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Vermont Yankee accelerated decommissioning achieves milestone delivery of low-level waste for disposal

Press Release

August 27, 2020

Orano completes first shipment of the MP197HB transport cask containing Vermont Yankee reactor segments.

BETHESDA, Md., August 27, 2020 — Orano recently completed the first shipment of segmented reactor internals from the Vermont Yankee accelerated decommissioning site using its high-capacity shielded MP197HB transport cask.

The precision work to dismantle and remove the reactor vessel and its internal components continues to progress ahead of schedule. Orano is deploying state-of-the-art underwater cutting technology in a highly controlled environment to safely remove the activated parts, and package and transport them to Waste Control Specialists in Texas for disposal.

While two-thirds of the reactor vessel has already been segmented, packaged and shipped in shielded steel boxes, this most recent rail shipment was the first time materials were placed in Orano’s NUHOMS® RadWaste canister and transported in the MP197HB, the U.S. industry’s most robust and advanced dual-purpose transport cask for low-level radioactive waste (LLW) or used fuel.

Once it arrived at WCS, the RadWaste canister inside the transport cask was directly transferred into a disposal cask, sealed, and placed into the final disposal cell.

NorthStar and Orano, which are also members of Accelerated Decommissioning Partners (ADP), are actively dismantling the shutdown Vermont Yankee facility. The work is progressing on budget and on schedule to complete the decommissioning and site restoration by 2026, decades earlier than originally planned. The reactor segmentation scope by Orano is expected to be completed by mid-2021.

“In our experience, a complex project like this accelerated decommissioning requires reliable people and technology working a clearly defined plan in a strong safety culture,” said NorthStar and ADP CEO Scott State. “This successful transport is another example of expert teams doing what they do well.”

“These optimized segmentation, packaging and transportation capabilities enable us to deploy the right tools at the right time to safely and efficiently execute the decommissioning work,” said Fred Bailly, president of Orano Decommissioning Services in the U.S.

The robust shielding and large capacity of the MP197HB transport cask ensures the highest levels of safety and the fewest number of packages and offsite shipments to remove the segmented low-level reactor waste. The first MP197HB transport cask was manufactured and then delivered by Orano TN in November 2019, and immediately began operations. After crew training sessions with the new cask at Orano’s South Carolina training facility and at WCS, Orano TN delivered the cask to Vermont Yankee for its first mission.

“Our integrated solutions for managing decommissioning waste and our packaging and transportation expertise from our used fuel management business have combined in this successful milestone to deliver safety, certainty, and value to our customer and the U.S. nuclear industry,” said Sam Shakir, president and CEO of Orano USA.

About Orano USA: Orano USA is a key nuclear supplier of materials and services to the U.S. nuclear industry and the federal government, ranging from supplying nuclear fuel materials and in-house engineering to field service capabilities and applying decades of reactor decommissioning experience in dismantling, packaging, and transporting waste. Orano USA also provides the full suite of technologies and services for managing used nuclear fuel. Orano USA, through its subsidiary Orano Med in Texas, is developing cancer treatments using targeted radio-immunotherapy, with its first drug currently in FDA-authorized clinical trials.

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Orano's shielded MP197HB transport cask arrives at WCS with Vermont Yankee decommissioning waste for disposal. Image: © Orano.

Orano USA Press Office

Curtis Roberts
Press Officer
Orano USA
(202) 374-8766