The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) held an online briefing on nuclear energy issues, including the current economics of the U.S. nuclear power industry, how to approach decommissioning as more civilian reactors shut down, and what to do with their high-level radioactive waste. In particular, the briefing assessed the impacts of extending the licenses of existing nuclear plants and pursuing “advanced reactors” as a way to fight climate change. As U.S. nuclear plants age out or become unprofitable, the growing number of shuttered reactors has spawned a new decommissioning business model that promises to remediate sites quickly, but also raises new questions about safety, financial assurance, cleanup standards, and waste disposition. Decommissioning companies want to ship highly radioactive spent fuel through 75 percent of Congressional districts to their proposed consolidated interim storage facilities (CISFs) in New Mexico and Texas, which overburdened residents there oppose.
Environmental & Energy Study Institute 30th March 2021 read more »
A project to store high-level nuclear waste in southeast New Mexico was delayed as the federal government sought more answers from the company proposing to build and operate the facility as to its potential risk to human life. Holtec International proposed to build the consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) to temporarily hold spent nuclear fuel rods from generator sites across the country as a permanent repository was developed. Permanent, offsite disposal for high-level waste does not exist in the U.S. after such a project at Yucca Mountain in Nevada was blocked by state lawmakers. More: New Mexico files lawsuit to block Holtec nuclear waste facility, cites risk to oil and gas.
Albuquerque Journal 2nd April 2021 read more »
A sparking drum of nuclear waste at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) led to a temporary evacuation of a section of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant’s underground repository as officials investigated if any other drums of waste emplaced at WIPP posed a similar threat. Investigators later found no one was hurt and no radiation was released, according to a March 12 letter from the lab to the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) Hazardous Waste Bureau. The lab reported it happened as workers packed a drum of low-level transuranic (TRU) waste on Feb. 26 for delivery and disposal at WIPP. TRU waste is equipment, clothing materials and other items radiated during nuclear activities. During the packing process, two high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters were placed into a drum, followed by a “metal waste item,” read the letter from the lab. The item tore the bag containing the HEPA filters, and sparks were observed coming out of the container when the item contacted the filters.
Carlsbad Current Argus 31st March 2021 read more »
BWX Technologies (BWXT) announced today that it is continuing its groundbreaking Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) design, manufacturing development, and test support work for NASA. NTP is one of the technologies that is capable of propelling a spacecraft to Mars, and this contract continues BWXT’s work that began in 2017.
Space newsfeed 1st April 2021 read more »