Michele Kearney's Nuclear Wire

Major Energy and Environmental News and Commentary affecting the Nuclear Industry.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Fermi-2 reactor in Michigan starting up after pandemic-delayed outage: DTE | S&P Global Platts

Fermi-2 reactor in Michigan starting up after pandemic-delayed outage: DTE | S&P Global Platts: DTE Energy s 1,205 MW Fermi 2 nuclear reactor in Newport, Michigan, is in the process of starting up after the longest nuclear refueling and maintenance outage in the US so far in 2020. The outage beg

Three Mile Island decommissioning fight nears end amid lack of local input - pennlive.com

Three Mile Island decommissioning fight nears end amid lack of local input - pennlive.com: Pennsylvania state regulators asked for more time to iron out a possible settlement over the decommissioning of Three Mile Island, a source of controversy as the owners of Unit 2 seek to transfer their license.

Isaias knocks out power forcing shut down of Brunswick Nuclear Plant reactor | WWAY TV

Isaias knocks out power forcing shut down of Brunswick Nuclear Plant reactor | WWAY TV

Brexit Britain not involved in world's largest nuclear fusion project

Brexit Britain not involved in world's largest nuclear fusion project: The London Economic | Iter is a collaboration between China, the EU, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the US - but post-Brexit Britain opted out | News

Construction of the World's Biggest Nuclear Fusion Plant Just Started in France

Construction of the World's Biggest Nuclear Fusion Plant Just Started in France: The hope is that by 2025 the plant will be able to produce “first plasma,” a test designed to make sure the reactor works.

How to Build an On-Time, On-Budget Nuclear Power Plant

How to Build an On-Time, On-Budget Nuclear Power Plant: Building a new nuclear power plant is challenging. The Nuclear Energy Agency's REDCOST report provides some tips for reducing costs and improving timelines.

Fermi-2 reactor in Michigan starting up after pandemic-delayed outage: DTE | S&P Global Platts

Fermi-2 reactor in Michigan starting up after pandemic-delayed outage: DTE | S&P Global Platts: DTE Energy s 1,205 MW Fermi 2 nuclear reactor in Newport, Michigan, is in the process of starting up after the longest nuclear refueling and maintenance outage in the US so far in 2020. The outage beg

Africa and Energy: Kenya On Track to Build $5 Billion Nuclear Power Plant - Bloomberg

Africa and Energy: Kenya On Track to Build $5 Billion Nuclear Power Plant - Bloomberg: Kenya’s nuclear agency submitted impact studies for a $5 billion power plant, and said it’s on course to build and start operating the facility in about seven years.

NTH_TVA-Trump-Citing-foreign-workers.pdf

NTH_TVA-Trump-Citing-foreign-workers.pdf

Construction complete at £22m Fusion Technology site | TheBusinessDesk.com

Construction complete at £22m Fusion Technology site | TheBusinessDesk.com: 25,000 sq ft facility will develop and test technologies for fusion materials and components

NNRA Seeks Upgrade of Nigeria's Nuclear Safety Laws - THISDAYLIVE

NNRA Seeks Upgrade of Nigeria's Nuclear Safety Laws - THISDAYLIVE: Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja The Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA) has continued its consultations with the National Assembly to re-enact the Nuclear Safety, Security and Safeguards Act (NSSS) bill. Already, the agency has met with the Senate Joint Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) and that of Science and Technology on the hearing on the bill. …

France EPR Nuclear Reactor Is a Mess - Nuclear Reactor News

France EPR Nuclear Reactor Is a Mess - Nuclear Reactor News: France's revolutionary nuclear reactor is a leaky, expensive mess. With a bloated budget, endless delays, and shoddy construction, EPR looks like a big mistake.

ACU receives $30.5 million for a nuclear research reactor

ACU receives $30.5 million for a nuclear research reactor: ACU receives $30.5 million for a nuclear research reactor

Xcel Energy temporarily stops load following at Prairie Island after NRC inspection | S&P Global Platts

Xcel Energy temporarily stops load following at Prairie Island after NRC inspection | S&P Global Platts: Xcel Energy temporarily stopped load following operations at Prairie Island in Minnesota after NRC determined in a June 30 inspection that plant procedures should have required further analysis of suc

Feds, S.C. seek pause on plutonium fines lawsuit as settlement talks advance | News | aikenstandard.com

Feds, S.C. seek pause on plutonium fines lawsuit as settlement talks advance | News | aikenstandard.com: South Carolina and the federal government late last week asked a court to freeze an appeal made earlier by the state because the two parties are now engaged in promising

Judge upholds Virginia's uranium mining ban : Uranium & Fuel - World Nuclear News

Judge upholds Virginia's uranium mining ban : Uranium & Fuel - World Nuclear News: Virginia's 38-year-old moratorium on uranium mining will continue following a district court ruling in a case challenging its constitutionality. Virginia Uranium Inc first brought the state suit in 2015 in its effort to mine what it claims is the largest known uranium deposit in the USA.

