Wanted: Information leading to a neutron source for fusion energy R&D

March 29, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News

The Department of Energy’s Office of Science published a notice in the March 27 Federal Register calling for input on technological approaches to a Fusion Prototypic Neutron Source (FPNS) for materials irradiation research under DOE-SC’s Fusion Energy Sciences program, as well as partnership models that could accelerate the construction and delivery of the facility. The request for information (RFI) calls for responses by May 11.

Reliable testing under all conditions

March 29, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear NewsChristoph Gatzen and Simon Lemin
VR glasses from manufacturer RealWear.

The challenges of climate change are bringing nuclear energy back into focus. Even in Germany, which decided on a general nuclear phaseout in 2011 as a response to the Fukushima disaster that year, nuclear energy is again being discussed as a bridging technology. Compared with fossil fuels, nuclear saves considerable greenhouse gases. However, for a holistic view of CO2 emissions from power plants, the procurement, maintenance, and repair of plant components must also be considered. At the very least, the CO2 emissions caused by the high costs of testing and maintaining a nuclear power plant can be reduced.

Last Energy sets up microreactor deals for Poland and the U.K.

March 29, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News
A rendering of Last Energy's nuclear power plant. (Image: Last Energy)

Startup company Last Energy has announced power purchase agreements for 34 units of its 20-MWe nuclear power plants with four industrial partners in Poland and the United Kingdom. In total, according to the company, the deals represent more than $18.9 billion in electricity sales.

DOE makes efforts to develop an inclusive STEM workforce

March 28, 2023, 3:02PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Participants in a job fair at the recent 2023 Waste Management Symposia visited a booth hosted by DOE representatives. A virtual component of the job fair is available through March 31. (Photo: DOE)

More than 300 employees from the Department of Energy's Office of Environmental Management (EM) have recently retired, resulting in a large amount of job vacancies across the cleanup program, according to the DOE.

EM’s Workforce Management Office is implementing recruitment efforts to fill the vacancies with college graduates, early career professionals, mid-career candidates, and seasoned veterans.

According to the DOE, "The open positions offer opportunities across many different disciplines, including engineering, science, business, management, safety and information technology."

U.S., Indonesia partner on SMRs

March 28, 2023, 12:01PMNuclear News
Dignitaries assemble after the signing of a memorandum of agreement to help Indonesia develop a nuclear energy program. Among those at the signing were Indonesia's minister for economic affairs Airlangga Hartarto, U.S. ambassador to Indonesia Sung Y. Kim, and U.S. Department of State principal deputy assistant secretary Ann Ganzer. (Photo: State Dept./Erik A. Kurniawan)

The United States and Indonesia have announced a strategic partnership to help the latter nation develop its nuclear energy program, supporting its interest in deploying small modular reactors to meet energy security and climate goals.

NRC to start review of NuScale uprated SMR design

March 28, 2023, 9:31AMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently announced that it will begin reviewing most of the standard design approval (SDA) application for NuScale Power’s uprated small modular reactor technology, with the remainder of the review on hold until the company provides additional details on a key safety topic.

Moving mixed loads creating efficiencies in U.K. rail transportation

March 28, 2023, 7:01AMRadwaste SolutionsBeverley Stothart
Two British Class 88 locomotives transport a nuclear waste flask wagon across Great Britain. (Photos: NTS)

Since its formation in 2005, the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has been tasked with ensuring that the U.K.’s nuclear legacy sites are decommissioned and cleaned up safely, securely, cost-effectively, and in ways that protect the people and the environment.

Donalds, Barnard call for streamlining NRC’s regulatory process

March 27, 2023, 2:59PMNuclear News



“To be frank, any emissions-related climate goals are moonshots without nuclear energy, and next-generation nuclear technology is something that the United States can and SHOULD lead on.” So writes U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds (R., Fla.) and Christopher Barnard, vice president of external affairs for the American Conservation Coalition, in an essay published by RealClear Energy.

Good news: Donalds, one of the strongest advocates for nuclear energy in the U.S. House, and Barnard, publisher and coauthor of Green Market Revolution, begin their essay by noting some recent positive developments for nuclear power. They characterize the initial criticality of Vogtle-3, the first new nuclear reactor built in the United States in about 30 years, as “a monumental achievement for the American nuclear industry.” They praise the Biden administration’s allocation of funds to keep established nuclear plants operational.

Monticello taken off line due to tritium leak

March 27, 2023, 12:01PMNuclear News

A recurring leak of water containing tritium has led to the temporary shutdown of Xcel Energy's Monticello nuclear power plant, in Minnesota.

“While the leak continues to pose no risk to the public or the environment, we determined the best course of action is to power down the plant and perform the permanent repairs immediately,” said Chris Clark, president of Xcel Energy–Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, in a March 23 news release. “We are continuing to work with and inform our state, federal, city, and county leaders in the process.”

Powering down the reactor to shutdown condition started last Friday.

