March 29, 2018
The Pipe Crawler, which can be activated by a smart phone, can travel through the air supply line that leads to the central plenum of the tanks at Hanford. This robot, featured at the Waste Management Symposia 2018, provides information regarding the health of the tank floor around the center of the tank. The crawler’s movement mimics that of an inchworm and can navigate through several 90-degree elbows, reducers, and vertical runs. It also houses a camera for video feedback.
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February 26, 2018
Researchers from the Applied Research Center (ARC) at Florida International University (FIU) are continuing their efforts to collect timeseries data from the Tims Branch watershed at Savannah River Site (SRS) in support of ongoing surface water and contaminant transport modeling research being performed at FIU. Two DOE Fellows, Ron Hariprashad and Juan Morales, who are both FIU graduate students participating in the DOE-FIU Science and Technology Workforce Development Program, successfully deployed two HOBO RX3000 3G remote monitoring stations which record streamwater data that can be translated into flow rates. One unit was installed along the A-014 outfall tributary near its confluence with the main Tims Branch stream, and a second unit was installed downstream of Steed Pond along Tims Branch near its confluence with Upper Three Runs.
Ron, who participated in a student internship at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory (SREL) in the summer of 2017 and plans to develop a hydrological model of surface water-groundwater interaction in the Tims Branch watershed as part of his master’s thesis, stated upon his return to FIU, “I believe this was a very successful trip. Everything was on point, from planning to execution.” The success of this effort was in large part due to the support and collaboration of Dr. John Seaman and his research team at SREL, Dr. Brian Looney from the Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) and all of the SRS site personnel who assisted with security clearance, permits and RADCON escort.
Juan, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in environmental health sciences, also collected water samples for water quality analysis which will support ongoing monitoring of the Tims Branch system following the implementation of a tin-based remediation technology to address historical low-level mercury contamination in the stream. The water quality data will be used for development and calibration of the contaminant transport component of the model being developed by FIU. Although historical data was available for preliminary development of the flow model, several data gaps were encountered. In order to improve the accuracy of the model, FIU has deployed the HOBO units which will provide near real-time data in an attempt to capture the effect of extreme hydrological events on the stream flow and pollutant transport. Utilization of Tims Branch as a test bed to develop a numerical modeling tool to evaluate hydrological impacts on the fate and transport of major contaminants of concern (e.g., Hg, U, Ni, radionuclides) will be beneficial to SRS, particularly if the tool developed can be applied to other streams at SRS as well as other DOE EM sites.
For additional information, contact Dr. Leonel Lagos (Principal Investigator) at (305) 348-1810 or email@example.com.
Download article: SRNL-L7100-2018-0001
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February 26, 2018
on the initial success from the recent publication of two new international
standard specifications for fixatives in July 2017, DOE EM and ASTM
International’s E10.03 Subcommittee have embarked on an aggressive strategy to
address shortfalls in uniform testing protocols specifically designed to
provide a set of accepted tools to evaluate and compare the operational
performance of fixative technologies under a variety of safety basis scenarios.
As highlighted by Mr. Andrew Szilagyi, Director for DOE EM’s Office of
Infrastructure and D&D, “There is general acceptance by the community on
the utility of fixatives to immobilize residual contamination and mitigate risk
during D&D activities, but a more formal process needs to be available for
site personnel and regulators to confirm their capabilities. Uniform standards
can play a significant role in this effort.” Researchers from SRNL and Florida
International University’s Applied Research Center (FIU ARC) are also exploring
avenues to better leverage and more fully integrate the standards development
process, and have suggested this initiative could also serve as the basis for
updating the DOE handbook titled, Airborne Release Fractions/Rates and
Respirable Fractions for Nonreactor Nuclear Facilities (DOE-HDBK3010-94,
December 1994), a guiding document in how fixative technologies are credited
towards the source term formula. The source term formula is used to determine
quantities of radioactive material that could potentially be driven airborne
for the purpose of estimating the scope of a potential release from a given
facility or activity. The FIU research efforts are being conducted as part of a
Cooperative Agreement (CA) between the DOE EM and FIU ARC.
