Chinese Delegation Meets with EM Officials in its First Visit to Savannah River Site

A delegation from two nuclear-related entities in China visited the Savannah River Site (SRS) for the first time last month, and its members agreed with EM officials to discuss potential areas of collaboration in waste treatment and disposal and to establish collaborative technology projects.

The delegation was from the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC). CAEA is a regulatory agency that oversees the development of nuclear energy in China, and CNNC is a large, state-owned enterprise and main body of the national nuclear technology industry. CAEA Deputy Director-General Liuyi Duan headed the delegation.

The delegation’s visit supports EM’s International Program work with CAEA under the U.S.-China Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Technology (PUNT) Agreement. Signed in 1998, the agreement is a legally binding mechanism between the U.S. and China that allows for bilateral technical cooperation in civil nuclear energy and nonproliferation. Over the years, this cooperation has covered a wide variety of areas, including nuclear technology and export controls, nuclear emergency management and safety, and high-level waste management.

During the visit, the delegates met with SRS Manager Jack R. Craig and other site representatives to exchange information on radioactive waste treatment and disposal, project management, contracting practices, and budget processes.

The delegation also toured the Defense Waste Processing Facility, where liquid nuclear waste is converted to a glass form suitable for long-term storage and disposal. The delegates also viewed the H-Canyon, which is the only hardened nuclear chemical separations plant still in operation in the U.S.; the R Reactor, which is in an in-situ, or in place, state after it was deactivated, decommissioned, and sealed with grout; the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Facility; the Saltstone facilities, which stabilize and dispose of low-level radioactive liquid salt wastes; and a tank farm with underground waste tanks.