The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

France’s costly and unsatisfactory efforts at dismantling nuclear reactors

Romandie 12th Jan 2018 [Machine Translation] Dismantling: in France, nuclear country, the task remains immense. EDF may well show international ambitions in terms of nuclear dismantling, the industry still has to prove itself in France, the world’s second largest producer of nuclear electricity, where the task remains immense and the delays numerous.

“We dismantle nine reactors in France We consider that our know-how can put us in a very good position to win real market share internationally,” assured AFP on Wednesday Sylvain Granger director of deconstruction projects at EDF. An ambition
“staggering” for Barbara Romagnan, former PS MP, author of a parliamentary report that highlighted in early 2017 the “underrated” costs and growing delays of these projects.

“None of these French reactors has yet been totally dismantled, even though they were closed between 1985 and 1997,”
she argues. Elsewhere in the world, seventeen reactor vessels (more than 100 MW) have been dismantled in the United States, Germany and Spain, according to the Institute for Radiation Protection and Safety (IRSN).

In Chooz, EDF’s most advanced site, located in the Ardennes, the dismantling of the tank, the ultimate and most delicate stage, began in 2017. But the cutting of the internal components of the tank was suspended after the contamination. in June, a Swedish employee from Westinghouse, to whom EDF subcontracted this operation, according to the French company. EDF
estimates at 79 billion euros the cost of dismantling all its reactors in France (including 18.5 billion spent fuel management), said Thursday the company that spoke in 2000 of 16 billion euros.


January 15, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, France | 1 Comment

Radiation problem so serious that Hanford Plutonium Plant demolition has been stopped

Regulators to DOE: No more Hanford demolition until we say it’s safe, BY ANNETTE CARY,, January 11, 2018, Hanford regulators have ordered the Department of Energy not to restart demolition of the nuclear reservation’s highly radioactively contaminated Plutonium Finishing Plant until regulators agree the work can be done safely.


January 13, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, incidents, USA | Leave a comment

South Korea hopes to make a profitable industry out of nuclear decommissioning

S. Korea strives to build up nuclear decommissioning industry, By Kim Eun-jung SEOUL, Dec. 8 (Yonhap) — South Korea will ramp up efforts to develop technologies related to nuclear decommissioning as the country’s oldest reactor is undergoing the lengthy, costly process of being dismantled, the energy ministry said Friday.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy launched a consultative body composed of state-run utilities, construction companies and research institutes to put concerted efforts toward developing the nation’s nuclear decommissioning industry,

The ministry said it aims to develop technologies needed to dismantle nuclear reactors by 2021 that will make such sites free of radioactive hazards and establish a research institute to pave the way for entering the global market by 2030…….

A total of 11 reactors will be retired one by one by 2030 as their operational life cycles expire as the government said it won’t extend their operation.

As part of the nuclear phase-out plan, the government is also pushing for an early closure of Wolsong-1, now the nation’s oldest operating reactor, as soon as possible.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), 34 nations have built 611 reactors and 449 were in operation as of April 2017. Among 160 reactors permanently shut down, the decommissioning process has been completed for 19.

December 9, 2017 Posted by | decommission reactor, South Korea | Leave a comment

Candu nuclear reactor to be buried.

Decommissioning of Candu protoype moves forward, WNN, 01 December 2017

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has extended the deadline for public comments on Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ (CNL) draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for decommissioning the country’s first ever nuclear power reactor by two weeks to 13 February. The Nuclear Power Demonstration (NPD) reactor was the prototype for the Candu reactor design……

CNL’s NPD Closure Project aims to safely carry out the decommissioning of the NPD facility and complete the closure of the site, using an in-situ approach. This would see the reactor systems and facility structure entombed in place using specially formulated grouts. The structure would then be capped with a reinforced concrete cap and covered with an engineered barrier. The decommissioned facility would be considered to be a licensed disposal facility under Canada’s Nuclear Safety and Control Act.

The CNSC is currently accepting public comments on CNL’s draft EIS for the project, which provides an analysis of potential environmental effects and measures to mitigate those impacts. The public comment period opened on 15 November and had originally been due to end on 29 January…..

December 2, 2017 Posted by | Canada, decommission reactor | Leave a comment

New decommissioning regulations released by USA’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Nuclear Regulatory Commission releases first step in new decommissioning regulations November 30, 2017 by Chris Galford The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) recently completed the regulatory basis it will use for the proposal of new decommissioning regulations for commercial nuclear power reactors next year. The NRC staff have determined that new regulations are necessary in a number of areas, including emergency preparedness, physical security, cyber security, drug and alcohol testing, training requirements for certified fuel handlers, decommissioning trust funds, financial protection requirements, indemnity agreements, and how the backfit rule is applied. Many of these revolve around the decommissioning process.

