Waste Management

ANS Winter Meeting: Addressing the spent fuel dilemma

December 3, 2021, 11:59AMRadwaste Solutions

The President’s Special Session at the 2021 ANS Winter Meeting and Technology Expo, held Thursday morning, explored the current impasse over the management of spent nuclear fuel in the United States, with leaders from Congress and representatives from the Department of Energy and the U.S. Government Accountability Office sharing the work they are doing in an effort to break that impasse.

DOE resumes consent-based siting process for spent fuel storage

December 1, 2021, 12:03PMRadwaste Solutions
Spent fuel in dry cask storage at the closed Kewaunee nuclear power plant. (Photo: NAC International)

The Department of Energy has restarted its consent-based siting process for identifying sites to store the nation’s spent nuclear fuel. Yesterday, the DOE issued a request for information that “will be used to further develop DOE’s consent-based siting process and overall waste management strategy in an equitable way.”

DOE begins commissioning of Hanford’s WTP

November 30, 2021, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
Electrician Ralph Bisla conducts tests of the finishing line inside Hanford’s WTP Low-Activity Waste Facility. (Photo: DOE)

Having completed all startup testing of components and systems, the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP) at the Hanford Site near Richland, Wash., has moved to the commissioning phase, the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) announced last week. During the commissioning phase, the final steps will be taken to prepare for the vitrification of radioactive and chemical waste as part of Hanford’s Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste (DFLAW) program.

Search for next Savannah River M&O contractor delayed

November 10, 2021, 6:59AMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy has indefinitely delayed its final request for proposal (RFP) for the management and operations contract for the department’s Savannah River Site in South Carolina. The contract’s postponement was announced in a brief notice posted to the DOE’s Office of Environmental Management Consolidated Business Center website on November 9.

DOE looks to dispose of Hanford tank waste as LLW

November 9, 2021, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
Crews pump waste from Hanford’s single-shell tanks to more stable double-shell tanks. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy is considering solidifying 2,000 gallons of Hanford’s tank waste and disposing of it as low-level radioactive waste at an off-site facility. A virtual public meeting on the proposed disposal plan is scheduled for November 18.

Mega-volume disposal unit to begin operation at Savannah River Site

November 9, 2021, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
DOE liquid waste contractor Savannah River Remediation is moving forward with Saltstone Disposal Unit projects to support the Salt Waste Processing Facility at the Savannah River Site.

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) has authorized the use of a second mega-volume saltstone disposal unit (SDU) at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. Savannah River Remediation (SRR), EM’s liquid waste contractor at SRS, received Critical Decision-4 for Saltstone Disposal Unit 7, marking the final step in the approval process before beginning operations.

Oak Ridge upgrades waste shipment tracking system

November 8, 2021, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
A truck loaded with waste crosses the scale at the East Tennessee Technology Park at Oak Ridge. Each truck used by Oak Ridge contractor UCOR is equipped with a unique radio frequency identification card that logs its movements and weight and registers the data in a database.

UCOR, the primary contractor for the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OEM), recently transitioned to a new waste tracking system that improves how shipments are tracked from work sites to disposal locations.

The new system includes upgraded radio frequency identification (RFID) tracking for trucks, as well as new hardware and software, allowing for an automated tracking operation that delivers up-to-the-minute waste disposal data.

Holtec touts advances in welding, NDE technologies

November 1, 2021, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Holtec International said its manufacturing specialists continue to bring forth new welding and weld examination technologies. The company recently highlighted three “landmark achievements” that are transforming its manufacturing program.

In addition to manufacturing spent nuclear fuel storage and transportation casks, Holtec provides products and services to the nuclear industry, including nondestructive examination of in-service reactor components. The company is also developing its own small modular reactor, the SMR-160.

DOE awards contracts for Oak Ridge, SRS work

October 29, 2021, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
The Defense Waste Processing Facility at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) has awarded Savannah River Mission Completion (SRMC), of Lynchburg, Va., the Integrated Mission Completion Contract at the Savannah River Site near Aiken, S.C. The single-award, master indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract has an estimated contract ceiling of approximately $21 billion over a 10-year ordering period, with cost-reimbursement and fixed-price task orders to define the contract performance.

