The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Shikoku Electric Power Company submits plans for dismantling nuclear reactor

Shikoku outlines plans for decommissioning Ikata 2, WNN, 17 October 2018

According to the plan, decommissioning of Ikata 2 will take about 40 years and will be carried out in four stages. The first stage, lasting about ten years, will involve preparing the reactor for dismantling (including the removal of all fuel and surveying radioactive contamination), while the second, lasting 15 years, will be to dismantle peripheral equipment from the reactor and other major equipment. The third stage, taking about eight years, will involve the demolition of the reactor itself, while the fourth stage, taking about seven years, will see the demolition of all remaining buildings and the release of land for other uses.

During the first stage, all fuel is to be removed from the unit. This includes 316 used fuel assemblies that will be sent for reprocessing and 102 fresh fuel assemblies that will be returned to the fuel fabricator.

Ikata 2 became the ninth operable Japanese reactor to be declared for decommissioning since the Fukushima Daiichi accident.

In mid-March 2015, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s Agency for Natural Resources and Energy revised the accounting provisions in the Electricity Business Act, whereby electric power companies can now calculate decommissioning costs in instalments of up to ten years, instead of one-time as previously. This enhanced cost recovery provision was to encourage the decommissioning of older and smaller units.

Shikoku decided in March 2016 to decommission unit 1 of the Ikata plant, also a 538 MWe PWR, which began commercial operation in September 1977. That unit had been taken offline in September 2011 for periodic inspections. Upgrades costing more than JPY170 billion (USD1.5 billion) would have been needed at the unit in order for it to operate beyond 40 years.

The NRA approved Shikoku’s decommissioning plan for Ikata 1 in June 2017. That plan also sees the unit being decommissioned in four stages over a 40-year period.

Unit 3 at the Ikata plant was given approval by the NRA to resume operation in April 2016, having been idle since being taken offline for a periodic inspection in April 2011. Shikoku declared the 846 MWe pressurised water reactor back in commercial operation on 7 September 2016. However, in December 2017, a Japanese high court ordered the suspension of the unit’s operation. The injunction was effective until the end of last month. The Hiroshima High Court in late September accepted Shikoku’s appeal and cancelled the injunction, allowing the utility to begin the process of restarting the reactor.


October 18, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, Japan | Leave a comment

Would-Be Nuclear Plant Owner Submits Revised Decommissioning Plan for Oyster Creek

 The, Gina G. Scala,, Oct 17, 2018 Less than a month after submitting a license renewal application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Holtec International Inc., a New Jersey-based company known globally for its used nuke fuel management technologies and interested in purchasing the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station from its current owners, submitted a revised report outlining its decommissioning plans for the plant.The Holtec Post-Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report will be reviewed separately from the license transfer application, according to Neil Sheehan, public information officer for the NRC Region 1 office. The license transfer provides information on how and why the company is financially and technically capable of handling the Oyster Creek decommissioning as well as managing the spent nuclear fuel storage onsite for the foreseeable future, he said. In their joint license renewal application, the two companies requested that the NRC adhere to a schedule to help meet a May 1, 2019, deadline for its decision on ownership……..

The revised PSDAR, submitted Sept. 28, highlights the accelerated schedule for the prompt decommissioning of Oyster Creek and the unrestricted release of the site, with the exclusion of the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation, or spent fuel pad, on site.

“This DECON PSDAR is contingent upon NRC approval of the LTA (license transfer application), completion of transfer of the licenses and asset sale closure. If the licenses are not transferred, this DECON PSDAR will be ineffective, and the May 21, 2018 PSDAR submitted by Exelon Generation will remain in effect,” according to the revised PSDAR. “Exelon Generation has reviewed the contents of this letter and is aligned.”

The Master Summary Schedule is based on the assumptions that the licenses are transferred to Holtec in July 2019, according to the report.

From the beginning, Holtec officials have said the company’s preferred method for decommissioning Oyster Creek was a DECON, or decontamination, method, in which equipment, structures and portions of the facility and site that contain radioactive contaminants are promptly removed and decontaminated to a level that permits termination of the license shortly after cessation of operations.