The vision of the E10.03 Subcommittee is to promulgate
operationally relevant, uniform testing protocols that can be leveraged by the
various technology innovation and development programs across the nuclear
environmental management community, and support decision makers and end users
with common references in the selection and employment of those standards and
associated technologies. The Subcommittee is initiating the development of
standardized testing protocols for: 1) Determining a fixative’s ability to
immobilize radioactive contamination and measuring its impacts on airborne
release fractions (ARF) and respirable fractions (RF) in the source term
formula when exposed to thermal and seismic stressors, and; 2) Determining the
decontamination factor (DF) of strippable coatings on various substrates. Both
of these objectives are directly aligned with and support DOE EM’s
incombustible fixatives research need, and based on significant feedback
received from the sites and national labs, have been integral in facilitating
the introduction of a designated intumescent coating technology into a
The ASTM International E10.03 Subcommittee will continue
pursuing further testing protocol and standards development for fixatives and
other technology categories associated with D&D, creating consensus based
standards for D&D technologies that are not only aligned with technical
specifications, but also account for the safety, regulatory, and operational
requirements encountered during D&D activities. Addressing existing
shortfalls through standards will provide credibility, yield a significant
return on investment and allow all types of D&D technologies (robotics,
fixatives, characterization, decontamination, demolition, etc.) to be developed,
tested, evaluated and compared to a set of uniformly accepted metrics.
For additional information, contact Mr. Joseph Sinicrope (Research Scientist, FIU ARC) at (305) 348-0084 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Dr. Leonel Lagos (Principal Investigator, FIU ARC) at (305) 348-1810 or email@example.com.
Download article: DOE EM and ASTM Build on Successful Initiative – Final
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February 05, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $35 million for 24 projects to support early-stage, innovative technologies and solutions in advanced manufacturing. These projects were selected under an Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Advanced Manufacturing Office funding opportunity, focused on advanced materials, advanced processes, and modeling and analysis tools for materials and manufacturing.
This funding opportunity allows selected projects to perform early-stage research and development (R&D) of new, advanced manufacturing technologies as well as encourage R&D contributions from new partners. Successful projects will reduce technical uncertainty and develop new knowledge associated with potential breakthrough materials, processes, and tools for U.S. manufacturers that could improve their competitiveness and enhance their energy efficiency.
The selected projects vary in levels of maturity and industry-readiness – from concept definition (focused on specific experimental proof or detailed analysis) to proof-of-concept (requiring physical experimental validation). As a result, proposed funding levels and project durations are tailored to the workscopes necessary to advance the technologies to the proposed readiness levels. Individual awards vary between $250,000 and $2.5 million.
The list of selected projects are below:
AK Steel Corporation
Argonne National Laboratory
Bio2Electric, LLC d.b.a. EcoCatalytic Technologies
Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois
Boston Electrometallurgical Corporation
Colorado State University
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Energy & Environmental Research Center
FeNix Magnetics, Inc.
Idaho National Laboratory
Iowa State University
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Michigan State University
Saint-Gobain Ceramics and Plastics, Inc.
Solar Turbines Incorporated
Starfire Industries LLC
United Technologies Research Center
University of California: Los Angeles
University of Maryland: College Park
University of Texas at Dallas
Zyvex Labs, LLC
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August 10, 2017
15 ideas have been shortlisted in a £3 million competition to find new ways of cleaning up one of the UK’s largest nuclear hazards.
The shortlisted entries, many of which come from companies that have never worked in the nuclear industry before, now have around 3 months to develop their ideas for a chance to move on to the next stage. They’ll start fleshing out their concepts on how to safely dismantle a large number of highly radioactive rooms or ‘cells’ at Europe’s most complex nuclear site, Sellafield in Cumbria.
Cutting edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, robots, drones and lasers are being proposed as ways of cleaning up Sellafield in Cumbria - Europe’s most complex nuclear site.
Melanie Brownridge, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s (NDA) Head of Technology, said:
This competition is an amazing opportunity for creative, forward-thinking and innovative companies to collaborate and come up with cutting-edge solutions for cleaning up some of the UK’s most complex nuclear sites.
The competition, which is being run by the NDA, and the UK government’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, is awarding an initial £750,000 to a shortlist of 15 newly formed consortia to help them develop their ideas. Full details remain under commercial wraps but more will be revealed when the winners are picked at the end of the year and begin to build prototypes, supported by the remaining funds.
