US to build $1.6B East Idaho facility for warships’ nuclear waste

NRF INL East Idaho

IDAHO FALLS — Site preparation on a new $1.65 billion Expended Core Facility that handles fuel waste from the nation’s fleet of nuclear-powered warships will begin in 2017, the Navy and U.S. Department of Energy announced Tuesday.

Located at the Naval Reactors Facility at the Idaho National Laboratory, the new facility will support the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program’s (NNPP) mission to provide the U.S. with safe, effective and affordable naval nuclear propulsion plants.

“This action will provide the infrastructure necessary to support the naval nuclear reactor defueling and refueling schedules to meet the operational needs of the U.S. Navy,” the Department of Energy said in a statement.

The NNPP is a joint Navy and Energy Department organization and has been sending spent Navy fuel to the Idaho site by rail from shipyards since the 1950s. Construction on the new facility will begin by 2019, creating 360 on-site jobs, and is expected to start operating in late 2024.

“(NNPP) comprises the military and civilian personal who design, build operate, maintain and manage the nuclear power ships and the many facilities that support the United States Navy’s nuclear-powered fleet,” said Don Dahl, a spokesman for the Naval Reactors facility. “This program has all cradle-to-grave responsibility for all (NNPP) matters.”

Part of that responsibility included conducting a lengthy and public environmental impact study, which evaluated the NNNP’s capability to support safe naval spent-nuclear-fuel handling for at least the next 40 years.

Other alternatives to a new site included taking no action, which would have “large and profound impacts to naval spent nuclear fuel management and national security needs.”

And overhauling the existing facilities could “impact the ability of ECF to operate for several years” and “would necessitate operational interruptions for extended periods of time.”

No method was environmentally preferred, however, the new facility option would involve the largest amount of ground surface disturbance, but would provide the lowest risk from seismic hazards.

“A lot of the capabilities are going to be very similar,” Dahl said. “It is going to give us a capability to handle larger fuel that’s coming from aircraft carriers.”

Nuclear waste entering Idaho prompted lawsuits when state leaders in the late 1980s and early 1990s thought the site was becoming a permanent nuclear waste repository. The lawsuits culminated in a 1995 agreement, then a 2008 addendum, limiting such shipments and requiring most nuclear waste to be removed from the federal site by 2035. The deal applies to the Navy’s spent nuclear fuel.

Under the agreement, fuel waste coming to the new facility after 2035 will only remain for the six years it takes to cool in pools. After that, it’s required to be put in dry storage and taken out of Idaho. However, the nation has no repository for spent nuclear fuel at this time, so where it will go is unclear.

“Our intent remains and we are currently working towards meeting all of the conditions of that agreement,” Dahl said.

Building a new facility will improve long-term capacity, increase efficiency and effectiveness and reduce long-term costs and risks, according to officials. One benefit a new facility will provide is that it will be built to current design and construction standards.

It will have storage spaces to submerge the fuel waste in water to cool before being transferred into dry storage areas. The tanks will meet seismic standards aimed at preventing them from being affected by earthquakes.

“The main purpose is to recapitalize an aging infrastructure in the old facility,” Dahl said. “We’ve been doing this work out here for decades and to ensure we can continue safe and reliable options it was determined the most appropriate decision was to build this new facility.”

From: Idaho State Journal

Posted in , ,

Common Health Issues That Affect Middle-Aged Men

By Andrea Kay | January 27, 2023

As you age, your body often declines in health. Because your body is not in its prime and your organs have been working longer,…

How to Measure Product Success in Your Business

By Andrea Kay | January 26, 2023

As a business owner, it is paramount to measure the success of your products in order to expand and reap profits. By surveying which…

What to Do Before You and Your Partner Decide to Have a Baby

By Andrea Kay | December 27, 2022

Having a baby is a big step to take with your partner. You’re bringing a new life into the world and you’re permanently changing…

What to Do Before Buying a Business

By Andrea Kay | December 27, 2022

If you want to build wealth, owning a business can be a great way to do that. Some people make that happen by building…

Why Old Software is Hurting Your Business

By Andrea Kay | December 27, 2022

Software is essential for just about every conceivable business. No matter your industry, no matter your market, you need to be taking advantage of…

Crucial Business Functions That Require Greater Investment

By Andrea Kay | December 27, 2022

There are a lot of elements that go into running a business. However, some of them deserve special attention. When you shift your focus…

What You Need to Know About Smart Credit Card Use

By Andrea Kay | December 9, 2022

Are you applying for a credit card for the first time? Having a credit card will open many doors for you, especially if you’re…

How to Improve Cybersecurity at Your Business

By Andrea Kay | December 9, 2022

Every business in the modern world is going to incorporate a substantial amount of technology. This will also be true for your business, no…

Health Risks That Increase as You Get Older

By Andrea Kay | December 7, 2022

There are plenty of things to look forward to as you age. Retirement tends to be one of the more commonly discussed and planned-for…