Not all of these require new rules, however. NRC staff has recommended that some are simply in need of updated guidance or inspection procedures. In the case of the management of spent fuel and environmental reporting, though, they have likewise recommended greater clarity among requirements. Staff in requirements, aging management of plant systems, structures, and components, as well as the active role state and local governments are expected to play in decommissioning scenarios, could all be affected.

This process of this new regulatory basis has been underway since November 2015, and the results are now publicly available.

December 1, 2017 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Dounreay fast nuclear reactor’s dome to be demolished

BBC 14th Nov 2017, Permission has been sought for major changes to the Dounreay nuclear power
complex, including the demolition of its landmark dome structure. A
planning application has been submitted to Highland Council for the
dismantling of the site’s reactors.

The application covers other work,
including construction of new buildings to store low level radioactive
waste. The waste is currently held in pits that are at risk of being
exposed due to coastal erosion. Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL)
has estimated that this could take from 800 to 3,000 years to happen, with
the radioactive material then being washed out into the North Atlantic.

Thebuildings to be demolished include the Dounreay Fast Reactor’s exterior
superstructure, also known as the sphere and the golf ball. It is a
landmark feature of the nuclear site on the Caithness coast, near Thurso.
The dome, like many other structures at Dounreay, was built in the 1950s.

November 16, 2017 Posted by | decommission reactor, UK | Leave a comment

A drone for Dounreay

BBC 10th Nov 2017, A drone is being used at a Scottish nuclear site for work that can involve
a risk of injury and cost thousands of pounds to be done by people. The
camera-equipped unmanned aerial vehicle is being flown on inspections of
Dounreay’s highest structures. Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL)
said it carries out about 50 such inspections every year. The nuclear power
site on the north Caithness coast near Thurso is in the process of being

November 13, 2017 Posted by | decommission reactor, UK | Leave a comment

Cost of decommissioning Pilgrim nuclear power station – $25 million a year

$25 million a year decommissioning fee proposed for Pilgrim nuclear plant  Andy Metzger, State House News Service, Nov 6, 2017 BOSTON — Without sufficient funds for safely decommissioning the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, the state could be left holding the proverbial (glowing) bag once the plant ceases operations, environmental activists warned lawmakers Monday, asking them to impose a $25 million annual fee on the station if it misses deadlines.

The plant is set to close in a year and a half and its owner, Entergy, said the timetable for completing the decommissioning five years after closing is unrealistic.

“Physically it’s impossible to decommission in five years,” Tom Joyce, a lobbyist for Entergy, told the Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy. The fuel that was delivered to the power plant on the Plymouth coast about six months ago is “very hot and being used now to fuel the reactor and produce electricity, which will stay in the pool and can’t be touched for five years,” Joyce said.

Pilgrim went into operation in 1972, and it has been a source of major safety concern for residents of the South Shore and Cape Cod, especially after the meltdown in Fukushima, Japan, demonstrated the devastation that can follow a nuclear disaster……..

The plant, which is rated one notch above the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s ranking of unacceptable, is set to close at the end of May 2019, and federal regulators will oversee the decommissioning process.

Pilgrim has a fund to pay for decommissioning that Joyce said stands at around $1 billion and anti-Pilgrim activists said was recently priced at about $960 million. Activists say that amount won’t be enough to cover the cost of safely securing the spent fuel and other decommissioning responsibilities.

Decommissioning Vermont Yankee, a smaller plant, had an estimated cost of $1.23 billion, according to Claire Miller, a community organizer for Toxics Action Center.

“If there’s not enough money the reactor could be mothballed for 60 years, and during that time obviously the workforce would be reduced to a skeleton [crew], offsite emergency planning would be eliminated, and offsite environmental monitoring eliminated or reduced,” Miller told the committee. “If Entergy … skips town, we are left holding the bag, along with lots of radioactive waste.”

Legislation filed by Plymouth Republicans Sen. Vinny deMacedo and Rep. Mathew Muratore would establish a Nuclear Power Station Post-Closure Trust Fund financed with $25 million annual payments by any nuclear plant that is not completely decommissioned five years after it stops making electricity. Pilgrim is the only remaining nuclear plant in Massachusetts.

“This is a detriment to our community,” deMacedo told the committee about the soon-to-be shuttered plant……

November 8, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

The global burden of nuclear decommissioning

TMR 3rd Nov 2017.Strict regulations pertaining to nuclear disaster are likely to have a core
impact on the growth of the global market for nuclear decommissioning
services, states TMR Research in a research report. The report has been
titled, “Nuclear Decommissioning Services Market – Global Industry
Analysis, Size, Share, Trends, Analysis, Growth, and Forecast 2017 –

Le Monde 4th Nov 2017, Europe faces the burden of nuclear decommissioning. In Germany and Italy,
as in France, the deconstruction of the reactors will spread over decades,
producing huge volumes of waste difficult to manage.

