IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – EM and cleanup contractor Fluor Idaho recently discussed lessons learned and other expertise on nuclear safety and regulatory strategies with representatives of Canada’s cleanup program during their visit to DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory (INL) Site.
Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) is decommissioning aging facilities and conducting research projects at the Chalk River site in the Ontario province, one of Canada’s cleanup sites. The INL and Chalk River sites are similar in that both have cleanup underway as they expand nuclear research and development. And like the INL, Chalk River is being considered for small modular reactor development.
The CNL officials toured the Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center (INTEC) and Radioactive Waste Management Complex (RWMC). They expressed interest in the safety basis for each facility and the regulatory framework under which work is conducted at them. CNL is developing a safety basis for Chalk River that addresses the environment and communities near the site. A safety basis outlines design and safety controls needed to comply with nuclear safety requirements and standards.
The CNL representatives viewed EM’s targeted buried waste exhumation at the RWMC’s Accelerated Retrieval Project. Exhumation work is directed and monitored in a nearby trailer with closed-circuit video capabilities. That operation also monitors workers for heat generation from potentially reactive buried waste. Chalk River also has a radioactive waste landfill that will require exhumation.
At INTEC, the visitors saw spent nuclear fuel storage facilities, which included horizontal storage of fuel and debris; in-ground storage where fuel elements are placed in steel sleeves with shielding caps; and cask storage, where spent fuel is stored in transport casks on a concrete pad. Tour participants also discussed the Chemical Processing Plant-603, where spent nuclear fuel is suspended and air cooled.
Following the tour, the visitors met with nuclear safety professionals to discuss how cleanup work is safely executed at the INL Site and how those lessons can be applied to CNL’s work.
“We had a great meeting with the CNL representatives,” Fluor Idaho Environmental, Safety, and Health Director Kliss McNeel said. “I believe the more we work with other similar sites, the more we all benefit. So many of the issues are similar and if we work together, we can find solutions that work for all of us.”