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Barnwell news

May 29, 2008

LLRW stats re who will be inconvenienced by being shut out of Barnwell

Low-level radioactive waste, is classified as Class A, B or C depending on its hazard and physical characteristics. About 96 percent of all commercial low-level waste generated in the United States is Class A, the least hazardous. About 95 percent of Class B and C waste is generated by nuclear power plants. The remainder of the Class B and C waste consists primarily of liquid wastes from radiochemical producers and sealed radioactive sources from industrial, research or medical licensees. It is these latter companies who will be impacted by Barnwell's July 1 withdrawal of service to all except South Carolina, New Jersey and Connecticut. Hanford accepts all LLRW classes, but only from the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico.

NRC has issued guidance for those companies which may find it a challenge to provide extended interim storage of the Class B and C waste previously shipped to Barnwell -- see NRC Regulatory Issue Summary 2008-12, "Considerations for Extended Interim Storage of Low-Level Radioactive Waste by Fuel Cycle and Materials Licensees".

[Source: NRC Office of Public Affairs, "NRC UPDATES GUIDANCE TO LICENSEES FOR EXTENDED STORAGE OF LOW-LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTE", press release, NRC NEWS No. 08-103, May 29, 2008 -- ACN ML081500171]

January 2, 2004

Barge to Barnwell - low river level causes problems for Conn Yankee reactor vessel shipment

Conn Yankee's reactor vessel shipment to Barnwell has had some, uh, challenges. The barge was, well, stranded on the Savannah River. Low river level made the planned method of transfer from barge to highway problemmatic. Earlier this week, an attempt to move the 820-ton reactor vessel failed. The company has a rush order for new wheels and axles for the heavy duty tractor trailer, to replace the ones broken in the attempt. The Army Corps of Engineers was called on to pump water from Thurmond Lake Dam to lift the barge-bound steel vessel high enough to be lifted by crane onto land. This will be the fifth decommissioned vessel to be buried at the state-owned site managed by Chem Nuclear. The burial site fee: about $5 million.

[Ref: Jim Nesbitt (Chronicle's SC bureau chief), "Stranded barge: Corps to stage reactor rescue", The Augusta Chronicle (Georgia), January 2, 2004, p. B2]

January 1, 2004

CY reactor vessel shipment problems: axles broke; Corps lowered river level

The reactor was raised by hydraulic lifts Tuesday and placed on a trailer but couldn't be taken off the barge because two of the double-wide trailer's 16 axles broke, said Kelley Smith, a spokeswoman for Connecticut Yankee Atomic Power Co. Even if the trailer's axles had remained intact, the reactor couldn't have been moved. The Army Corps of Engineers lowered the Savannah River on Wednesday, making it unsafe to unload the reactor, Ms. Smith said. She said the back end of the barge might have touched the river's bottom. "They do things very conservatively," Ms. Smith said of the engineering crew moving the reactor. "It really just has to do with making sure that equipment is in the right working condition, and not rushing," said Henry Porter, the assistant director of waste management for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. "Delays in moving (reactors) are not unusual."

[Ref: Josh Gelinas (Chronicle SC bureau), "Vessel awaits its last route", The Augusta Chronicle (Georgia), January 1, 2004, p. B2]

December 30, 2003

Reactor vessel transport over roads - 1 mph, reinforced bridges, wide turn intersection

The trailer carrying the ... 820-ton ... reactor [about 22 miles at a speed of about 1 mph] has 16 axles and 256 tires, according to the South Carolina Department of Transportation. As the load snakes across the [Savannah River] site, officials will erect reinforced bridges next to existing ones at two locations to allow passage, said Kelley Smith, a spokeswoman for Connecticut Yankee. Once outside SRS's gates, the reactor will travel another 3/4-mile to Chem Nuclear along South Carolina Highway 64, accompanied by an SCDOT engineer and a safety official from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. The reactor will travel half of the home stretch atop the state highway before turning onto Chem Nuclear property and a dirt road. To make the turn, officials have to fill in a culvert with rocks and cover it with a steel plate, an SCDOT official said.

[Ref: Josh Gelinas (Chronicle SC bureau), "Reactor faces slow trip to Chem Nuclear", The Augusta Chronicle (Georgia), December 30, 2003, p. B2 (registration required)]

December 3, 2003

Barnwell will close to most states in 2008

Nuclear waste from most states will no longer be buried at Barnwell after 2008, when a three-state compact between South Carolina, Connecticut and New Jersey takes effect.

[S.C.] Gov. Mark Sanford's nuclear advisory committee is scheduled to meet Thursday in Barnwell to discuss the compact.

[Source: Ron Menchaca (Post and Courier staff writer), "Reactor shipment on again; Permit issued for barge transit but hurdles remain", Charleston Post and Courier, December 3, 2003 (subscription required)]

July 11, 2003

Chem-Nuclear Systems, LLC (Chem-Nuclear) is licensed by the State of South Carolina to handle, process, store, and dispose of LLRW... Chem-Nuclear began its operation of shallow land disposal of LLRW at Barnwell in 1971. The license has been amended frequently and renewed seven times, last in 1995. The current license expired in July 2000, and is currently in timely renewal. Under timely renewal, Chem-Nuclear may continue to operate the facility under the existing license and regulations until the [South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control] takes final action on the application for renewal. The application for renewal was submitted on April 27, 2000. The Department has provided a request for additional information and Chem-Nuclear is expected to respond in the summer of 2003. Two concurrent events have delayed the renewal of the license: the creation of the Atlantic Compact in 2000 and the evaluation of the Environmental Radiological Performance Verification (ERPV). The ERPV is being reviewed as part of the renewal package. The State formed a Blue Ribbon Panel of experts to provide a third-party independent review of the ERPV, and Chem-Nuclear will provide a revised ERPV, responding to the comments of the Blue Ribbon Panel, in July, 2003.

Under the restrictions of the Atlantic Compact, the amount of waste allowed to be received by the Barnwell facility reduces over the years. This fiscal year's limit is 60,000 cubic feet. Barnwell is expected to receive approximately 55,000 cubic feet by July 2003, the end of the 2003 fiscal year. The allowed waste volume decreases yearly until it is 35,000 cubic feet in fiscal year 2008. The estimated remaining waste disposal capacity at the site is approximately 3.2 million cubic feet.

[The above is excerpted from draft IMPEP report released by NRC on July 18. See full text here.

May 23, 2003

* Maine Yankee's Reactor Vessel's Barge Stuck in High River Water near Savannah

* Barge Route to Barnwell for Reactor Vessel - Feds Allow Docking at Savannah River Site

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