A Nuclear Regulatory Commission office in Pennsylvania had to be closed after a contractor who entered the office tested positive for COVID-19. NRC spokesman David McIntyre said office access "was restricted for two business days to allow deep cleaning of the facility."
Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., a member of the Senate Environment Committee, said in a hearing on the American Nuclear Infrastructure Act of 2020 that he supports advanced nuclear technology development but has "serious reservations" about speeding up the required environmental reviews. "I fear that making additional, unwarranted changes at this time could seriously disrupt the regulatory process in a way that threatens the safety reviews of these new technologies," he said.
The Department of Energy's Environmental Management office is seeking a new management-and-operations contractor for the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. The new contract, which includes the proposed increase in plutonium pit production, will replace the current contract set to expire in September 2021.
The Department of Energy is providing more than $84 million to improve electrolyzers that nuclear power plants can use to produce hydrogen, providing the plants with an additional source of revenue.
About 50 companies, including Facebook, General Mills and Nestle, sent a letter to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and state lawmakers urging them to repeal House Bill 6 in light of the federal investigations concerning its passage. The bill includes subsidies for nuclear power plants in the state and the companies say repealing it "will help restore public confidence and ensure continued growth of Ohio's clean energy economy."
A county judge in New York has dismissed a lawsuit that claimed state officials issued an expansion permit for the Hakes C&D Disposal landfill without consideration of radioactivity already present there. The state Department of Environmental Conservation told the court the landfill's detectors adequately test for any radiation that may enter the site.
Uranium ore samples from TNT Mines' East Canyon uranium project in Utah were sent to an assay lab in Reno, Nev., but were rejected because they were too radioactive and sent to a Canadian lab instead. Uranium prices are climbing amid a surge in reactor building, with over 50 projects now underway around the world and more in development.
The UK is looking to study ways to safely entomb high-level radioactive waste in geological formations and its Radioactive Waste Management is working with the University of Manchester's Dalton Nuclear Institute and the University of Sheffield to launch a Research Support Office. Lucy Bailey, head of the RWM Research Support Office, says the research will "build the knowledge and understanding required to underpin the safety case to deliver a [geological disposal facility] that deals permanently with the UK's higher-activity waste."
Department of Energy Undersecretary Mark Menezes has been confirmed by the Senate to become the next deputy secretary of energy under Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette. In his new role, Menezes will oversee a number of nuclear issues, including how the government plans to store nuclear waste.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission not to rule on the transfer of the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant's Unit 2 to EnergySolutions for decommissioning until after Aug. 10. The department says it is still working on a settlement agreement with EnergySolutions on the decommissioning plans, and expects a decision soon.