RSCS and EnergySolutions form Joint Venture to Decommission the N.S. Savannah


Salt Lake City, Utah – March 29, 2022 – Radiation Safety and Control Services Inc. (RSCS) and EnergySolutions, today announced a partnership to decommission the world’s first nuclear-powered merchant ship, the N.S. Savannah.


RSCS started working with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration in 2007 on Phase 1 decommissioning preparations and completed this phase in early 2021.  The RSCS-EnergySolutions Joint Venture (Nuclear Ship Support Services, LLC) is now conducting Phase II and Phase III decommissioning where remediation is expected to be complete mid-2023 and License termination expected to be completed by 2025.


“This ship is designed with a one-of-a-kind reactor and associated support systems,” stated Jay Tarzia, Executive Director, RSCS.  “The goal of the project is to safely and surgically decommission the ship, maintaining maximum ship integrity to preserve this national historic landmark.  To complete this job we have assembled a world-class team with our partners EnergySolutions to achieve this goal.


“This is a unique opportunity for EnergySolutions to apply our decommissioning experience to the decommissioning efforts of the N.S. Savannah and we value our partnership with RSCS on this important project,” said Ken Robuck, President and CEO of EnergySolutions.  “We are confident as a team we will safely decommission the Savannah applying lessons learned from our experience at commercial reactor decommissioning projects while at the same time preserving this national treasure.”


A National Historic, Nuclear Engineering and Mechanical Engineering Landmark, the N.S. Savannah was commissioned July 20, 1956 under President Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peach Program.”  The ship, originally constructed under a joint agreement between the U.S. DOT Maritime Division and the Atomic Energy Agency, is currently licensed with the NRC.  An 80 Mw reactor powered the ship, which weighs 9,570 tons with an overall length of 595 feet and was operated by a sixty-person crew.


Decommissioning activities include safely removing the control rod drive system, pressurizer, reactor pressure vessel, neutron shield tank, steam generators, primary system piping, reactor vessel and all primary system components.  All of this material is considered low-level waste and will be safely transported and disposed of at the EnergySolutions “Clive” disposal facility located in Utah’s West Desert.


Our joint team will carefully perform the decommissioning to preserve the ship for future use as a museum.


About Radiation Safety & Control Services (RSCS)

RSCS provides project management, technical, and laboratory services to the nuclear power industry, the Government, and other companies that use radioactive material.  We actively manage and support nuclear and radiological operations and decommissioning projects through our specialty services and staff augmentation.   Our project services, ISO/IEC accredited laboratory, and our manufacturing division provide state-of-the art solutions to our clients to improve quality and efficiency.  For more information about RSCS please visit


About EnergySolutions

EnergySolutions offers customers a full range of integrated services and solutions, including nuclear operations, characterization, decommissioning, decontamination, site closure, transportation, nuclear materials management, processing, recycling, and disposition of nuclear waste, and research and engineering services across the nuclear fuel cycle. For additional information about EnergySolutions visit 


For additional information about this announcement please contact Mark Walker at [email protected] or 801- 231 -9194.

Project website will be available in April to monitor project process.



Matthew Darois to Chair the ANS-2.32 Working Group

Radiation Safety and Control Services is excited to announce that our employee Matthew Darois, RSCS Environmental and Engineering Manager, has been requested to Chair the working group responsible for developing the proposed new standard ANS-2.32, “Guidance on the Selection and Evaluation of Remediation Methods for Subsurface Contamination”. In addition Mr. Darois has been invited to become an Executive Member of the American Nuclear Society, Decommissioning and Environmental Science Division. Mr. Darois has over 19 years of expertise in environmental science, hydrogeology, environmental characterization, Remediation, Final Status Survey (FSS) and CAD/GIS 2D and 3D modeling. His broad experience in the field of environmental science and hydrogeology has been applied to a wide range of projects for several industries including nuclear power & decommissioning, radiopharmaceuticals, radiotracer/research, property redevelopment/construction, waste management and disposal, and groundwater protection/remediation.

Learn more about how our Environmental Engineering services support the Nuclear Industry.

RSCS Regulatory and Technical Expertise Helps Nuclear Utility Avoid a NRC White Finding

In late 2020, RSCS was requested to assist the management of a Midwestern nuclear power plant in responding to a potential NRC inspection finding that was initially screened as White. NRC inspectors believed that during preparation of a radioactive resin shipment, plant personnel failed to meet regulatory requirements, resulting in a performance deficiency of low to moderate safety significance or White. The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) estimates the cost to a plant in response to a White finding is about $1 M due to necessary corrective actions and supplemental NRC inspection activities. The RSCS Team coordinated a two-prong attack on this situation.

Ellen Anderson teamed with the regulatory staff and Radiation Protection Manager (RPM) to assist in their response to NRC. She provided regulatory guidance and recommendations to plant staff based on her many years of experience in this area. She addressed the regulatory aspect by researching past NRC precedence on similar industry performance deficiencies that NRC had previously screened as Green, or low safety significance.

In addition, Nasser Rashidifard demonstrated his technical expertise by performing independent Microshield dose calculations on the resin liner in parallel with plant staff. His calculations were 100% aligned with that of the client, concluding that dose rates on the resin liner did not meet the criteria for a White finding.

Based on their independent reviews on the two perspectives, both Ellen and Nasser concluded that this performance deficiency constituted a Green finding, not a White one.  They were able to provide additional information to the client which allowed a more complete assessment of the regulatory significance.

In late January, RSCS was notified by a very pleased plant management that the final NRC screening of this finding was determined to be Green rather than White.  The RPM noted that their success in overturning the White finding was due to the of the RSCS team. Not only did this maintain the client’s regulatory margin with the NRC but also saved them a considerable expense.


Advanced Radiological Assessment Technology Demonstrated at RSCS Technology Expo for Nuclear Decommissioning Decision Makers

RSCS sponsored a Technology Expo at our Seabrook NH facility to demonstrate several high technology solutions to nuclear decommissioning decision makers who are planning for the D&D of complex non-routine nuclear sites. We have been working with several vendors of cutting-edge robotics, imaging and in-situ sampling technologies to provide a comprehensive solution for assessing high radiologically impacted areas. Our integrated technology solution combined with our years of experience in decommissioning drove impactful discussions on how to best approach some of the most difficult decommissioning projects in the USA. 

RSCS 3DCDE model of high radiation area

Our Technology Expo provided a detailed overview and full demonstration of how new technology can provide data that enhances our advanced modeling capabilities. RSCS has built powerful 3D Building Information Models (BIM) from nuclear facility designs and standard operational survey data sets and have developed dynamic and interactive asset inventories for several nuclear sites. Imaging and data collected from advanced technologies augment these complex models which are coupled to site and regional Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in one Common Data Environment (CDE), resulting in highly detailed 3D maps of radiological conditions within nuclear plants, their subsurfaces, and surrounding regions. We have harnessed the power of robotics and remote detection and sampling technologies to provide this data through radiological assessments that are ALARA and low risk. Once a remote survey is completed and data is integrated into 3DCDE models, plant management has the information they need to determine areas that are safe to perform more comprehensive manned surveys to further enhance the data set. Final models can then be used for decision making on workflow and execution. As D&D efforts proceed, the dynamic models can be routinely updated to track the removal of assets and source term and make determinations on the appropriate waste classifications and demolition sequences and strategies. RSCS experience has confirmed that detailed front-end and in-process characterizations provide the most efficient means for effective work planning, which positively impacts cost, schedule adherence, regulatory compliance and worksite safety.

FARO Trek robot with 3D mobile scanning for remote and autonomous data capture in challenging environments

Following a series of presentations, decision makers where provided with hands-on live demonstrations of the technologies discussed, which included the Trek robot that integrates LIDAR-scanning to provide comprehensive 3D models of an area, and the WARP robot that provides radiological dose rates, air sampling, smear data and gamma distribution and isotopic identification, imaging and mapping using H3D’s CZT detectors. Finally, our WARP was equipped with a Viridian Scope laser extraction system that sampled the surface layer of concrete for radioactive contamination. These remotely operated robots and assessment technologies can safely enter high radiation areas to provide data on the current conditions inside the impacted areas. This assessment solution provides our clients with the ability to investigate areas with ambient dose rates up to 100 R/h that are impractical to characterize using traditional techniques.

WARP robot with Viridian Scope laser extraction sampling for in-situ analysis of surface contamination

The robotic platforms demonstrated are industrial strength, can withstand harsh environments, fit into confined and constrained spaces, and navigate successfully around obstacles. The Trek robot was designed and built to perform complex navigational operations such as walking up stairs. WARP performs diverse analytical operations using a custom designed and built payload management system that allows for efficient room or cubicle entries. To test and demonstrate the capabilities of these robotic platforms and technologies, a full scale realistic shielded equipment room was built including components, radiological conditions and entry challenges. The mock-up environment provided an ideal backdrop for demonstrating the power and capacity of this next generation integrated technology solution.

RSCS is proud to offer this state-of-the-art technology to the nuclear decommissioning industry.  After our participants observed several full-scale live demonstrations, they were convinced of the readiness and utility of this technology for their sites and are already envisioning new ways to use this assessment technology to benefit their decommissioning efforts. RSCS looks forward to deploying this fully integrated and functioning capability and incorporating future technologies to our platforms to adapt to the needs of our clients across our industries.

Live Demo Videos:

MARSSIM Training Provided to Nuclear Professionals

Recently, RSCS delivered our first MARSSIM class in Omaha NE to fifteen experienced nuclear professionals. Our instructors Eric Darois and Heath Downey conducted the course and were able to relay their first-hand experiences in implementing the MARSSIM processes for characterization and final status surveys in support of decommissioning projects. 

One of everyone’s favorite topics, ‘Statistics’, was covered in great detail.  We hope that this module was able to help demystify some of the more confusing concepts. In addition, the course presented details on using specific statistical software products as well as some helpful tips on using EXCEL for data manipulation. 

Our team had a great week in Omaha and unexpectedly enjoyed some great seafood! Thanks to All in Attendance!

Ellen Anderson Appointed to HPS Power Reactor Section Board

Ellen Anderson - RSCSRSCS Director of Radiological Services, Ellen Anderson, was recently appointed to the board of the Power Reactor Section (PRS) of the Health Physics Society. This appointment recognizes Ellen’s extensive experience with the nuclear power industry in the areas of radiation protection, emergency preparedness, regulatory affairs, nuclear oversight and security, including a ten-year tenure as the Director of Radiation Safety and International Liaison for the Nuclear Energy Institute’s (NEI).

The PRS was formed in 1982 with the goal of exchanging technical, regulatory, and business practice information amongst professionals in the nuclear power industry. Over the years, the mission of the board has expanded to include outreach and educational materials on radiation science and nuclear plant electric power generation for educators. In addition, the section provides scholarships to students pursuing two and four-year degrees in radiation science.

Congratulations Ellen on this appointment to the board of the Power Reactor Section!

RSCS Staff Receives the ANL Board of Governors James B. Porter, Jr. Team Award for Outstanding Safety Performance

Building 350 - RSCSRSCS is proud to announce that our staff member, Michael Grimes, was awarded the Argonne National Laboratory Board of Governor’s James B. Porter, Jr. Team Award for Outstanding Safety Performance. This award is given annually to recognize a team of laboratory employees who promote and demonstrate the principles of integrated safety management. Michael’s team is recognized for contributing to the creation and sustenance of a positive safety culture and a commitment to excellence in workplace safety.

Our staff have been working for several years at the Argonne National Laboratory to support the Building 350 Legacy Project. Building 350 was commissioned in 1959 to fabricate plutonium fuels. At the time the building was dedicated, it was one of the worlds largest and most advanced facilities which produced fast-reactor fuel elements and fuel plates for fast reactor core configuration proof of concept designs, including the ZPR-6 and ZPR-9 assemblies. The laboratory was closed down in 1973, and was decommissioned between 1978-1983. The Building 350 Legacy Project is now focused on recycling thousands of Certified Reference Materials for use at other DOE facilities, and preparing the structure for reuse as a radiological facility.

We are glad to recognize Michael Grimes for this prestigious award. His performance reflects our core commitment to work place safety while conducting radiological consulting and project management services for our clients. Congratulations Michael!

RSCS Deploys Wide Application Robotics Platform – WARP – for Remote Measurement Applications

WARP -  RSCSRSCS has developed a Wide Application Robotics Platform – WARP – to support remote measurement applications. This platform is based upon a robot design manufactured by RADeCO, and offers several advantages for remote survey applications. Features include a small footprint of 20″x 17″x 17″, a carryload of 20 lbs, easily removed tires for contamination control, 4 hour runtime batteries that can be swapped out in the field, onboard lighting in all directions, front and rear cameras and an open air range of 200 meters plus for data transfer. WARP has the ability to carry a payload of detectors and access confined spaces with ease through remote wireless operation.

Initially, RSCS will deploy WARP configured with ISOCS detectors, low and high dose Radeye detectors, GPS modules for gamma walkovers, air sampling equipment and smear collection magazines. We envision expanding the capabilities of WARP by incorporating gamma spectroscopy detectors including CZT and mini HPGe, gamma cameras, Lidar survey equipment and thermal imaging technology.

RSCS has embraced cutting edge robotics technology for complex decommissioning work for decades. This new WARP system will expand our field technician’s ability to perform accurate surveys in high radiation areas efficiently and safely.

New Research Evaluates Anthropogenic Fossil Carbon Dioxide and Claims of Its Dominance and Role in Global Warming

Skrable article - RSCSAs many of you may know, the three owners of RSCS are all alumni of the University of Massachusetts – Lowell’s radiological health program. Their college mentors, Ken Skrable, George Chabot and Clay French, performed an exhaustive and compelling analysis of the potential cause (or lack-thereof) of global warming and prepared a scientific article that details their conclusions (links below). 

Most people believe that global warming is due to increases of CO2 released to the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels by humans (i.e. anthropogenic CO2). Here are a few things you may not know.

  1. ‘Most’ carbon in the environment contains a radioactive isotope of carbon (carbon-14) at low but measurable levels. This is formed by nuclear reactions in the upper atmosphere from radiation emitted by the sun at a very constant level over the eons. We use this fact to do carbon-dating of old bones and other old organic matter. The exception to this is fossil fuels, which has virtually no C-14 remaining because of its age and the 5,730 year half-life of C-14.
  2. NOAA has been conducting air sampling at 2 mountain-top locations since 1959 where they measure CO2 and C-14 in the atmosphere.

If burning fossil fuels were the culprit for increasing CO2 levels then we would see a predictable decrease of C-14 specific activity, as the lack of C-14 in fossil fuels would dilute the predictable C-14 in the atmosphere. As indicated in the Figure above, as the anthropogenic component increases, the specific activity of carbon-14 decreases in a very predictable way as a result of the dilution of the initial specific activity in 1750 by the anthropogenic fossil component. In 2020 (i.e. 270 y since 1750), the specific activity is 13.81 dpm/gC, and the anthropogenic fossil component is 51.07 ppm, which is 12.4% of the total carbon dioxide of 411.36 ppm (not shown in Figure). Thus, carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere in 2020 from the burning of fossil fuels does not dominate the total, and it cannot be the primary cause of global warming.

Attempts to present this analysis to NOAA with the hope of obtaining a review and constructive criticism of the approach and methodologies taken have not been successful. We believe the research conducted by Ken Skrable, George Chabot and Clay French provides an unbiased analysis that has scientific merit. While the conclusions provided may be contrary to what many believe, we are presenting this research as it may have significant implications on the issue of global warming, its world-wide cost, and global politics.

Three separate documents describing this issue in detail are available for review; a synopsis of the research, an essay “Anthropogenic-fossil and Non Fossil Components of Mauna Loa and Niwot Ridge Annual Mean Carbon Dioxide”, and the article “Anthropogenic Fossil Carbon Dioxide and Claims of Its Dominance and Role in Global Warming“.



RSCS deploys J.L. Shepherd Model 81 Cs-137 Beam Calibrator

J.L. Shepherd Model 81 Cs-137 Beam CalibratorThis week, RSCS performed our first instrument calibrations using a newly acquired J.L. Shepherd Model 81 Cs-137 open beam calibrator.  This dual source calibrator has an exposure rate range of 100 microR/h to 4 R/h, increasing the laboratory’s ability to provide open beam calibrations at higher exposure rates. By bringing the Model 81 calibrator on-line, we have significantly increased our laboratory’s throughput capacity which will have a positive impact on our turn times for gamma detection instrument calibrations.

The Model 81 calibrator is a fully automated system that is controlled remotely using a control panel to set the distance to the source along a rail assembly, apply attenuators and actuate the sources.  In addition, exposures can be set using timers to remove operator error when calibrating integrated dose instruments.  Finally, the Model 81 has several safety features that will automatically shield the sources, including an optical sensor that detects movement into the beam area, and a SCRAM button.   

RSCS developed and implemented a detailed training program on the use of the Model 81 for our laboratory technicians and have added this calibrator to our ISO/IEC 17025:2017 Scope of Accreditation provided by ANAB.  Providing accredited calibrations using the Model 81 demonstrates our on-going commitment to providing fast, cost effective and high quality instrument calibrations to our clients.