The one timeline change from an Aug. 15 meeting with the NRC and Exelon Generation is the transfer of spent nuclear fuel to the ISFSI. Under the revised PSDAR report, that activity is slated to be finalized in 2023, providing for the complete dismantlement of the reactor and turbine buildings. Radiological decommissioning, according to the revised plan, is expected to be completed by 2024. That would allow full release of the Route 9 site, located on 779 acres of land in the Forked River section of Lacey Township, with the except of the spent fuel pad.

In August, Holtec’s expedited timeline called for this process to begin with still-hot spent fuel being moved sometime next year and a 2021 completion date, with a full removal from the site by 2034 and full license termination by 2035.

“The Oyster Creek spent fuel is projected to be accepted by the DOE (Department of Energy) for shipment away from the Oyster Creek site in the years 2034 and 2035,” according to the revised report. “Spent fuel storage operations continue at the site, independent of decommissioning operations, until the transfer of the fuel to the DOE is complete. At that time, the ISFSI is decommissioned and the site released for unrestricted use.”

The NRC is currently reviewing applications for two potential interim sites to house spent nuclear fuel, one in Texas and the other in New Mexico. In the meantime, the only option for U.S. nuclear power plants is to store spent fuel from the reactor vessel on site.

Just last month, the deadline to request a public hearing on Holtec International’s interim repository in New Mexico closed. However, there is still time to request a public hearing for a similar spent fuel facility in West Texas. That window closes Oct. 29. The federal agency resumed reviewing the application after it received two letters, dated June 8 and July 19, from Interim Storage Partners, a joint venture between Waste Control Specialists and Orano CIS LLC. …….

October 18, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear fuel removed from Oyster Creek plant – to concrete casks

Shutdown of N.J. power plant continues with removal of nuclear fuel The Associated Press

The owner of what was considered to be America’s oldest nuclear power plant until its shutdown last week says it has removed the nuclear fuel from the reactor.

Chicago-based Exelon Corp. has notified the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission that it removed the last of the fuel rods from the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station on Tuesday.

The material was placed into a spent fuel pool where it will cool down for at least two years.

The fuel eventually will be placed into sealed concrete casks for longer-term storage on the grounds of the former plant in Lacey Township in New Jersey.

A Jupiter, Florida company, Holtec International, plans to buy the plant and move the fuel to an interim disposal site it is proposing in New Mexico.

September 28, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

U.S.Cogress seeks funds to compensate communities affected by nuclear power plant shutdowns

Congress looking for money for cities hit by nuclear plant closures — including Diablo Canyon,The Tribune  BY KAYTLYN LESLIE,, September 17, 2018 

September 18, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Former floating nuclear power station is dismantled

Army Corps of Engineers Dismantles Former Floating Nuclear Plant in Galveston than 1.5 million pounds of radioactive waste have been safely removed from the USS Sturgis’ nuclear reactor  SEPTEMBER 18, 2018, HE U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS HAS ANNOUNCED THAT A FORMER FLOATING NUCLEAR PLANT IN GALVESTON HAS BEEN DISMANTLED.

More than 1.5 million pounds of radioactive waste have been safely removed from the USS Sturgis’ nuclear reactor. Additionally, more than 600,000 pounds of lead from the vessel have been recycled.

The removal process has taken three years and the Corps said decommissioning the Army’s first and only floating nuclear reactor prototype is now complete.

The World War II vessel was converted into a barge-mounted nuclear reactor in the 1960s.

The Galveston Daily News reported the ship will be towed to Brownsville later this month, where it will be scrapped.

September 18, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor | Leave a comment

Oyster Creek nuclear power station to close on Monday

America’s Oldest Operating Nuclear Power Plant to Retire on Monday OilVoice Press – OilVoice 14-Sep-2018 The Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station, located 50 miles east of Philadelphia in Forked River, New Jersey, is scheduled to retire on Monday, September 17. The plant first came online on December 1, 1969, making it the oldest commercially operated nuclear power plant in the United States. Oyster Creek was previously expected to retire on December 31, 2019, but its retirement was accelerated by more than a year to coincide with the plant’s fuel and maintenance cycle…………

Oyster Creek will be the sixth nuclear power plant to retire in the past five years. After Oyster Creek’s retirement, the United States will have 98 operating nuclear reactors at 59 plants. Twelve of these reactors, with a combined capacity of 11.7 gigawatts, are scheduled to retire within the next seven years.