University of Missouri to expand isotope production with new research reactor

March 27, 2023, 9:31AMNuclear News
Situated in a 30-foot-deep pool, the 10 MW core of MURR is used to irradiate samples and produce isotopes for medical radiopharmaceuticals and research. (Photo: University of Missouri)

The University of Missouri intends to build a new, larger research reactor to produce medical radioisotopes, announcing that it intends to issue a request for qualification/request for proposal (RFQ/RFP) in April to solicit interest from qualified parties to provide preliminary designs and industry partnerships for the new reactor project, called NextGen MURR.

Waste Management 2023: Hot topics for the DOE

March 27, 2023, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
Panelists speak at the 2023 Waste Management Symposia “Hot Topics” session. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) has made great progress in accomplishing its cleanup of legacy radioactive waste but has yet to tackle its most challenging tasks, including the treatment of liquid tank waste at the Hanford, Idaho, and Savannah River sites. That was the consensus of the DOE-EM officials who took part in a panel session of the 2023 Waste Management Symposia, held February 26–March 2 in Phoenix, Ariz.

Nuclear power developments in China and the world

March 24, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear NewsMingguang Zheng, Fan Yu, and Li Bao

The development of human society and technology is closely correlated to the means of energy acquisition, utilization method, efficiency, and spectrum of applications. High quality of life and sustainable socioeconomic development require a sustainable and reliable energy supply. Wealth, health, food, water, infrastructure, education, and even life expectancy itself strongly correlate with the consumption of energy per capita. Having an adequate, reliable, affordable, eco-friendly, and sustainable supply of energy is becoming more crucial for economic development and improving human well-being.

Requested NRC budget tops $1 billion

March 24, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News

The White House’s recently released budget request for fiscal year 2024 would provide $1.006 billion in gross budget authority for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission—an increase of $63.2 million, or about 6.7 percent, from the enacted FY 2023 level. According to the agency, the boost is largely for increased salaries and benefits “consistent with the Office of Management and Budget guidance.”

DOE-NE offers inside look at FY 2024 budget request

March 24, 2023, 8:55AMNuclear News

While President Biden’s $6.9 trillion budget proposal for fiscal year 2024, submitted to Congress on March 9, was quickly pronounced “dead on arrival” by Sen. John Barrasso (R., Wyo.), it remains valuable as an indicator of the administration’s funding priorities for the coming year, including its nuclear energy priorities.

Which is why ANS on Wednesday hosted “An Inside Look at the FY 2024 Budget,” a members-only webinar moderated by ANS Executive Director/CEO Craig Piercy and featuring a team from the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy, including DOE-NE head Kathryn Huff.

GEH Nuclear Energy celebrates three-nation plan for BWRX-300 standard design

March 23, 2023, 3:03PMNuclear News
A technical collaboration agreement was signed by (seated from left) Jay Wileman, GEH; Jeff Lyash, TVA; Ken Hartwick, OPG; and Rafał Kasprów, SGE; and was observed by dignitaries and an audience both in-person and online. (Photo: TVA)

“I’m glad you came to our party!” said GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) chief nuclear officer Nicole Holmes as she prepared to announce that Wilmington, N.C.–based GEH will develop a standard design for its BWRX-300 boiling water small modular reactor with not one but three power producers representing three countries: Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Ontario Power Generation (OPG), and Synthos Green Energy (SGE). Celebration was a theme throughout the March 23 event held in Washington, D.C., which was flush with dignitaries representing the United States, Canada, and Poland.

Report describes economic and environmental benefits of Seabrook

March 23, 2023, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Seabrook nuclear power plant, located in southern New Hampshire. (Photo: NextEra Energy)

According to a new study conducted by the economics consulting firm Analysis Group, “Massachusetts utilities could save their customers $880 million to more than $2 billion by 2032 by entering into a long-term power purchase contract with the Seabrook Station nuclear plant.” The study, Economic and Environmental Benefits to Massachusetts from the Operation of the Seabrook Nuclear Plant, also found that operation of the plant through 2032 is expected to contribute as much as $2.9 billion to the state’s economy and reduce regional greenhouse gas emissions by 5 million tons per year.

Shipping Vermont Yankee’s LLW: Lessons for transporting used fuel

March 23, 2023, 9:30AMRadwaste SolutionsJay Thomas, Mike Valenzano, and Nicolas Guibert
A loaded MP197HB cask is prepared for departure from the Vermont Yankee decommissioning site to West Texas. (Photos: Orano TN)

The rapid changes in the nuclear energy industry over the last decade, driven in part by fluctuating energy market prices and an aging fleet of reactors, have led to the closure of multiple reactors in the United States and other countries. These closures have increased the need for larger and more efficient ways to manage low-level radioactive waste processing and transport capacities. The safe transport of radioactive material is a key component of the overall nuclear industry reliability. Though sometimes perceived as a bottleneck and costly, it is necessary to send waste material to disposal.

NRC pushes decision on Holtec CISF to May

March 23, 2023, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has delayed issuing a decision on the licensing of Holtec International’s proposed consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) in New Mexico for at least two more months. In a letter sent to Holtec on March 20, the NRC said the delay was “due to unforeseen resource constraints.”