Energoatom sees restoration of company charter : Corporate - World Nuclear News

Energoatom sees restoration of company charter : Corporate - World Nuclear News: Ukraine's Ministry of Energy has restored Energoatom’s ability to influence its own financial planning and the process of appointing a company president, in a newly approved corporate charter that has been submitted for state registration. The state-run nuclear power plant operator had started legal action to force the move before its dialogue with the ministry was resumed.

Kazatomprom uranium miners set to return to work : Uranium & Fuel - World Nuclear News

Kazatomprom uranium miners set to return to work : Uranium & Fuel - World Nuclear News: Kazakhstan's JSC National Atomic Company Kazatomprom plans to return staffing levels at its uranium mines to normal by around the end of this month. The number of employees at the mine sites was reduced between April and July in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus: Diablo Canyon power plant workers test positive | San Luis Obispo Tribune

Coronavirus: Diablo Canyon power plant workers test positive | San Luis Obispo Tribune: “We’ve not encountered any challenges to our business operations,” a PG&E spokeswoman said.

PG&E Launches New Financial Assistance Pilot for Eligible Customers Installing Home Battery Storage Systems | Business Wire

PG&E Launches New Financial Assistance Pilot for Eligible Customers Installing Home Battery Storage Systems | Business Wire: Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) today announced a new financial assistance pilot for residential customers installing home battery storage

EM Update August 4, 2020

Demolition of the Centrifuge Complex at Oak Ridge presented challenges due to the size and height of its structures. Some buildings stood 180 feet tall. That's too tall for conventional demolition equipment designed for buildings with a maximum height of 100 feet.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn.EM’s cleanup at the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) took a major step forward with removal of the Centrifuge Complex in late July.

EM is working to complete significant cleanup at ETTP this year — an EM 2020 priority — and tearing down the sprawling 235,000-foot complex marks one of the final demolition projects at the site.

“Completing this project brings us significantly closer to achieving our ambitious goal at ETTP,” said Jay Mullis, manager of DOE’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM). “Our employees have accomplished so much, and their hard work has resulted in an amazing, visible transformation that will benefit the community for years to come.”

The Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant, now called ETTP, was closed permanently in 1987. EM has been conducting large-scale demolition at the site since 2006, resulting in the removal of hundreds of old, contaminated facilities totaling more than 13 million square feet.

The Centrifuge Complex — one of the most recognizable structures in ETTP’s skyline — was built to develop, test, and demonstrate the capability of centrifuge technology for uranium enrichment. The last of these facilities ceased operation in the mid-1980s.


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The Centrifuge Complex was one of the most recognizable structures in the East Tennessee Technology Park’s skyline.


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A view of the Centrifuge Complex at the East Tennessee Technology Park as the initial stages of demolition began in fall 2019.


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A view of the Centrifuge Complex area after demolition was completed at the end of July 2020. Completion of this project brings EM significantly closer to completing its cleanup goal at the East Tennessee Technology Park, an EM 2020 priority.


OREM and its cleanup contractor UCOR began tearing down the Centrifuge Complex in October 2019. This task presented challenges due to the structures’ size and height. Some buildings stood at 180 feet in height, which is too tall to be knocked down by conventional demolition equipment.

The Centrifuge Complex contained four major sections. The K-1004-J lab section was an original Manhattan Project facility built for research and development in 1944. The K-1200 section, known as the Advanced Machine Development Laboratory and Component Preparation Laboratory, was used from 1975 to 1985 to develop machines and manufacturing processes for centrifuges.

The K-1210 section was referred to as Component Test Facility and Advanced Equipment Test Facility. It operated from 1975 to 1985 to test the reliability and operability of centrifuge machines. The facility also served as a pilot plant for testing feed, withdrawal, and depleted uranium hexafluoride transfer systems.

The fourth section — the K-1220 Complex Centrifuge Plant Demonstration Facility — was used from 1981 to 1985 primarily to test production centrifuges to be used in the Gas Centrifuge Enrichment Plant.

OREM and UCOR are working together to transform ETTP into a multi-use industrial park, national park, and conservation area for the community. That vision has already started to become a reality. OREM has transferred almost 1,300 acres at ETTP for economic development, with another 600 acres slated for transfer in the years ahead. OREM has also set aside more than 100 acres for historic preservation and placed more than 3,000 acres in conservation for community recreational use.

