Even though the 2021 Waste Management Symposia conference was limited to a virtual gathering, Veolia Nuclear Solutions (VNS) was pleased to be a part of the annual get together of top radioactive waste management practitioners and seized the opportunity to highlight the company’s global capabilities and growing strength in the U.S. nuclear market.
The VNS team’s presence at the event, which brings together top U.S. government officials, regulators, and industry experts from around the world, including a virtual booth and seven of its experts making formal presentations and appearing on key panel discussions. The conference theme “Reducing Risk Through Sound Technical Solutions” spoke to Veolia’s technological, operational and waste management capabilities and expertise.
A particular focus was highlighting how VNS’ global capabilities delivered through its five business lines of engineering, technology deployment, waste management and treatment, facility operations, and decontamination & decommissioning (D&D) and remediation can be leveraged for clients in the U.S. nuclear market.
Support the DOE on key nuclear sites
VNS - Federal Services currently provides expertise across the major DOE mission areas - infrastructure, waste management, D&D and remediation - at the Hanford, Oak Ridge, Paducah, Portsmouth and Idaho National Lab (INL) sites.
The company’s work at the INL is an example of how VNS - Federal Services lives the conference theme by deploying sound and innovative technical solutions to mitigate risk and help clients tackle the most significant environmental challenges.
At the INL site, VNS - Federal Services is supporting efforts at the Material Fuels Complex (MFC) to think through how to retrieve, process and establish disposition of legacy waste that previously was orphaned at the site. As example, in 2018 and over the period of less than a year, VNSFS commercially designed, built and commissioned a GeoMelt® vitrification system that took previously orphaned DOE INL wastes off-site for easier processing and disposal. The INL wastes that have been safely disposed of via the GeoMelt® process include more than 900 Fermi drums containing sodium-contaminated mixed low-level radioactive waste. Additional inventories of legacy waste are intended to also use this innovative treatment approach including INL’s Zero Power Physics Reactor plates.
VNS - Federal Services, a partner of choice
Bob Miklos, Director of Production Facilities at the INL MFC, said the work with VNS - Federal Services has been "exciting to watch unfold." Battelle Energy Alliance, which operates the INL, has been working with VNSFS on solutions for treating waste since 2016. This disposition approach also provides a means by which to process wastes generated in the future as a result of one of the INL’s main missions which is advanced reactor design work.
The GeoMelt® system was highlighted in two conference presentations, both of which detailed the work Veolia has done over the past decade to support the cleanup in Fukushima, Japan, and explaining how that expertise applies to the challenges faced in the DOE complex.
VNS - Federal Services experts also provided conference goers a look at the operations of the Environmental Restoration and Disposal Facility at Hanford, where it is managing and operating DOE’s largest landfill as a subcontractor to the Central Plateau prime contractor, and how Veolia has developed mechanisms to optimize production while continuing to operate in a safe and compliant manner.
Looking forward, Morrison said VNS - Federal Services sees a significant opportunity to add to its success by continuing to work with industry partners and successfully deploy the global expertise and capabilities offered by the broader group through its 5 business lines to the U.S. market.
“We’re a trusted, good-faith partner and will continue to aggressively pursue opportunities where our innovative technologies, deep well of experience, and operational acumen can benefit DOE and other U.S. government mitigation efforts,” Morrison said.