Radwaste Solutions on the Newswire

The Decommissioning of Portsmouth’s X-326

In the 1950s, the U.S. Department of Energy constructed the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in rural southern Ohio to enrich uranium, alongside two other federally owned and managed facilities in Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Paducah, Ky. The Cold War-era plant was built as a self-sufficient industrial city with more than 400 buildings and facilities centered around three massive gaseous diffusion process buildings that could enrich the level of the uranium-235 isotope for nuclear fuel in the defense and energy sectors.

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Report links U-235 found in Ohio home to Portsmouth

In May 2019, Zahn’s Corner Middle School in Pike County, Ohio, located within four miles of the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PORTS), was closed after local officials reported enriched uranium and transuranic radionuclides were detected inside the school and at outside air monitors.

Now, Cincinnati’s WKRC Local 12, a news affiliate of Sinclair Broadcast Group, is reporting that a private house in Lucasville, Ohio, 10 miles from the PORTS site, has been contaminated with enriched uranium.

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SRS workers meet Pu downblending goals ahead of schedule

Contractor employees at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site in South Carolina recently exceeded their plutonium downblending goal for 2022 ahead of schedule as part of the ongoing activities to remove Pu from the state, the DOE’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) announced.

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DOE evaluates wearable robotic devices to aid cleanup workforce

For the first time since forming in 2020, more than 40 members of a Department of Energy team met in person to evaluate technologies, including exoskeletons and wearable robotic devices, that could be adapted to the cleanup mission of department’s Office of Environmental Management (EM), helping improve the safety and well-being of its workers.

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DOE completes cocooning of Hanford’s K East Reactor

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.

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“Abnormal condition” pauses Hanford melter heat-up

Heating of the first waste vitrification melter at the Department of Energy’s Hanford Site was paused after operators identified an “abnormal condition with the startup heater power supplies,” the DOE’s Office of River Protection (ORP) said. Heat-up of the 300-ton melter, which will be used to vitrify Hanford’s low-level radioactive tank waste, was initiated on October 8.

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DOE awards $38 million to advance used fuel recycling

The Department of Energy is providing $38 million in funding for a dozen projects aimed at developing technologies to advance spent nuclear fuel reprocessing, reduce the volume of high-level waste requiring permanent disposal, and provide domestic advanced reactor fuel stocks. The projects are being led by universities, private companies, and national laboratories.

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Oak Ridge’s Changing Skyline

The Department of Energy and its environmental cleanup contractor United Cleanup Oak Ridge (UCOR) are poised to meet critical milestones as they continue to move to the next generation of cleanup at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. On ORNL’s main campus, crews on “Reactor Hill”—so named because of the four remaining reactor facilities on that hillside—and at the Experimental Gas-Cooled Reactor (EGCR) just east of the campus continue rigorous schedules as they enter a new phase of progress in the cleanup program.

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

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.

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