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Nuclear waste "melter" placed on standby at SRS plant

Tuesday, March 26, 2013 10:40 AM
Last updated 6:47 PM
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A new “melter” to serve Savannah River Site’s important Defense Waste Processing Facility arrived in South Carolina this month and will be placed in storage for future use, possibly in six to 10 years.

A 65-ton nuclear waste "melter" arrived at Savannah River Site this month and will be stored for future use at the Defense Waste Processing Facility that converts radioactive waste into glass-filled steel canisters.  SPECIAL/SAVANNAH RIVER REMEDIATION
SPECIAL/SAVANNAH RIVER REMEDIATION
A 65-ton nuclear waste "melter" arrived at Savannah River Site this month and will be stored for future use at the Defense Waste Processing Facility that converts radioactive waste into glass-filled steel canisters.

The 65-ton devices are considered the heart of the facility that blends high-level radioactive waste into molten glass that is poured into stainless steel canisters for long-term storage.

The processing plant is now using the second melter of its 17-year history. A third device remains in storage and is expected to be placed into service in late 2014 or 2015, according to officials with Savannah River Remediation, the site’s liquid waste contractor.

The fourth melter – which arrived March 6 – has been placed in storage to succeed melter 3.

The processing plant had poured a total of 3,591 canisters through March 10, or almost half the projected 7,580 canisters that will eventually be filled during the disposal of the site’s hazardous waste.

The canisters remain stored at the South Carolina facility, but their future disposition path is unclear.

A possible destination could have been the government’s Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada, but that project was canceled.

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Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 03/26/13 - 10:01 am
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Yucca Mountain

Why bother processing it if there's no place to store it?

bdouglas
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bdouglas 03/26/13 - 12:38 pm
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Bought it so they could put

Bought it so they could put it in storage for 6 to 10 years? And then probably auction it off with all the other surplus stuff...

SCEagle Eye
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SCEagle Eye 03/26/13 - 02:49 pm
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good news on waste canisters

It's great news that SRS continues to fill canisters with vitrified high-level waste. It's sound management to have extra melters on hand so the task can continue. Leaving that waste in the aging tanks is the worst thing to do. Now, throw some plutonium into each glass canister and SRS will be back on track with a plutonium-disposition option that should not have been killed for political reasons in 2002, when the most expensive and problematic disposal option was chosen. (That would be MOX.)

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