-Contributor: Wayne McKinney



Hanford Tank Waste Pretreatment System on Schedule

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Hanford Site federal, state, and contractor officials recently broke ground to place a 1,600-foot waste-transfer pipeline that will feed waste pretreated by the Tank-Side Cesium Removal System from the site’s tank farms to the nearby Low-Activity Waste Facility at the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant for vitrification. Pictured from left are Alex Smith, manager of the Department of Ecology’s Nuclear Waste Program; Brian Vance, manager of the EM field offices at Hanford; and John Eschenberg, president and CEO of Hanford tank operations contractor Washington River Protection Solutions.


RICHLAND, Wash. – Observing COVID-19 safety protocols, workers recently started construction of concrete pads that will hold a waste pretreatment system vital to the Hanford Site cleanup mission.

The concrete pads are located next to the underground tank storage area called AP Tank Farm and will hold the Tank-Side Cesium Removal system. The system will pretreat tank waste for vitrification at the nearby Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant’s Low-Activity Waste Facility.

Hanford tank operations contractor Washington River Protection Solutions worked with subcontractor AVANTech to design and fabricate the cesium removal system at an offsite facility. Testing this spring confirmed mechanical, electrical, and instrument systems work properly, and the system removes radioactive cesium and solids as intended.

“Completing acceptance testing was the culminating achievement of 18 months of design and fabrication,” said Janet Diediker, acting federal project director for the EM Office of River Protection. “Kudos to the tank operations contractor and its subcontractor on achieving this major success while observing pandemic safety requirements.”

The pretreatment system is a key component of the treatment of tank waste using the Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste (DFLAW) approach, which will send the pretreated waste directly from the tank farms to the Low-Activity Waste Facility for vitrification. Progress on the project supports EM’s 2020 priority of completing DFLAW construction and turnover for commissioning.

“The cesium removal system is a critical part of the approach to treat low-activity tank waste,” said Kim Smith, the contractor’s project manager for demonstration of the cesium removal system. “The teams put in a lot of hard work to take this from concept to design to reality, and we’re confident of the result.”


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Workers have successfully tested a new pretreatment system for tank waste at the Hanford Site and will move the Tank-Side Cesium Removal system to concrete pads next to underground waste tanks in the AP Tank Farm later this summer.


The system process enclosure holds two filters for straining out solids and three ion exchange columns for removing cesium from tank waste. During acceptance testing, the team ran simulated waste through the system to test operating conditions. Workers will move the system components from the AVANTech facility to the new concrete pads later this summer, with additional onsite testing to follow.

During pretreatment operations, tank waste will flow through the columns at about five gallons per minute. A double-shell tank at the AP Tank Farm will store the pretreated waste until it is fed via underground piping to the Low-Activity Waste Facility, where it will be vitrified — heated to 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit, mixed with glass-forming materials, and poured into stainless steel containers for disposal.

During testing of the pretreatment system, the team also demonstrated the removal and installation of the ion exchange columns using a forklift. Forecasted to be full every 25 days, the ion exchange columns will weigh about 26,000 pounds each when replaced by the system operator teams. These “spent” columns will be placed on a nearby concrete pad — also under construction — for interim storage.

Familiarization and training of both maintenance workers and cesium removal system operators has recently begun to prepare for the full activation of the new system.

-Contributor: Hal McCune



ETEC Demolitions On Track After Crews Tear Down Seven Buildings

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A crew tears down an equipment storage building at the Radioactive Materials Handling Facility complex at the Energy Technology Engineering Center.


SIMI VALLEY, Calif. – Exceptional progress continues at the Energy Technology Engineering Center (ETEC) in Ventura County, California with the successful demolition of seven buildings at the Radioactive Materials Handling Facility (RMHF) complex since July 21.

That was the date crews at the former nuclear and liquid metals research site resumed active cleanup at the site. They safely demolished four buildings in the first week, and knocked down three more structures by the end of the subsequent week, include an oxidation facility, storage yard building, and an equipment storage building.

“I’m proud of our team as they continue to exceed expectations on safety and timing for the RMHF demolition and disposal of materials,” said ETEC Federal Project Director John Jones, who is leading the effort for EM.

Removing the RMHF facilities, a set of 10 buildings constructed in 1959 and used for the processing, packaging, and shipment of radioactive and mixed hazardous wastes during site operations that ended in 1988, will reduce potential risk of release of hazardous substances due to wildfires or erosion from severe storms.

The next phase of work is expected to start in late August and includes demolition of the three remaining buildings at the RMHF complex.