Oyster Creek is one of four nuclear power plants—along with Palisades Power PlantPilgrim Nuclear Power Station, and Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station—that have planned retirement dates more than a decade before their operating licenses expire. Economic factors have played a significant role in decisions to continue operating or to retire nuclear power plants, as increased competition from natural gas and renewables has made it increasingly difficult for nuclear generators to compete in electricity markets……..

According to Exelon, Oyster Creek will undergo a six-step decommissioning process. The typical decommissioning period for a nuclear power plant is about 60 years, so parts of the Oyster Creek plant structure could remain in place until 2075. …..

September 14, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

UK’s nuclear wastes- the clean-up will be a bonanza for nuclear companies

Eureka 10th Sept 2018 , The cover story of Eureka’s September issue looks at the programme to
decommission the UK’s legacy nuclear power plant, with particular
emphasis on the opportunities this creates for engineering innovation. The
reasons for this are clear: radioactive environments represent some of the
most challenging engineering scenarios possible, with extended human
presence in them simply not feasible. This means that robotics have a
massive role to play and it is these solutions that are attracting much

What many may not understand is just how massive an undertaking
this decommissioning programme is. Decommissioning across 17 nuclear sites
will take more than a century and involve the expenditure of an estimated
£118 billion pounds over that period. Clearly this offers considerable
scope for investment in and applications of new technologies. The Nuclear
Decommissioning Authority currently offers significant funding for the
right solutions. With that in mind, it would seem a good time for the
UK’s design engineers to step up.

September 12, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear fuel soon to be removed from Japan’s failed Monju fast breeder reactor

Nuclear fuel removal to start at Monju reactor  NHK, 28 Aug 18 The operator of Japan’s Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor plans to soon start removing its nuclear fuel from a storage container as part of the plant’s decommissioning.

The Japan Atomic Energy Agency plans to scrap the reactor in Tsuruga City in Fukui Prefecture, central Japan, over 30 years.

Work to move the fuel to a detached storage pool was to start in late July. But it was postponed due to equipment trouble including fogging up of monitoring camera lenses during trials.

The work is now to start on Thursday……..

August 29, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, Japan | Leave a comment

Demolition of Windscale Pile One Stack at Sellafield

Energy Voice 20th Aug 2018, The site of Britain’s worst nuclear accident is to be dismantled as part
of the wider decommissioning of the Sellafield nuclear plant. The planned
demolition of the 360 foot structure will begin later this year. A giant
crane has been constructed to bring it down. The 152m crane is the tallest
structure ever built at Sellafield, just six metres shorter than the
Blackpool Tower. It will begin work this autumn, removing and lowering
chunks of the chimney cut out using diamond wire saws. Duncan Thompson, the
Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s Sellafield Programme director, said:
“The complex task of decommissioning and demolishing the Windscale Pile
One Stack has reached an important stage. It is another example of the
ingenuity that goes into solving the UK’s decommissioning problems.

August 24, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, UK | Leave a comment

Japan’s failed Monju reprocessing reactor- at last the shutdown begins

Final fuel-removal exercise starts for problem-plagued Monju reactor, AUG 19, 2018

The JAEA will launch actual fuel removal operations this month if it finds the work can be conducted safely. It was initially planned to begin late last month but was postponed after problems plagued the equipment test.

In the final exercise, control rods instead of real fuel assemblies will be removed from a container filled with sodium coolant by using the aforementioned equipment. The rods will be then packed in cans after the sodium is rinsed off and transported to a water-filled pool.

It has not been decided when the exercise will end, the agency said.

The decommissioning process for the glitch-riddled Monju is slated to take 30 years.

In the first phase, 530 assemblies in the reactor and a storage container outside the reactor will be moved to the water pool by December 2022. The JAEA has so far transferred only two fuel assemblies to the pool — one in 2008 and the other in 2009.

August 20, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, Japan, reprocessing | Leave a comment

“unwelcome” step towards nuclear plant closures

FirstEnergy takes “unwelcome” step towards plant closures, WNN, 16 August 2018

The company on 15 August said it had filed with the NRC details of the training programme for the professionals who will supervise the removal and on-site storage of fuel from the plants after their shut-down.

