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D&D Industry News

Keep up with deactivation and decommissioning industry news and current events.

D&D KM-IT at Waste Management 2015

March 04, 2015

D&D KM-IT at Waste Management 2015 (WM2015) 
 Come learn about new developments and capabilities integrated into the D&D Knowledge Management Information Tool (http://www.dndkm.org) at our booth #733 in the exhibitor hall at Waste Management Conference 2015 in Phoenix, AZ from March 15-19, 2015. We also have a formal presentation in Session 067 on Tuesday, March 17, during the 1:30-5:00 pm session in Room #106B.

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Waste Management 2014
Exhibit Hall Reception​

Plan to attend a workshop on D&D KM-IT at our booth #733 on Monday, March 16, at 2:00, where we will conduct a demonstration of the D&D Knowledge Management Information Tool (D&D KM-IT), the web-based knowledge management information tool custom built for the D&D user community.

Come to our "one-on-one" demonstrations of D&D KM-IT being offered at our booth during exhibitor hall hours. The capabilities of the system will be demonstrated, showing the available features and newly added content of the D&D KM-IT, including over 350 newly added robotic technologies. The D&D KM-IT system was developed by Florida International University - Applied Research Center (FIU-ARC) in collaboration with the Department of Energy (DOE HQ).

Adoption of Protective Equipment for Use Inside 242-Z at Hanford’s Plutonium Finishing Plant Closure Project

February 24, 2015
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Workers from the Department of Energy’s Idaho and Hanford sites participate in a 2013 information exchange

The Plutonium Finishing Plant (PFP) was the primary facility for producing plutonium at Hanford from the 1940s to the 1980s and is nearing the final stages of cleanup, with the cleanup work now transitioning to some of the most complex and hazardous parts of the facility. One of those facilities is the Americium Recovery Facility (242-Z), which is part of PFP. The Americium Recovery Facility was left heavily contaminated following a 1976 accident, in which an ion exchange column tank burst, leaving the room highly contaminated, and few entries occurred over the years.

From 2009-2011, cleanup of the Plutonium Finishing Plant and 242-Z received a boost thanks to funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. CH2M HILL employees entered 242-Z and began large-scale demolition efforts. They removed two of five glove boxes and associated piping. During this time, employees used supplied air systems and conventional personal protective equipment (PPE). High airborne contamination levels and conventional PPE limited stay times. Improved worker protection and increased efficiency for this work was needed.

CH2M HILL assembled a team of PFP employees to research PPE options that would increase safety and efficiency at PFP, specifically inside 242-Z. The team represented a cross-section of PFP employees, including nuclear chemical operators, safety representatives, radiological control technicians, engineers and management. Upon learning of success performing similar high-hazard work at the Department of Energy’s Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project (AMWTP) in Idaho, the team visited that site for a two-day information exchange.

The workers at AMWTP use a respirator called PremAire®, supplied by Mine Safety Appliances, that is fitted with a vortex cooling tube. Employees wear that respirator inside a fully encapsulating suit made by Rich Industries. The equipment offered improved protection from higher chemical and radiological concentrations and reduced heat stress on workers through the use of a vortex cooling tube.

Training And Application

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A CH2M HILL employee trains on equipment inside a mockup of the Americium Recovery Facility
(242-Z) at the Hanford Site

PFP employees returned to Hanford, continued to evaluate the equipment and recommended its use inside 242-Z. CH2M HILL management concurred with the workers’ recommendations. In addition to procuring the suits and respirators, management purchased two Kaeser rotary screw breathing air compressors. None of this equipment had been used at Hanford before. Throughout the spring and summer of 2013, PFP workers developed advanced dress/undress training courses and trained coworkers on the equipment inside a full-scale replica of 242-Z, built at the Hanford Site’s HAMMER Training Center.

In September 2014, workers entered 242-Z for the first time since 2011 to begin the final work toward cleaning out that room and preparing it for demolition. Stay times in the area are longer due to the increased protection from the high radiation levels (derived air concentration, or DAC) levels and the lower temperatures within the suit, protecting employees from heat stress. 

MMore information
available at the following links

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A CH2M HILL employee wore specialized respiratory equipment and protective suits when entering one of the most hazardous rooms at the Hanford Site in September 2014, increasing protection from high radiation levels and heat stress.

Video: Workers prepare to safely enter one of the most hazardous rooms at the Hanford Site

Lessons Learned/Good Practice: Workers Refine New Equipment and Process Prior to Field Implementation

Kaeser Rotary Screw Air Compressors by Air Systems International

Rich Industries Level B Outer Protective Suits by Rich Industries, Inc.

PremAire® Respirator System by Mine Safety Appliance (MSA)


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Energy IG: Hundreds of contaminated, closed nuclear weapons facilities still need cleanup

February 25, 2015

Despite their increasing risk to people and the environment, hundreds of shuttered, contaminated facilities that used to produce nuclear weapons and conduct energy research are still years away from being cleaned up, the Energy Department's watchdog said in a recent report.

The inspector general said there are 234 facilities awaiting deactivation and decommissioning activities. It also identified an additional 140 facilities that will need to be addressed in the future. In the cleanup process, facilities are stabilized to reduce the risks to personnel and then ultimately decontaminated and dismantled.

But, as of last September, the department still hasn't established a schedule to transfer those facilities to its Office of Environmental Management, which has been responsible for cleanup of such facilities since 1989, the IG said in the Jan. 23 report (download pdf report).

Continue reading at http://www.fiercehomelandsecurity.com/story/energy-ig-hundreds-contaminated-closed-nuclear-weapons-facilities-still-nee/2015-01-30​

DoE’s Management of Excess Facilities Still Lacking

February 25, 2015

The Energy Department needs to do more to address potential health hazards to its employees and the public from contaminated facilities that are deteriorating now that they are no longer used, according to an IG report.

The report was a followup to a series of prior audits, including one issued last April, saying a number of National Nuclear Security Administration facilities categorized as excess or in shutdown mode are in poor condition and that the department lacked definitive plans for deactivation and decommissioning them.

The latest review found that “a definitive transfer schedule for the 234 contaminated excess facilities awaiting deactivation and decommissioning activities had not been established; many contaminated excess facilities continue to deteriorate and pose increasing risks to mission, workers, the public, and the environment; and at least 140 additional excess contaminated facilities had been identified” since the first inventory in 2009.

“According to Department officials, budget realities, including resource constraints and the unstable nature of the budget process, were key to the delays in advancing the deactivation and decommissioning program,” it said. The report added, though, that by waiting, the department is allowing the facilities to degrade even more, making remediation more difficult and expensive. It said some already are in such poor condition access by employees is prohibited.

The report stressed that inaction poses risks to health, safety and the environment and recommended that the department create a centralized roster of the facilities with the highest risk and address them in order, rather than relying on different components to identify and address their own facilities at risk.

More in: Federal Manager's Daily Report​

Surveyor robot checks pipework

December 19, 2014

​An inspection of an underground pipe at a US nuclear power plant has been successfully completed using GE Hitachi's Surveyor robot. Previously, such examinations have usually involved excavation work.

Plant inspectors normally use indirect methods to monitor buried pipework, such as running an electric current through them to identify corroded sections or using ultrasound technology to look for cracks because direct monitoring would require digging up the pipes to visually inspect them, which is a costly and time-intensive operation.

GE Hitachi (GEH) has announced its ultrasonic, self-propelled, articulated Surveyor robot has now been used to inspect the structural integrity of a section of underground pipe at the South Texas Project. Although already in use to check pipework in the oil and gas industry, GEH said this inspection marks the first deployment of the robot at a nuclear power plant.

The Surveyor robot - about 1.8 metres long - used a single access point to inspect a 9 metre length of an underground aluminium-bronze alloy service water pipe with a diameter of 15 cm. It first inspected a 3m vertical section before negotiating a 90-degree bend and then inspecting a 6m horizontal section.

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 A technician prepares the Surveyor robot for deployment in an underground pipe at South Texas Project (Image: GEH)​

The Surveyor robot features an umbilical cable which provides power and a live data feed to a control station. GEH says it can be used to inspect filled, partially-filled and drained pipes with a diameter of 15-120 cm.

GEH vice president of asset management services Richard Rossi said, "Underground pipes are a key component of nuclear power plants but are difficult to inspect and sometimes in accessible. This technology enables an entire length of underground pipe to be inspected without the risk and expense of excavation."

The above article was Researched and written by World Nuclear News​
Read original article at http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/RS-Surveyor-robot-checks-pipework-1012145.html​​

GE Hitachi Receives Federal Funds To Assess New Nuclear Technology

December 19, 2014

By J​enny Callison,

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) will perform a comprehensive safety assessment of its PRISM sodium-cooled fast nuclear reactor, thanks to a multi-million-dollar federal investment from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the company announced Thursday.

GEH officials are not sure yet of the exact amount of federal funds allocated to the project, company spokesman Jon Allen said Thursday.

This research investment by the DOE will enable Castle Hayne-based GEH to partner with the Argonne National Laboratory in developing up-to-date risk assessment methodologies for PRISM and then to perform the assessment, according to a news release from the company.

“It’s a regulatory requirement that we run a series of analyses that will demonstrate how PRISM’s safety systems are going to operate and interact in several different scenarios,” Allen said.

The technology on which PRISM is based was developed in the 1980s and, unlike other nuclear reactors, it can use spent nuclear fuel and surplus plutonium to generate electricity. Since the early 1990s, however, no risk assessments have been done on the technology.

