.

DOE-EM seeks candidates for cleanup advisory board

April 20, 2023, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management has put out the call for interested members of the public to fill vacancies on its Environmental Management Advisory Board (EMAB), which provides independent and external advice and recommendations to the DOE-EM assistant secretary on corporate issues.

DOE to consider recycling contaminated Portsmouth nickel

April 18, 2023, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
Demolition of the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant’s X-326 building was completed in June 2022. (Photo: Fluor-BWXT Portsmouth)

As part of its ongoing cleanup work, the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management is looking into the potential reuse of approximately 6,400 tons of radiologically surface-contaminated nickel that has been removed from the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Ohio. DOE-EM began decommissioning the Portsmouth plant, one of three Cold War–era gaseous diffusion plant in the United States, in 2011.

DOE awards $45 billion Hanford tank waste contract

April 14, 2023, 9:29AMRadwaste Solutions
Hanford’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, also known as the Vit Plant. (Photo: Bechtel National)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management awarded a 10-year contract worth up to $45 billion to Hanford Tank Waste Operations and Closure (H2C) of Lynchburg, Va., to oversee the management of liquid radioactive tank waste at the DOE’s Hanford Site in southeastern Washington state.

Radiological operations of Idaho’s IWTU begin

April 12, 2023, 3:08PMRadwaste Solutions

IWTU operators prepare to introduce radiological sodium-bearing liquid waste into the facility Tuesday. (Photo: DOE)

More than a decade after construction was declared completed, Idaho’s long-delayed Integrated Waste Treatment Unit (IWTU) has begun radiological operations, the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) announced.

On Tuesday, crews at the Idaho National Laboratory Site began sending radioactive sodium-bearing liquid waste from nearby underground tanks to the IWTU for treatment. The 900,000 gallons of waste was generated during decontamination activities following spent nuclear fuel reprocessing that ended in 1992.

The IWTU uses steam reforming fluidized-bed reactor technology to convert liquid waste to a granular solid resembling coarse sand more suitable for long-term disposal.

Climate group argues for recycling used fuel in fast reactors

April 10, 2023, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
Report author Mark Lynas and RePlanet’s Joel Scott-Halkes stand next to a canister of spent nuclear fuel at the Sizewell plant in the United Kingdom. (Photo: RePlanet)

A new report from the environmental advocacy group RePlanet makes the case for recycling used nuclear fuel for use in advanced power reactors. According to the report, What a Waste: How fast-fission power can provide clean energy from nuclear waste, by using current inventories of used fuel and depleted uranium stocks in Europe and the United Kingdom, fast breeder reactors could generate between 600 and 1,000 years of carbon-free electricity for the entire European Union.

First used fuel moved to dry storage at Slovenia’s Krško plant

April 6, 2023, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions

The dry fuel storage building at the Krško nuclear power plant in Slovenia. (Photo: Holtec)

The first cask of used nuclear fuel was moved to dry storage at the Krško nuclear power plant in Slovenia on April 2, officially marking the storage facility’s commissioning, announced Holtec International, which is conducting the fuel transfer campaign.

According to Holtec, the current fuel loading campaign will consist of a total of 16 of the company’s HI-STORM FW casks being placed in dry storage.

The facility: Plant operator Nuklearna elektrarna Krško (NEK) received the operating license for the dry storage facility, the plant’s first, from the Slovenian Nuclear Safety Administration last October. The Krško facility was built under the management of Holtec’s Civil Design and Construction Department with the assistance of local supply chains, primarily consisting of Slovenian, Croatian, and Italian companies.

Idaho site achieves spent fuel milestone

March 30, 2023, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
William “Ike” White addresses the audience at INTEC, which gathered to celebrate the completion of the spent fuel wet-to-dry project at the INL site. (Photo: DOE)

At Idaho National Laboratory, Department of Energy leaders joined tribal, state, and local officials; contractors; and workers on March 28 to mark a recent milestone with the state of Idaho nearly 25 years in the making. The milestone was the completion of a spent fuel wet-to-dry project more than nine months ahead of a 1995 Idaho Settlement Agreement deadline.

Moving mixed loads creating efficiencies in U.K. rail transportation

March 28, 2023, 7:01AMRadwaste SolutionsBeverley Stothart
Two British Class 88 locomotives transport a nuclear waste flask wagon across Great Britain. (Photos: NTS)

Since its formation in 2005, the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has been tasked with ensuring that the U.K.’s nuclear legacy sites are decommissioned and cleaned up safely, securely, cost-effectively, and in ways that protect the people and the environment.

Waste Management 2023: Hot topics for the DOE

March 27, 2023, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
Panelists speak at the 2023 Waste Management Symposia “Hot Topics” session. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) has made great progress in accomplishing its cleanup of legacy radioactive waste but has yet to tackle its most challenging tasks, including the treatment of liquid tank waste at the Hanford, Idaho, and Savannah River sites. That was the consensus of the DOE-EM officials who took part in a panel session of the 2023 Waste Management Symposia, held February 26–March 2 in Phoenix, Ariz.

Shipping Vermont Yankee’s LLW: Lessons for transporting used fuel

March 23, 2023, 9:30AMRadwaste SolutionsJay Thomas, Mike Valenzano, and Nicolas Guibert
A loaded MP197HB cask is prepared for departure from the Vermont Yankee decommissioning site to West Texas. (Photos: Orano TN)

The rapid changes in the nuclear energy industry over the last decade, driven in part by fluctuating energy market prices and an aging fleet of reactors, have led to the closure of multiple reactors in the United States and other countries. These closures have increased the need for larger and more efficient ways to manage low-level radioactive waste processing and transport capacities. The safe transport of radioactive material is a key component of the overall nuclear industry reliability. Though sometimes perceived as a bottleneck and costly, it is necessary to send waste material to disposal.

NRC pushes decision on Holtec CISF to May

March 23, 2023, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has delayed issuing a decision on the licensing of Holtec International’s proposed consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) in New Mexico for at least two more months. In a letter sent to Holtec on March 20, the NRC said the delay was “due to unforeseen resource constraints.”