DOE Issues Final Request for Proposal for the Operation of Depleted Uranium Hexafluoride (DUF6) Conversion Facilities

A cost-plus award fee and firm-fixed-price contract line item contract will be awarded from this Final RFP. The total estimated value of the contract is between $400 and $600 million, with a five-year period of performance.

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Washington State University to Manage Hanford’s Manhattan Project and Cold War-era Artifacts and Archives

Through a subcontract with MSA, WSU-TC will provide curatorial & archivist services, as well as a repository for the collection that will meet federal storage requirements in a community-based facility.

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A frequently asked question is whether nuclear decommissioning has reached technological maturity. A generally accepted definition of technological maturity is given as:

“A mature technology is a technology that has been in use for long enough that most of its initial faults and inherent problems have been removed or reduced by further development…One of the key indicators of a mature technology is the ease of use for both non-experts and professionals. Another indicator is a reduction in the rate of new breakthrough advances related to it—whereas inventions related to a (popular) immature technology are usually rapid and diverse, and may change the whole use paradigm—advances to a mature technology are usually incremental improvements only.”

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On September 30, 1999, Japan experienced the second worst civilian radiation exposure in its history at the Tokaimura fuels facility. Two technicians were performing routine work conducted in a similar manner for over the past seven years when a previously determined ‘impossible criticality event’ became an inevitability. The accident claimed two lives and exposed over 300,000 people living in proximity to the plant.[1] In little over a decade later, the worst nuclear materials accident occurred 250 miles away at the Fukushima Daiichi fuels storage facility, with the structural and biological damage already exceeding the $70 billion mark. Though the facilities differ in terms of their mission and scope of work, a common root cause was that both facilities either provided no training in an important area, such as the absence of fissile material handling fundamentals at Tokaimura, and the training provided was deemed ineffective.[2] Both facilities had a training department that at some point worked to an approved training plan. So, what happened?

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An agreement between the Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) required the operational closure of Tanks 18 and 19 by December 2012. Both tanks underwent extensive waste removal that included waste removal, specialized mechanical cleaning, and working to isolate the tanks from all external systems, all leading to regulatory confirmation that the tanks were ready for stabilization.

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OP ED – The Elephant and Yucca Mountain

Dealing with the 77,000 tons of accumulated spent fuel from the U.S. civilian nuclear solid fuel energy program is an enormous and unresolved issue. But like most of the world’s problems, the stockpiling of spent nuclear fuel from solid fuel Light Water Reactors (LWR) is the result of a policy choice based on the goals and objectives of a different time – the cold war years. A better alternative was developed and exists, but it was intentionally sidelined and defunded

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