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August 04, 2017
Dear D&D Community,
On July 24, 2017, ASTM International’s E10 Committee on Nuclear Technology and Applications published two new international standard specifications for fixative technologies that aim to immobilize radioactive contamination, minimize worker exposure, and protect uncontaminated areas against the spread of radioactive contamination during the decommissioning of nuclear facilities.
The first specification (E 3104-17, Specification for Strippable & Removable Coatings to Mitigate Spread of Radioactive Contamination) establishes performance specifications for a coating that is intended to be removable during subsequent decontamination operations. The second specification (E 3105-17, Specification for Permanent Coatings Used to Mitigate Spread of Radioactive Contamination) is for coatings that are intended to be permanent, non-removable, long-term material for fixing contamination in place during decommissioning.
The E10 Committee, through the E10.03 Subcommittee on Radiological Protection for Decontamination and Decommissioning of Nuclear Facilities and Components, has moved forward with creating consensus based standards for D&D technologies that are not only aligned with technical specifications, but also account for the safety, regulatory, and operational requirements encountered during D&D activities. The intent is to promulgate relevant, uniform testing protocols that can be leveraged across the nuclear environmental management community, and support decision makers and end users with common references in the selection and employment of those standards and associated technologies.
The E10 Committee and its associated Subcommittees is comprised of approximately 130 international members from government, research laboratories, academia, and the private sector, and employs a collaborative process that bridges organizational boundaries and cultures to achieve consensus on industry standards for uniform testing and evaluation of technologies and processes. As this effort expands, the ASTM International E10.03 Subcommittee will be pursuing further testing protocol and standards development for not only fixatives, but other technology categories associated with D&D as well, and highly encourages other interested members from the international D&D community to join.
Updates on this process will be provided via the D&D Knowledge Management Information Tool (D&D KM-IT), a community-driven website available athttps://www.dndkm.org
Research Scientist, D&D Technology Development, Testing, and Evaluation in support of DOE Environmental Management Cooperative Agreement
Chairman, ASTM International E10.03 Subcommittee on Radiological Protection for Decontamination and Decommissioning of Nuclear Facilities and Components
Applied Research Center
Florida International University
10555 W. Flagler St
July 17, 2017
Check out the
new project management lessons learned on the D&D Knowledge Management
Information Tool (D&D KM-IT). The Department of Energy, Office of
Environmental Management (EM),
Office of Project Assessment distributes “EM Project Management Lessons Learned” to highlight specific lessons learned applicable to many projects and to solicit future lessons learned from project teams willing to share their experiences. These documents have now been added to D&D KM-IT for easy access.
June 29, 2017
The German government has reached an agreement with GNS Gesellschaft für Nuklear-Service mbH on transferring GNS's interim storage activities. Under legislation that came into force last December, the government assumed responsibility for the intermediate storage and final disposal of the country's radioactive waste.
In March, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) and GNS established the Bundes Gesellschaft für Zwischenlagern (BGZ) joint venture for this purpose. GNS itself is a joint venture set up in 1974 by German utilities for the management of used fuel and nuclear waste from German power reactors.
GNS announced yesterday it has now reached an agreement with BMUB for the transfer of its share in BGZ. As from 1 August this year, the federal government will become the sole owner of BGZ.
As part of the agreement, GNS will transfer its interim storage activities to the government, including the existing central interim storage facilities in Ahaus and Gorleben. Some 80 GNS employees at both sites will be transferred to BGZ, while around 70 GNS employees at its headquarters in Essen will become responsible for the administration of BGZ.
The management of 12 on-site interim storage facilities at German nuclear power plants will also be transferred to the federal government starting in 2019, GNS said.
GNS chairman Hannes Wimmer said, "We are pleased that our interim storage organisation, which has been tried and tested for more than two decades, is the seed of the new federal interim storages company. This means not only the preservation of all existing GNS jobs involved in temporary storage, but also ensures our comprehensive competence for the continued operation and organisation of all German interim storage facilities with radioactive waste from German nuclear power plants."
PreussenElektra GmbH chairman Guido Knott, also chairman of GNS's supervisory board, said: "By transferring the interim storage activities of GNS and, subsequently, the on-site interim storage facilities to the government, German energy suppliers are making an important contribution to the reorganisation of the responsibility for radioactive waste disposal." He added, "With the other core competences of GNS - ranging from container development and fabrication to disposal services - the new GNS, government and operators will continue to be committed and highly professional."
