The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

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

Closed since 1977, Dounreay Fast Reactor at last being emptied of radioactive fuel elements

BBC 12th Sept 2017, Work has begun on the “challenging” task of removing radioactive fuel
elements stuck inside the most famous of Dounreay’s reactors. Closed since
1977, the Dounreay Fast Reactor is known for its dome-shaped exterior.
Almost 1,000 fuel elements have been in the reactor for years after the  work to remove them was halted because they were swollen and jammed in.

New technology has now been developed to make it possible to remove them. It
could take three years to complete the job at the nuclear power site near
Thurso in Caithness. Once all the elements have been removed work can begin
on dismantling the reactor.

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

More money in nuclear decommissioning than in running nuclear power?

Swiss utility BKW jumps into nuclear plant dismantling business, Reuters, 7 Sept 17  Reuters Staff

  •  DfN already works with BKW at Muehleberg station
  • GE, Hitachi and Veolia also looking at decommissioning business

By John Miller ZURICH, Sept 7 (Reuters) – Swiss utility BKW AG bought a small German nuclear services company on Thursday, joining firms including GE that are banking on rising revenue from the decommissioning of European nuclear plants.

BKW, which plans to dismantle its own Muehleberg nuclear station after shuttering it in 2019, bought Dienstleistungen fuer Nukleartechnik GmbH (DfN). Its services include verifying that components removed from nuclear facilities are no longer radioactive.

Other companies, including Finland’s Fortum, privately held U.S.-based Bechtel and the GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy alliance, are also seeking to benefit from plant decommissioning in Sweden as well as Germany.

Germany decided to exit nuclear power by 2022 following the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011.

Similarly, energy groups E.ON and EnBW, which are now tearing down their German nuclear plants, are seeking to parlay newfound dismantling expertise by offering similar services elsewhere in the world…….

September 9, 2017 Posted by | decommission reactor, Switzerland | Leave a comment

A historic chimney is set for demolition at Sellafield.

A historic chimney is set for demolition at Sellafield. The Primary
Separation Plant Chimney Stack was built in the 1950s to provide
ventilation for surrounding buildings.

It is now one of the biggest risks at Sellafield because it does not meet modern safety standards. Demolishing
a 61-metre chimney in the middle of Europe’s most complex, congested
nuclear site is a challenge. Explosives are not an option and there is no
space for a crane so engineers have spent the last seven months getting a
self-climbing platform to the top of the chimney metre by metre so they can
begin demolition.

Demolishing this chimney will cost more than £60m. The
Nuclear Decommissioning Authority which oversees Sellafield says the
complexity of this one project demonstrates why cleaning up this site is so
expensive. £2bn was spent at Sellafield last year alone.

September 1, 2017 Posted by | decommission reactor, UK | Leave a comment

USA nuclear ship closed 45 years ago – but still no funds to decommission it

Aboard the NS Savannah, America’s first (and last) nuclear merchant ship, Years after shutdown, Savannah still waits for funding for its reactor decommissioning. Ars Technica, SEAN GALLAGHER – 7/26/2017  Constructed at a cost of $46.9 million ($386.8 million in 2016 dollars) and launched on July 21, 1959, the Savannah was the world’s first nuclear cargo ship and the second nuclear-powered civilian ship (coming just two years after the Soviet nuclear icebreaker Lenin). Owned by the US Maritime Administration (MARAD) and operated by commercial cargo companies, for nearly a decade she carried cargo and passengers around the world. She also acted as a floating herald for America’s seemingly inevitable, cool Atomic Age future. Savannah boasted all the latest conveniences, including one of the world’s first microwave ovens.

July 28, 2017 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Doubts about the Vermont Yankee nuclear cleanup plan

ANTI-NUCLEAR GROUP DOUBTS VERMONT YANKEE CLEANUP PLAN, VTDIGGER,JUL. 9, 2017, 4:17 PM BY MIKE FAHER BRATTLEBORO – The company that wants to buy Vermont Yankee hasn’t properly assessed the plant for radiological contamination and “cannot know” the true cleanup cost, a Brattleboro anti-nuclear group contends.

The New England Coalition, in new filings with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, seeks to intervene in the federal review of Vermont Yankee’s proposed sale to NorthStar Group Services.

One of the coalition’s biggest concerns mirrors worries that have been previously expressed by Vermont officials: that NorthStar could run into unforeseen problems and run out of money before finishing decommissioning.

NorthStar “cannot reasonably assure that it has adequate financial resources to own and operate Vermont Yankee for the purpose of decommissioning and fuel storage,” wrote Ray Shadis, a New England Coalition technical adviser…….

NorthStar has promised to clean up the majority of the site no later than 2030. That would make the property available for redevelopment much sooner, but some have expressed skepticism about the company’s ability to follow through.

That sentiment has spilled over to the NRC’s review of NorthStar’s plans.

In documents filed last month with the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board – an independent judicial body of the NRC – Vermont officials declared there is “significant risk” in NorthStar’s proposal due to “numerous, thus-far-unanalyzed health, safety and environmental concerns.”

State officials focused on financial issues, arguing that unexpected contamination, complications related to long-term spent fuel storage, and other issues could drastically drive up decommissioning costs.

Like Vermont officials, the New England Coalition is asking the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board for intervention status and a hearing in connection with the Vermont Yankee license transfer. The coalition offers two main contentions.

First, Shadis says the license transfer application is incomplete because it does not offer any environmental impact statement or “any substantive and reliable information about the varieties, quantities, depth and extent of radiological contamination.”

Shadis is critical of what he calls the NRC’s “tunnel vision” approach to NorthStar’s application.

He says the scope of NorthStar’s decommissioning proposal is far greater than a standard license transfer application. Instead, NorthStar is pitching “an untested method of managing decommissioning under new and unanalyzed circumstances.”……..

July 17, 2017 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment