Radwaste Solutions on the Newswire

Glass strategy: Hanford’s enhanced waste glass program

The mission of the Department of Energy’s Office of River Protection (ORP) is to complete the safe cleanup of waste resulting from decades of nuclear weapons development. One of the most technologically challenging responsibilities is the safe disposition of approximately 56 million gallons of radioactive waste historically stored in 177 tanks at the Hanford Site in Washington state.

ORP has a clear incentive to reduce the overall mission duration and cost. One pathway is to develop and deploy innovative technical solutions that can advance baseline flow sheets toward higher efficiency operations while reducing identified risks without compromising safety. Vitrification is the baseline process that will convert both high-level and low-level radioactive waste at Hanford into a stable glass waste form for long-term storage and disposal.

Although vitrification is a mature technology, there are key areas where technology can further reduce operational risks, advance baseline processes to maximize waste throughput, and provide the underpinning to enhance operational flexibility; all steps in reducing mission duration and cost.

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Bacteria found to reduce uranium mobility in clay

Researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) research laboratory in Germany have investigated a microorganism capable of transforming water-soluble hexavalent uranium [U(VI)] to the less-mobile tetravalent uranium [U(IV)]. The researchers found that the sulfate-reducing bacterium Desulfosporosinus hippei, a relative of naturally occurring microorganisms present in clay rock and bentonite, showed a relatively fast removal of uranium from clay pore water.

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Hanford brings second Vit Plant melter on line

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management recently announced that crews at the Hanford Site’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, also known as the Vit Plant, recently brought the second of two 300-ton melters up to the operating temperature of 2,100°F.

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The Watchful Guardian: Argonne’s ARG-US remote monitoring technologies

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory are developing and deploying ARG-US (from the Greek Argus, meaning “Watchful Guardian”) remote monitoring systems technologies to enhance the safety, security, and safeguards (3S) of packages of nuclear and other radioactive material during storage, transportation, and disposal.

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Taking a train to Texas

Last year in late August, 120 storage cylinders of depleted uranium oxide (DUOx) safely arrived by rail in West Texas, having been shipped from the Department of Energy’s Portsmouth Site in Ohio. It was the first such shipment of the stable crystalline powder from the Portsmouth Site and was another milestone in the DOE Office of Environmental Management’s (EM) efforts to ship DUOx for off-site disposal.

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Nonproliferation proponents call on Biden to oppose SHINE's proposed recycling plant

A group of 29 nonproliferation supporters sent a letter to President Biden asking that he withhold federal support for a proposed pilot plant for recycling spent nuclear fuel to be built by the Wisconsin-based fusion tech company SHINE Technologies. The experts further asked that Biden “discourage” the Nuclear Regulatory Commission from licensing the plant, claiming it would extract enough weapons-grade plutonium to build 100 atomic bombs a year.

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House E&C subcommittee to hold hearing on spent fuel management

The House Energy and Commerce Committee announced a public hearing on improving the U.S. management of spent nuclear fuel. The hearing, titled “American Nuclear Energy Expansion: Spent Fuel Policy and Innovation,” will be held on April 10 by the E&C Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Subcommittee.

The hearing will be livestreamed on the E&C Committee website.

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