“Today’s NRC submission is a necessary milestone for us but not a welcome one,” Don Moul, FES president and chief nuclear officer, said………. A solution must be reached by mid-2019, when FES must either purchase the fuel required for Davis-Besse’s next refuelling or proceed with the shutdown.

August 17, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Local residents unhappy at “unavoidable impacts” of planned demolition of shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

Courthouse News 8th Aug 2018 , Southern California residents packed a California State Lands Commission
meeting Tuesday night to protest the plan to demolish the shuttered San
Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

The SONGS nuclear power plant closed in
2012 after reactor coolant leaked from an 11-month-old steam generator,
leaking 82 gallons of radioactive coolant a day. Edison alerted the public
to a “possible leak” on Jan. 31, 2012, and on Feb. 17, 2012, responded
to a Nuclear Regulatory Commission report about the leak with confirmation
a “barely measurable” amount of radioactivity was released into the

The California Coastal Commission issued a permit to SONGS
operator Southern California Edison to store spent nuclear waste in
canisters buried under the beach next to the shuttered power plant. This
year, Edison began burying the spent nuclear waste on the beach and is a
third of the way through burying the 70-plus canisters.

But to complete the entire decommissioning process – including tearing down the twin
buildings which used to house energy operations – the California Coastal
Commission needs to approve a final permit. That permit will not be taken
up by the Coastal Commission until a recently released 706-page
environmental impact report by the California State Lands Commission –
which assesses the environmental impacts of tearing down SONGS – gets

It outlines the components and structures proposed to be taken
down in a way to reduce radioactivity and impacts on the environment. Among
significant “unavoidable impacts” outlined in the EIR, however, are
potential release of radiological materials and impacts on air quality. The
majority of speakers from a group of more than 100 people at Tuesday’s
meeting said those “unavoidable impacts” are unacceptable.

August 11, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Costly and difficult dismantling of USA’s nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise

The U.S. Navy Is Having a Hell of a Time Dismantling the USS Enterprise

Nobody has ever disposed of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier before. Turns out it’s not easy. By Aug 10, 2018 

August 11, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Bradwell Nuclear Power Station closed 16 years ago, now ready for decades of “interim” wastes

Maldon & Burnham Standard 23rd July 2018 , BRADWELL Power Station has finished treating radioactive waste as it makes another big step towards being decommissioned. Site operator Magnox is now
preparing the site for the 80 year care and maintenance process. The power
station stopped generating electricity in March 2002, after running for 40
years. In a programme spanning seven years, hundreds of thousands of litres
of radioactive resin and sludge has been made ready for interim storage.
The radioactive sludge was collected from the ponds which stored the
site’s spent nuclear fuel during operation. The resins helped with
removing the radioactive content from site’s discharges – making sure
they were kept within safe and permitted levels. Once it had been
retrieved, the waste was treated and packaged in self-shielding ductile
cast iron containers known as yellow boxes, making it suitable for interim
storage in the site’s purpose-built facility.

July 27, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, UK | Leave a comment

Captiol Hill briefing paper on the need for autopsies at decommissioning reactors


Decommissioning nuclear power stations need an “autopsy” to verify and validate safety margins projected for operating reactor license extensions  


The Issue

The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), the lead organization for the U.S. commercial nuclear power industry, envisions the industry’s “Bridge to the Future” through a series of reactor license renewals from the original 40-year operating license; first by a 40 to 60-year extension and then a subsequent 60 to 80-year extension. Most U.S. reactors are already operating in their first 20-year license extension and the first application for the second 20-year extension (known as the “Subsequent License Renewal”) is before the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for review and approval. NEI claims that there are no technical “show stoppers” to these license extensions. However, as aging nuclear power stations seek to extend their operations longer and longer, there are still many identified knowledge gaps for at least 16 known age-related material degradation mechanisms (embrittlement, cracking, corrosion, fatigue, etc.) attacking irreplaceable safety-related systems including miles of electrical cable, structures such as the concrete containment and components like the reactor pressure vessel. For example, the national labs have identified that it is not known how radiation damage will interact with thermal aging. Material deterioration has already been responsible for near miss nuclear accidents.  As such, permanently closed and decommissioning nuclear power stations have a unique and increasingly vital role to play in providing access to still missing data on the impacts and potential hazards of aging for the future safety of dramatic operating license extensions.