Read full article at 

http://www.wilmingtonbiz.com/technology/2014/11/06/ge_hitachi_receives_federal_funds_to_assess_new_nuclear_technology/12531​​

DOE names new Richland operations manager

December 19, 2014

​The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced today the selection of Stacy Charboneau as the Manager of the Richland Operations Office (DOE-RL) at the Hanford Site in southwest Washington State. In this role, she will continue cleanup momentum along the Columbia River, help shrink the Department’s active cleanup footprint, and continue safe groundwater remediation and hazardous waste and facilities disposal operations across the Hanford Site. Charboneau has been the Acting Deputy Manager of RL since June 2014.

“Stacy is a talented and seasoned senior executive with tremendous technical and managerial expertise on all aspects of the Hanford cleanup,” said Mark Whitney, Acting Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management. “Her education, technical and programmatic expertise, and past experience make her uniquely qualified to lead the talented workforce responsible for completing the next and critical phase of the important RL cleanup work.”

Charboneau brings more than 20 years of Hanford experience from both RL and the Office of River Protection (DOE-ORP) and holds the highest project management certification level available in the Department.  She has held several key leadership positions, including Acting Deputy Manager and Assistant Manager for Safety and Environment at RL, ORP Deputy Manager and Chief Operating Officer, ORP Tank Farms Project Assistant Manager and RL Deputy Assistant Manager for River Corridor cleanup.  Before joining EM in 1994 as an engineer in the Waste Operations Division, Charboneau worked for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Keyport, Washington.  

RL is responsible for much of the cleanup of the 586-square-mile Hanford Site. In the first two decades of cleanup, RL has completed eighty percent of the cleanup activities along the Columbia River, moved all of the site’s 2,300 tons of spent nuclear fuel to dry storage away from the river, shipped all of the weapons grade plutonium once stored at the Plutonium Finishing Plant off the site, demolished 838 of 1,661 excess facilities, remediated 1,241 of 2,307 waste sites, placed five former plutonium production reactors in interim safe storage, and treated 11 billion gallons of contaminated groundwater. 

Driving Innovation at the National Labs

October 17, 2014

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Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Lab showcase innovation at their Vehicle Testing and Integration Facility. | Photo Courtesy of NREL.​

As electric vehicles become more affordable, as cars become lighter and more efficient, and as alternative fuels become more accessible, the way we get around is changing. The Energy Department’s 17 National Labs play a big role in researching and developing these transportation advancements, which are improving air quality, increasing energy security and creating new jobs.

Researchers are studying the benefits of charging electric vehicles wirelessly -- from reducing harmful emissions to enabling in-motion charging. Scientists at Oak Ridge National Lab have demonstrated a wireless charging unit with 85 percent efficiency, meaning only 15 percent of the energy from the grid service is lost in the transfer to the vehicle’s battery when charging wirelessly.

Meanwhile, the Department’s Joint Center for Energy Storage Research at Argonne National Lab is working to make large-scale improvements to battery technology to increase storage, decrease charging time and lower cost.

Continue reading at: http://www.energy.gov/articles/driving-innovation-national-labs​

U.S., Korea jointly work on prototype sodium-cooled fast reactor

October 17, 2014

​The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois teamed up with the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) to develop a prototype sodium-cooled nuclear fast reactor.

The 150-MW Prototype Generation IV Sodium-Cooled Fast Reactor (PGSFR) is an advanced sodium-cooled reactor that uses metal fuel, a fuel type first developed in tandem with the reactor technology by Argonne scientists between 1984 and 1994, according to Yoon Chang, Argonne Distinguished Fellow and PGSFR Project Manager. Metal fuel was first used in two experimental reactors at Argonne, Unit 1 at the Fermi nuclear plant in Michigan and the Dounreay nuclear plant in the UK. In the mid-1970s, there was a friendly competition between Russia, the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Japan to be the first country to develop a fast reactor based on Argonne's technology

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An artist's rendition of what the 150-MW PGSFR will look like. Courtesy: KAERI

Continue reading at


A Nanosized Hydrogen Generator Emerges

October 17, 2014

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Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have created a small scale “hydrogen generator” that uses light and a two-dimensional graphene platform to boost production of the hard-to-make element.

The research also unveiled a previously unknown property of graphene. The two-dimensional chain of carbon atoms not only gives and receives electrons, but can also transfer them into another substance.

Hydrogen is virtually everywhere on the planet, but the element is typically bonded with other elements and must be separated from oxygen in H2O to produce free hydrogen. The commercial separation process uses natural gas to react with superheated steam to strip away hydrogen atoms producing hydrogen fuel, but also carbon dioxide —a greenhouse gas byproduct which escapes into the atmosphere.

Argonne’s early-stage generator, composed of many tiny assemblies, is proof that hydrogen can be produced without burning fossil fuels. The scale is small, a little smaller than the diameter of spider silk. Scaling this research up in the future may mean that you could replace the gas in your cars and generators with hydrogen—a greener option, because burning hydrogen fuel emits only water vapor.

Continue reading at 

http://www.engineering.com/DesignerEdge/DesignerEdgeArticles/ArticleID/8554/A-Nanosized-Hydrogen-Generator-Emerges.aspx​​

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