November 6, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, decommission reactor | Leave a comment

Kansai Electric Power Co. to permanently close 2 nuclear reactors in Fukui Prefecture

Oi nuclear reactors set to be decommissioned , Japan News , October 17, 2017 Kansai Electric Power Co. intends to decommission the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors at the Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture when the plant reaches 40 years of service in 2019, it has been learned.

KEPCO made the decision because the distinctive structure of the reactors’ containment vessels would require massive spending to apply safety measures that would meet the new standards set after the crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The power company is expected to make an official decision by the end of this year and submit an application to the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

Since the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, decisions have been made to decommission six nuclear reactors, not counting those at the Fukushima No. 1 plant. The Oi reactors will be the first large-scale reactors, with a maximum output of over 1 million kilowatts, to be decommissioned……..

The deadline for the Nos. 1 and 2 Oi reactors to apply for an operating period extension is approaching in 2018. With work to improve safety likely being a difficult challenge, KEPCO has no prospect of cutting back on the cost, which is expected to be over ¥100 billion. The company therefore gave up on restarting the reactors.

Tens of billions of yen are expected to be spent over 30 years to complete the decommissioning of the reactors, but that is still much cheaper than restarting them. …..

October 18, 2017 Posted by | decommission reactor, Japan | Leave a comment

Britain’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) likely to create a new agency, after cancelling Cavendish Fluor Partnership

FT 15th Oct 2017, Decommissioning Britain’s first generation of atomic reactors is likely
to be brought back “in-house” by the UK nuclear clean-up agency after
the collapse of a £6.2bn outsourcing contract that exposed “fundamental
failures” at the organisation.

Ministers have been considering whether
the work, involving 12 Magnox nuclear plants and research sites, should be
offered to another private contractor or run directly by the Nuclear
Decommissioning Authority. A final decision has not yet been made but
industry figures with knowledge of the process said the most likely outcome
was for the NDA to create a new subsidiary to take control of the Magnox
clean-up programme.

Such an outcome would bring an end to an embarrassing
episode in which Greg Clark, business secretary, in March cancelled a deal
with Cavendish Fluor Partnership, a joint venture between UK-based Babcock
International and Fluor of the US, at a cost of £122m to British

October 16, 2017 Posted by | decommission reactor, UK | Leave a comment

UK taxpayers forked out £122million for failed nuclear decommissioning deal

Nuclear Authority’s failure to carry out decommissioning deal cost taxpayer £122million
Energy Voice  by Reporter – 12/10/2017 Fundamental failures in awarding a £6.2 billion deal to decommission the UK’s ageing fleet of Magnox nuclear power stations cost the taxpayer £122 million, an official report has found.

The National Audit Office said the saga raised “serious questions” about the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s (NDA) understanding of procurement regulations.

The NDA ran a competitive procurement exercise for decommissioning services at 12 nuclear sites, resulting in the award of a 14-year contract for up to £6.2 billion, but the High Court found it had wrongly decided the outcome of the process.

The NDA agreed to settle claims in March 2017, the same month as the Government set up an inquiry into the Magnox contract.

Energy Solutions unsuccessfully bid for the contract, and later issued legal claims against the NDA for damages.

The High Court found that, had the NDA applied its evaluation criteria correctly, the winning bidder, Cavendish Fluor Partnership (CFP), would have been excluded from the competition.

The NDA agreed to settle legal claims with Energy Solutions and its consortium partner at the time of the bid, Bechtel, at a cost of £97.3 million.

It also spent £13.8 million on legal and external advisers, while in-house staff time cost £10.8 million.

Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, said: “The NDA’s fundamental failures in the Magnox contract procurement raise serious questions about its understanding of procurement regulations; its ability to manage large, complex procurements; and why the errors detected by the High Court judgement were not identified earlier…….

October 14, 2017 Posted by | decommission reactor, UK | Leave a comment

Scrutiny on Vermont Yankee’s radioactive clean-up plans

State troubled by Vermont Yankee rubble plan, Vt Digger, By Mike Faher, Oct 1 2017 BRATTLEBORO – State regulators and anti-nuclear activists are taking a stand against a proposal to reuse large amounts of Vermont Yankee’s concrete as fill when the plant is decommissioned.

The latest objections to the so-called “rubblization” plan come from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and the state Public Service Department. Officials want to know whether concrete from the retired nuclear plant is safe for burial on the Vernon property.