UCOR awarded $8.3 billion Oak Ridge cleanup contract

October 28, 2021, 3:01PMRadwaste Solutions
EM crews demolish Building 9207 in the former Y-12 Biology Complex at Oak Ridge earlier this year. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) has awarded a 10-year, $8.3 billion contract to United Cleanup Oak Ridge (UCOR), of Germantown, Md., for the cleanup of the Oak Ridge Reservation in Tennessee, including the Y-12 National Security Complex, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP).

Hanford completes wastewater basin work to support tank waste treatment

October 26, 2021, 3:01PMRadwaste Solutions
An aerial view of Hanford’s Liquid Effluent Retention Facility Basin 44 with its new cover installed. (Photo: DOE)

Record-breaking heat and the vast size of the job did not stop the Department of Energy’s Office of River Protection and its tank operations contractor, Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS), from completing a construction project critical to the Hanford Site’s Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste program for treating radioactive tank waste.

RFP issued for Hanford’s integrated tank disposition contract

October 25, 2021, 12:00PMRadwaste 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 (EM) has issued a final request for proposal (RFP) for the Hanford Integrated Tank Disposition Contract, a 10-year, $45 billion deal to oversee waste tank operations at the DOE’s Hanford Site near Richland, Wash. Proposals are due by December 20.

DOE and EPA agree on further cleanup work at Hanford’s 100-BC Area

October 22, 2021, 7:14AMRadwaste Solutions
The 100-BC Area (in green) within the Hanford Site. (Image: DOE)

Soil and groundwater contamination at the Hanford Site’s 100-BC Area will be treated under a record of decision (ROD) signed by the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, with the concurrence of the Washington State Department of Ecology.

Animation depicts Hanford’s direct-feed waste treatment process

October 20, 2021, 12:09PMRadwaste Solutions
A screen shot from Hanford’s DFLAW animation. (Image: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) has released an animated video of the Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste (DFLAW) Program at the Hanford Site near Richland, Wash. The video shows the integrated procedure for treating Hanford’s radioactive tank waste, a process EM says is a key component of its strategic cleanup vision.

View the animation here.

Canada and South Korea to cooperate on spent fuel research

October 20, 2021, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
In a virtual ceremony, CNL and KHNP signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on spent CANDU fuel research. (Image: CNL)

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) and Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP) intend to leverage data collected over decades on the dry storage of spent nuclear fuel to help inform decision-making on future spent fuel storage, transportation, and disposal activities.

Final hot cell at former Oak Ridge lab prepared for demolition

October 14, 2021, 3:03PMRadwaste Solutions
A view of the final remaining hot cell at the former Radioisotope Development Laboratory at Oak Ridge National Laboratory as it is prepared for demolition. (Photo: DOE)

Using a specialized radiation detector, Department of Energy cleanup contractor UCOR is characterizing a hot cell at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in preparation for its demolition. The detector overlays a radiation-intensity color-map on a picture of the environment and identifies gamma-emitting nuclides and their locations.

DOE completes mining of WIPP’s Panel 8

October 14, 2021, 7:04AMRadwaste Solutions
An electric continuous miner machine chews through the last wall of salt in Panel 8’s Room 7 of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant to complete the rough cut of the panel. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management this week announced that after seven years, mining of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant’s Panel 8 is finished. Created from an ancient salt formation 2,150 feet below the surface, Panel 8’s seven emplacement rooms are the next destination for transuranic waste brought to WIPP from DOE sites throughout the country.

Washington, Oregon receive over $33 million in Hanford assistance grants

October 7, 2021, 3:01PMRadwaste Solutions
Nitya Chandran, a facility engineer with the Washington State Department of Ecology, inspects Hanford’s tank-side cesium removal system. (Photo: DOE)

Washington state and Oregon will receive approximately $33.5 million through four financial assistance grants from the Department of Energy to fund programs related to the cleanup of the department’s Hanford Site near Richland, Wash. The grants will support environmental response regulatory activities, emergency preparedness, and public information programs in the two states.

All four grants, which were noncompetitively awarded, are for fiscal years 2022 through 2026.

DOE expands HLW canister double-stacking at Savannah River Site

October 5, 2021, 12:06PMRadwaste Solutions
Savannah River Remediation workers double-stack HLW canisters in an underground vault in Savannah River’s Glass Waste Storage Building 2 using a one-of-a-kind shielded canister transporter. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) has demonstrated the capability to expand the double-stacking of high-level waste canisters at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. That approach will save the site’s cleanup program millions of dollars, according to the DOE.