Following the Fukushima accident in March 2011, the government of German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the withdrawal of the operating licences of eight German nuclear power plants and revived plans to phase out nuclear power by 2022.
In October 2016, the German cabinet adopted a draft bill on financing the decommissioning of the country's nuclear power plants and management of its radioactive waste. The bill came into force in December. Under the draft, the reactor owners involved - EnBW, EOn, RWE and Vattenfall - must pay some €23.6 billion ($25.7 billion) into a state-owned fund for decommissioning of the plants and managing radioactive waste. The amount includes a 35.5% risk premium which exempts them from having to make any additional contributions to the fund.
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June 29, 2017
An emergency was declared yesterday, Tuesday, at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Eastern Washington State after the roof of an old abandoned tunnel, built in 1956, collapsed. The tunnel had been used to store radiologically-contaminated equipment and materials used in the Cold War from 1956 to 1988.
Figure Caption: The Plutonium Uranium Extraction Plant (PUREX plant) at DOE’s Hanford Site in Washington State, where a collapse in Tunnel 1 triggered an emergency response. No contamination was released so far, and none is likely.
An aerial survey mid-morning on Tuesday showed an opening about 20 feet by 20 feet into the tunnel. Technically, the breach of the tunnel could expose some of the radioactive material in the tunnel to the atmosphere.
However, no contamination was released so far, and none is likely. No workers were injured and everyone has been accounted for. Radiological surveys are continuing.
On the other hand, the tunnel collapse triggered an emergency response on site and in the nearby community, as it’s supposed to do.
DOE Secretary Perry said the Department of Energy is closely following the situation. DOE quickly notified Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, who also got a call from the White House.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) said she sent her “deepest appreciation to the first responders who are on the scene and all those who are working very hard to figure out the situation on the ground.”
In fact, the incident made for an excellent spur-of-the-moment safety drill for the entire region, both on the Hanford Site itself, as well as in the nearby towns. Everything seems to have gone as planned, and everyone should get an A+.
As discussed in the excellent reporting by the local newspaper, the Tri-City Herald, the Hanford Emergency Center was activated at 8:26 AM and the Hanford Fire Department was quickly on scene. Radiological surveys began immediately.
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June 29, 2017
PIKETON, Ohio – The Department of Energy Portsmouth Site and cleanup contractor Fluor-BWXT Portsmouth (FBP) recently finished deactivating the first floor unit of the X-326 Gaseous Diffusion Process Building, a milestone in preparing the cell for demolition.
“The levels of skill and effort being invested in this project are showing positive returns as we reach this milestone safely and on schedule,” said Robert Edwards, manager of EM’s Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office (PPPO).
"Our goal is to keep this momentum while getting the remainder of X-326 ready for demolition and further advancing the deactivation of the next process building, the X-333.”
Deactivating a facility involves removing hazardous and radioactive materials, verifying that criticality is not possible, and de-energizing and disconnecting nonessential systems. Deactivation of cell floor unit 25-6 came after five and a half years of work that included improvements to the nondestructive assay (NDA) program. NDA measures the quantities of uranium in pipes and equipment.
“Previously, we were doing quantitative NDA measurements, which isn’t necessary in all cases,” said Jeff Stevens, FBP’s deputy project manager.
“By using a systematic approach that focuses on scanning for ‘hot spots,’ NDA can finish its work faster, which allows us to move forward sooner.”
Covering more than 30 acres, the two-story X-326 is one of three massive Portsmouth buildings used for uranium enrichment for national defense beginning in 1954 and later for nuclear energy purposes until 2001. A unit in the building contains 20 cells, each of which includes 12 stages containing motors, compressors, converters and coolers.
FBP Process Building Deputy Director James Miller said the team surgically removed components and equipment from unit 25-6.
“Significant efforts during pre-job planning and excellent coordination among the multidisciplinary team ensured timeliness and superior safety performance,” Miller said.
Focus shifted to characterizing the building’s remaining bypass and auxiliary equipment after workers safely finished removing more than 7,000 components of process gas equipment in 2016.
PPPO Portsmouth Site Lead Joel Bradburne said EM is balancing resources between X-326 and X-333 while sequencing deactivation, demolition and waste disposal.
“By sharing resources that would otherwise be in standby, crews can keep working on schedule and under budget,” Bradburne said. “We’re gaining momentum on our deactivation work, and that means we’re gaining momentum on the overall D&D project.”
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