“We want to feel comfortable … that the material is truly clean,” said Chuck Schwer, director of the agency’s Waste Management and Prevention Division…….

The restoration of the Vermont Yankee site appears to be the biggest point of contention. At issue is how much NorthStar, after satisfying the NRC’s radiological cleanup requirements, will safely restore the site for future reuse……..

even after decommissioning, Vermont Yankee’s spent fuel will remain on site under 24-hour security surveillance until the federal government develops a central repository for high level nuclear waste.

“I wouldn’t say you wouldn’t be able to live there. I’m just not sure people would want to,” State said.

Whatever the property’s future, NorthStar’s plan to bury rubble on site is coming under intense scrutiny……..

Schwer told the advisory panel that, contrary to Entergy’s claims, the full extent of radiation contamination at Vermont Yankee remains a mystery. And officials say it’s not yet clear how NorthStar will address contamination before crushing and burying the concrete.

Schwer wrote in testimony filed with the utility commission that if tainted concrete is buried, “there is the potential that residual contamination could remain undetected below the surface, spread over time and pose a risk to public health and the environment.”……

October 2, 2017 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

V.C. Summer Nuclear Project Disarray – a $9 Billion Nuclear Scrapyard

$9 Billion Nuclear Scrapyard: New Aerial Photos of SCE&G’s Abandoned V.C. Summer Nuclear Project Reveal Disarray

Reactor Building and Components Left Unprotected; Most Cranes Removed, Friends of the Earth, 27 Sept 17  COLUMBIA, S.C. – Newly obtained aerial photographs of the abandoned V.C. Summer nuclear reactor construction site reveal that there is no protection of installed reactor components from the weather. (See notes on original  for links to photos.)

The photos provided to Friends of the Earth are being released in the middle of the political firestorm in South Carolina about the terminated project. It has become clear that South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) and its partner, Santee Cooper, withheld key information for years about the faltering project and were finally forced to simply walk away from on-going construction with no site shut-down plan in place.

The photos of the debacle, on which $9 billion was wasted, confirm that when work was abruptly halted on July 31, no preparation had been made to protect buildings and key components associated with reactor units 2 and 3. One existing reactor, visible in the photos, has operated at the site since 1982.

The photos, taken on September 18, reveal that nuclear reactor modules installed inside the open containment vessels are exposed to the weather. The partially finished ‘shield buildings,’ in which the reactors are located, lack roofs and sit fully exposed to the elements. Construction was only about 37% complete when the work was halted and had been continuing at a snail’s pace.

“Almost two months after the project was halted the V.C. Summer reactor construction site still looks like it was abruptly abandoned with no shut-down plan,” said Tom Clements, senior adviser to Friends of the Earth. “Not only was SCE&G grossly negligent during construction of the project, but the photos of the site reveal that the company also exhibited imprudent behavior in abandoning the project without proper closure plans. The forlorn site looks like a nuclear ghost town best suited for a Hollywood movie set,” added Clements. (Duke Energy’s abandoned nuclear reactor project in Cherokee County, South Carolina, was used as a set for the science fiction film The Abyss in 1989.)

Years of weathering will ravage the unprotected reactor components and partially constructed shield buildings and turbine buildings, according to Friends of the Earth. The turbine buildings, located adjacent to the reactors, sit without roofs and with open walls. A large number of white tent-like temporary buildings are visible and, according to information provided by site workers to Friends of the Earth, protect unused components. The short lifespan of the shelters will necessitate long-term plans if components are to be retained and not sold off.

The photos were taken by High Flyer, an anonymous pilot who for years has provided photos of V.C. Summer. The photos were taken in compliance with regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration and have been provided to Friends of the Earth for distribution in the public interest, including for regulators and law enforcement investigators. The photos can be used with credit to High Flyer (e.g. Courtesy of High Flyer © 2017). SCE&G has not provided photos of the abandoned site………

September 30, 2017 Posted by | decommission reactor, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Britain terminates nuclear decommissioning contract for Cavendish Fluor Partnership (CFP)

Reuters 29th Sept 2017, Britain’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has given a notice of
termination to Cavendish Fluor Partnership (CFP) for its management and
decommissioning of the country’s 12 Magnox nuclear power reactors and
research sites, it said on Friday.

The termination notice was effective
from Sept. 1 and allows for a 24-month notice period, ending CFP’s
contract on Aug. 31, 2019.

CFP – a joint venture between British firm
Cavendish Nuclear, a subsidiary of Babcock International, and U.S. company
Fluor Inc. – was awarded the contract in 2014. But earlier this year the
government said there was a “mismatch” between the work specified in
the contract and the work that actually needed to be done.

September 30, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, decommission reactor, politics | Leave a comment