The RMHF complex demolition and removal of debris is on track and scheduled to take approximately six months. Activities are being conducted under a 2020 agreement between the DOE and the State of California, and in adherence to safety practices recommended to protect workers from exposure to the coronavirus. Debris from the cleanup is being transported outside the State of California for disposal at licensed commercial disposal facilities.

ETEC, located in Area IV of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, served as a premier research facility from the 1950s until the end of active operations. Since the 1980s, more than 250 structures on the site have been demolished and removed. After workers finish demolishing the three remaining RMHF complex buildings, only eight DOE structures will remain.

-Contributor: Stephanie Shewmon



SRS Crews Build Second Water Line to Support Salt Waste Processing Facility

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Trucks carrying waste containers leave the West Valley Demonstration Project in late July en route to an offsite disposal facility. Pictured in the background is the Main Plant Process Building, which is set for demolition this year. Demolishing that facility is an EM 2020 priority.

WEST VALLEY, N.Y.EM West Valley Demonstration Project (WVDP) crews resumed waste disposal shipments in late July as part of cleanup efforts after the site moved into the second phase of its operations plan in response to COVID-19.

The waste being shipped is from the demolition of a former utility building that began in July. The 6,955-square-foot building is an ancillary structure to the Main Plant Process Building, the last remaining major facility at the West Valley site. Teardown of the Main Plant is among EM’s 2020 priorities.

Waste disposition is the final step in the completion of deactivation and decommissioning (D&D) of onsite structures. WVDP stopped shipments in March after D&D activities were put on hold due to COVID-19.

WVDP’s second phase of its operations plan in response to COVID-19 adds high-priority operations and activities to those authorized in the first phase. The additional activities in the second phase call for use of more personal protective equipment and other health and safety precautions while workers continue to follow social distancing guidelines and other controls.

“The protection of our workers, the public, and the environment remains our priority as we resume operations at the site,” EM WVDP Director Bryan Bower said. “The resumption of waste shipments is another accomplishment the WVDP team can be proud of as we safely and compliantly continue with our resumption-of-work plan.”

Debris generated from the demolition of the former utility building is expected to fill about 75 waste containers. The waste is being sent to an out-of-state disposal facility.

“Our team members continue to use their combined knowledge to safely resume work during this challenging time,” said John Rendall, president of WVDP cleanup contractor CH2M HILL BWXT West Valley. “I’m proud of their efforts and accomplishments, and the work they continue to do on this project.”

-Contributor: Joseph Pillittere 



EM Joins U.S.-Japan Workshop on Potential Decommissioning Collaborations

DOE officials were among the more than 170 government and industry representatives who explored potential collaborations between the U.S. and Japan in a workshop held virtually last week.

It was the second U.S.-Japan workshop held online this year focusing on decommissioning work in Japan. The latest event was hosted by Japan’s Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry and supported by EM’s Office of Intergovernmental and Stakeholder Programs.

“The information shared by the presenters, for example, on the decommissioning timelines and Japan’s decommissioning implementation plan, should provide a basis for potential meaningful interactions,” DOE Chief Risk Officer James Owendoff said.

Participants discussed possible collaborations in Japan, including decommissioning commercial reactors not affected by the Fukushima Daiichi accident, regulatory aspects of decommissioning in both countries, and stakeholder engagement challenges. The workshop was designed to help participants understand decommissioning models in both countries.

Workshop speakers included officials from Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission as well as representatives from U.S. companies Amentum and EnergySolutions, and Japanese companies Toshiba and Kajima.



Council Honors EM Sites, Contractors for Purchasing Sustainable Products

Several EM sites and contractors across the DOE complex were recognized last week for their efforts to purchase products that protect the environment, conserve energy, and reduce costs.

The Green Electronics Council and managers of the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) named 2020 EPEAT Purchaser Award winners representing the Hanford, Portsmouth, Paducah, Oak Ridge, and Moab sites. EPEAT is a ranking system that helps companies compare and select environmentally friendly office equipment. Ranking criteria includes greenhouse gas emissions, hazardous waste production, and total energy usage.

For the fourth straight year, the council awarded Hanford Site contractors CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company, HPMC Occupational Medical Services, Mission Support Alliance (MSA), Washington River Protection Solutions, and Wastren Advantage for their efforts to protect the environment by using sustainable electronics.

“Congratulations to all of the Hanford contractors who were a part of this award,” said Jeff Frey, EM Richland Operations Office assistant manager for mission support. “The continued recognition of the Hanford Site is further validation of our ongoing efforts to reduce our environmental impact.”

