Radwaste Solutions on the Newswire

Cs-137 sealed source lost in Western Australia

A rendering of the sealed source capsule’s appearance. (Image: DFES)

Authorities are searching 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) of Australia’s Great Northern Highway, between Perth and the remote town of Newman, for a lost sealed-source capsule containing cesium-137. The source was part of a density gauge used by mining company Rio Tinto at its mining operations in Western Australia.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) of Western Australia reported that the density gauge containing a 6-mm-diameter (0.24-inch-diameter) by 8-mm-height (0.31-inch-height) source capsule was sent by flatbed truck to Perth for repair, leaving Rio Tinto’s Gudai-Darri mine site in Western Australia on January 12 and arriving in Perth on January 16. The package containing the gauge, however, was not inspected until January 25.

Upon opening the package, it was found that the gauge was broken apart with one of four mounting bolts missing. The source itself and all screws on the gauge were also missing. It is assumed that vibrations from the truck broke the gauge apart and allowed the screws and capsule to fall through the bolt hole and away from the truck. DFES said they were notified of the loss on the evening of January 25.

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Court dismisses challenges to Texas SNF storage facility

A federal appeals court rejected a lawsuit brought by environmental groups challenging the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s licensing of a consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) for spent nuclear fuel in Andrews County, Texas. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit found that the NRC reasonably applied its hearing regulations when approving Interim Storage Partners’ (ISP) license for the facility.

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Oklo submits licensing plan for fuel recycling facility

Oklo said it has submitted a licensing project plan to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, outlining the company’s plans for preapplication engagement activities that support the future licensing of a used nuclear fuel recycling facility. The first-of-a-kind facility is intended to produce fuel to support the deployment of Oklo’s advanced fission power plants.

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DOE cleanup teams win Secretary of Energy achievement awards

The Department of Energy recently honored eight teams from its Office of Environmental Management (EM) with Secretary of Energy 2022 Achievement Awards. The awards recognized projects at the DOE’s Idaho, Savannah River, and Hanford sites, as well as a group of employees that revamped and expanded DOE-EM’s Minority Serving Institutions Partnership Program (MSIPP-EM). In addition, DOE-EM employees on crosscutting departmental teams received awards.

The awards were part of the DOE’s annual Honor Awards, the agency’s highest form of employee recognition for excellence and achievement.

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Deep Isolation to launch demonstration center for borehole disposal

Nuclear waste management start-up Deep Isolation has announced the formation of a new Deep Borehole Demonstration Center. The new nonprofit organization will seek to advance the maturity of the safety case for deep borehole disposal and the technical readiness levels of the borehole disposal concept, including characterization, construction, canister handling, emplacement, and retrieval.

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DOE seeks input on analysis of alternatives for treating Hanford’s HLW

The Department of Energy is asking for feedback on a new report analyzing potential options for preparing high-level radioactive waste for vitrification at the department’s Hanford Site near Richland, Wash. Vitrification is the process of treating radioactive waste by immobilizing it in glass.

The report, Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant High-Level Waste Treatment: Analysis of Alternatives, was commissioned in response to a 2018 determination by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that it was unlikely the DOE would meet its mandated deadlines for treating Hanford’s tank waste.

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DOE increases consent-based siting FOA to $26 million

The Department of Energy has increased the funding level for its community engagement on consent-based siting funding opportunity announcement (FOA) from $16 million to $26 million. The DOE first announced it was making funding available to communities interested in learning more about consent-based siting, management of spent nuclear fuel, and interim storage facility siting considerations last September. The FOA follows the DOE’s recent update to its consent-based process for siting an interim storage facility for SNF.

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Cell leak delays startup of Idaho’s IWTU

Ten days after beginning a heat-up process to prepare for radiological operations at Idaho’s Integrated Waste Treatment Unit (IWTU), operators noticed a small leak of nonradioactive, nonhazardous solids in a cell, resulting in the facility’s shutdown in late December, the Department of Energy announced on January 10.

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First shipment of surplus plutonium TRU waste sent to WIPP

The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration and Office of Environmental Management have completed the first shipment of downblended surplus plutonium transuranic (TRU) material from the K Area at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico.

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World’s first nuclear-powered merchant ship to be decommissioned

The U.S. Department of Transportation has drafted a programmatic agreement (PA) on the decommissioning the NS Savannah, the world’s first nuclear-powered merchant ship. Christened in 1959 under President Dwight Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace initiative, which challenged world leaders to develop peaceful uses of nuclear power, the ship served as a demonstration project for the potential maritime use of nuclear energy.

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