The House of Representatives has approved the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, a $738 billion defense policy bill that includes support for producing 80 plutonium pits per year by 2030, mostly at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. The bill still needs Senate approval.
Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico are testing the use of muon radiography to check the contents of nuclear waste canisters containing plutonium from spent fuel. "Muons offer a way to establish how much waste there is in a container without having to open or move the container in question," writes Edwin Cartlidge.
The European Union's member states were unable to agree on how to define green investments after France and some eastern European countries objected to the exclusion of nuclear power in the green investment "taxonomy," sources say. The EU's 28 member states are set to meet again on Monday.
Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority has approved the decommissioning of Kansai Electric Power Co.'s two reactors at the Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture. Kansai had determined the $1.1 billion decommissioning would be cheaper than costly safety upgrades required after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi disaster.
A petition to activate Taiwan's mothballed No. 4 nuclear power plant for commercial operation has collected more than enough valid signatures to trigger a referendum. The Central Election Commission is reviewing the petition and is expected to announce Aug. 28, 2021, as the soonest a referendum can be held.
Oklo has been granted a site use permit from the Energy Department to build a small non-light water nuclear reactor at the Idaho National Laboratory. The permit is a critical step in Oklo's development of its 1.5-megawatt Aurora reactor design, which uses metallic fuels.
A New Mexico Environment Department annual report indicates that Triad National Security, the Los Alamos National Laboratory's operations contractor, had 19 permit violations during the past year that included failing to track 250 barrels of nuclear waste shipped to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad.
NorthStar Nuclear Decommissioning Co. has found 17 areas contaminated mostly with oil products at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant site it is currently decommissioning. The contamination appears to be related to fuel supplies for the former plant's backup diesel generators and has forced NorthStar to revise its site cleanup plan.
The Department of Energy's Hanford Nuclear Waste Site has a huge task ahead -- turning 56 million gallons of radioactive nuclear waste into vitrified glass. It's the latest step in a project that may see the site become a "city" that never shuts down.
French utility Electricite de France and Paris-based Veolia have created a joint venture that will focus on decommissioning nuclear reactors that were built using graphite layers. The new firm, Graphitech, will develop remote-controlled robotic tools to break up and extract the activated graphite bricks and piles found in about 60 of the world's reactors.