As Hanford’s site services provider, MSA tracks the purchase of electronic products for use by all contractors at the site.

“These kind of partnerships with the other contractors are important in accomplishing DOE’s goal of protecting the environment,” said Todd Eckman, MSA vice president for information management. “Congratulations to all of the contractors for their efforts to help Hanford achieve this award.”

In fiscal 2019, 97.5 percent of the electronics purchased by Hanford contractors met the EPEAT standard. Environmental benefits of these purchases include:

  • Reduced use of primary materials, including oil, iron, and wood by an estimated 323 metric tons.
  • Reduced hazardous waste by 2.6 metric tons.
  • Reduced solid waste by 19 metric tons.
  • Saved more than 1.4 million kilowatt hours of electricity — enough to power 121 average-sized homes for a year.

The council also honored EM West Valley Demonstration Project cleanup contractor CH2M HILL BWXT West Valley (CHBWV). Among CHBWV’s achievements in 2019:

  • Purchased 2,903 EPEAT-registered products, leading to a cost savings of more than $116,000 over the lifetime of the products.
  • Reduced greenhouse gases by 702,139 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalents, similar to removing 150 average U.S. passenger cars from the roads for a year.
  • Saved 1,472 megawatt hours of electricity, comparable to the annual electricity consumption of 121 average U.S. households.

“Sustainability in electronics purchasing is part of our commitment to be good stewards of the environment,” EM WVDP Director Bryan Bower said. “Environmental stewardship is the right thing to do, and it helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption, and saves money for taxpayers and the government.”

EM WVDP Regulatory Strategy and Environmental Compliance Team Lead Moira Maloney said the site’s regulatory strategy and procurement teams do an excellent job preparing requests for proposals that obtain the best results for WVDP’s electronics sustainability goals.

“They are always finding creative ways to proceduralize these initiatives to ensure the best results from qualified subcontractors and suppliers. It is truly a team effort,” Maloney said.

East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP), which is managed by Oak Ridge cleanup contractor UCOR, was recognized for the 508 EPEAT-registered products it purchased in 2019, representing a cost savings of $24,655 over the lifetime of the products. This is the sixth consecutive year ETTP has received the award.

UCOR uses EPEAT in purchasing contracts to require that vendors only provide electronics that meet strict sustainability criteria. These products are more energy efficient, less toxic, longer lasting, and easier to recycle than products that do not meet EPEAT criteria.

“It’s an honor to win this award,” said David Buhl, UCOR pollution prevention and waste minimization coordinator. “While DOE requires us to make sustainable electronics purchases, it’s something that UCOR has done for a number of years already and it’s just the right thing to do.”

The council also honored the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PGDP), which purchased 246 EPEAT-registered products in 2019, resulting in a cost savings of $9,981 across the lifetime of the products. In 2019, the site also:

  • Reduced greenhouse gases by 54,149 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalents, similar to taking 12 average U.S. passenger cars from the roads for a year.
  • Saved 209 megawatt hours of electricity, comparable to the annual electricity consumption of 17 average U.S. households.

"Practicing sustainable purchasing moves us closer to achieving a shared vision of minimizing DOE’s environmental impact," said Jeff Bettinger, EM’s Portsmouth site lead with the Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office. "The Portsmouth Site is proud to have received this recognition and is committed to continued procurement of sustainable electronics."

EPEAT Purchaser Award winner Swift & Staley, a Paducah Site contractor, purchased 1,055 EPEAT-registered products in 2019. That will bring a cost savings of $24,059 over the lifetime of those products. Among Swift & Staley’s achievements in 2019:

  • Reduced greenhouse gases by 161,986 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalents, similar to removing 35 average U.S. passenger cars from the roads for a year.
  • Saved 245 megawatt hours of electricity, comparable to the annual electricity consumption of 20 average U.S. households.

The council also recognized the Moab Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action Project.



Updated Agenda Available for Virtual 2020 National Cleanup Workshop

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EM Update | Vol. 12, Issue 20 | Aug. 4, 2020

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West Valley Resumes Shipments of Deactivation and Demolition Waste

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An updated agenda is now available for the 2020 National Cleanup Workshop, which will take place as a virtual half-day event on Sept. 16, 2020. The workshop will feature remarks from Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar and senior DOE officials, state and local government officials, and industry leaders. They will discuss key issues facing the DOE complex in the year ahead and celebrate important progress made this year.

Last year, workshop participants celebrated 30 years of EM’s cleanup program. This year’s agenda will focus on continuing success and overcoming adversity with moderated discussions about the path forward for EM’s strategic vision, EM hot topics, and contracting updates.

Click here to view the updated agenda. For more information, please click here.

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