The NRC and national laboratories document that a post-shutdown autopsy of sorts to harvest, archive and test actual aged material samples (metal, concrete, electrical insulation and jacketing, etc.) during decommissioning provides unique and critical access to obtain the scientific data for safety reviews of the requested license extensions. A Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) 2017 report concludes, post-shutdown autopsies are necessary for “reasonable assurance that systems, structures, and components (SSCs) are able to meet their safety functions. Many of the remaining questions regarding degradation of materials will likely require[emphasis added]a combination of laboratory studies as well as other research conducted on materials sampled from plants (decommissioned or operating).” PNNL reiterates, “Where available, benchmarking can be performed using surveillance specimens. In most cases, however, benchmarking of laboratory tests will require(emphasis added)harvesting materials from reactors.” In the absence of “reasonable assurance,” it is premature for licensees to complete applications without adequate verification and validation of projected safety margins for the 60 to 80-year extension period.

Decommissioning is not just the process for dismantling nuclear reactors and remediating radioactive contamination for site restoration. Decommissioning has an increasingly important role at the end-of-reactor-life-cycle for the scientific scrutiny of projected safety margins and potential hazards at operating reactors seeking longer and longer license extensions.                   

The Problem

After decades of commercial power operation,the nuclear industry and the NRC have done surprisingly little to strategically harvest, archive and scientifically analyze actual aged materials. Relatively few samples of real time aged materials have been shared with the NRC.  The NRC attributes the present dearth of real time aged samples to “harvesting opportunities have been limited due to few decommissioning plants.” However, ten U.S. reactors have completed decommissioning operations to date and 20 units are in the decommissioning process. More closures are scheduled to begin in Fall 2018.  A closer look raises significant concern that the nuclear industry is reluctant to provide access to decommissioning units for sampling or collectively share this cost of doing business to extend their operating licenses. Key components including severely embrittled reactor pressure vessels were promptly dismantled by utilities and buried whole without autopsy. Many permanently closed reactors have been placed in “SAFSTOR,” defueled and mothballed “cold and dark” for up to 50 years without the material sampling to determine their extent of condition and the impacts of aging. Moreover, the NRC is shying away from taking reasonable regulatory and enforcement action to acquire the requested samples for laboratory analysis after prioritizing the need for a viable license extension safety review prior to approval. Meanwhile, the nuclear industry license extension process is pressing forward.

David Lochbaum, a recognized nuclear safety engineer in the public interest with the Union of Concerned Scientists, identifies that nuclear research on the impacts and hazards of age degradation in nuclear power stations presently relies heavily on laboratory accelerated aging—often of fresh materials—and computer simulation to predict future aging performance and potential consequences during license extension.  Lochbaum explains that “Nuclear autopsies yield insights that cannot be obtained by other means.” Researchers need to compare the results from their time-compression studies with results from tests on materials actually aged for various time periods to calibrate their analytical models.According to Lochbaum, “Predicting aging effects is like a connect-the-dots drawing. Insights from materials harvested during reactor decommissioning provide many additional dots to the dots provided from accelerated aging studies. As the number of dots increases, the clearer the true picture can be seen. The fewer the dots, the harder it is to see the true picture.

The Path Forward

1) Congress, the Department of Energy (DOE) and the NRC need to determine the nuclear industry’s fair share of autopsy costs levied through collective licensing fees for strategic harvesting during decommissioning and laboratory analysis of real time aged material samples as intended to benefit the material performance and safety margins of operating reactors seeking license extensions, and;

2) As NRC and the national laboratories define the autopsy’s stated goal as providing “reasonable assurance that systems, structures, and components (SSCs) are able to meet their safety functions” for the relicensing of other reactors, the NRC approval process for Subsequent License Renewal extensions should be held in abeyance pending completion of comprehensive strategic harvesting and conclusive analysis as requested by the agency and national laboratories, and;

3) Civil society can play a more active role in the independent oversight and public transparency of autopsies at decommissioning reactor sites such as through state legislated and authorized nuclear decommissioning citizen advisory panels.

July 20, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, Reference, USA | Leave a comment