Holtec completes acquisition of Michigan’s Palisades and Big Rock Point

June 29, 2022, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
The Palisades nuclear power plant. (Photo: Holtec International)

Holtec International announced on June 28 that it has completed the acquisition of the Palisades nuclear power plant and the Big Rock Point site from Entergy Corporation. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the license transfer for the two sites, both located in Michigan, in December 2021.

Purdue–Duke Energy launch lecture series on advanced nuclear technology

June 29, 2022, 12:04PMANS Nuclear Cafe

A new lecture series launched by Purdue University and Duke Energy is designed to educate the public about small modular reactors and other advances in nuclear energy. The series stems from an ongoing comprehensive joint study by Purdue and Duke, announced in April, which is investigating the feasibility of using SMRs to meet the campus’s energy needs.

Saskatchewan picks BWRX-300 for potential deployment

June 29, 2022, 9:28AMNuclear News
A cutaway image of the BWRX-300. (Image: GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy)

Following an assessment of several small modular reactor technologies, SaskPower has chosen GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy’s (GEH’s) BWRX-300 SMR for potential deployment in Saskatchewan in the mid-2030s, the Canadian utility announced earlier this week.

Cocooning of Hanford’s K East Reactor begins

June 29, 2022, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
The first steel columns, each weighing up to 28 tons, were placed for a cocoon over the former K East Reactor building at the Hanford Site. (Photo: DOE-EM)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) said that construction is well underway on a protective enclosure, or cocoon, for the K East Reactor building at the Hanford Site near Richland, Wash.

EM reports that is has achieved one of its key construction priorities for 2022 by beginning construction of the enclosure, which is designed to protect the reactor building while the radioactivity in the deactivated reactor core decays over the next several decades, making it safer and easier to decommission.

A time-lapse video showing the construction of the cocoon’s massive 120-foot steel frame can be seen here.

EDF makes latest move to build EPRs in Poland

June 28, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

Électricité de France has signed cooperation agreements with five Polish companies as it continues its efforts to be named the large-reactor supplier for Poland’s incipient nuclear power program.

Polish firms Polimex Mostostal, Sefako, Tele-Fonika Kable, Uniserv, and ZRE Katowice inked the pacts at the fifth Polish-French Nuclear Industry Day in Ołtarzew, Poland. According to EDF, the event was held to foster collaboration between Polish and French companies in support of the utility giant’s offer to deliver four to six EPRs for the Polish program.

New IAEA database to collect data on NORM exposure for industrial workers

June 28, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
A shot from a coal mine in Poland. (Photo: IAEA)

The International Atomic Energy Agency has launched a new database of the Information System on Occupational Exposure in Medicine, Industry, and Research (ISEMIR) for workers in industrial processes involving naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM). The new database, ISEMIR-N, joins two existing databases in the ISEMIR system: ISEMIR-IC, for workers in interventional cardiology, and ISEMIR-IR, for workers in industrial radiography.

CNSC renews Point Lepreau license for 10 years

June 28, 2022, 7:07AMNuclear News
Point Lepreau nuclear power plant. (Photo: Andre Bussiere)

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has renewed the operating license of the reactor at the Point Lepreau nuclear plant for a period of 10 years. As a result, the facility’s 660-MWe CANDU-6 unit, the five-year license for which was set to expire on June 30, is now permitted to operate until the end of June 2032. License holder NB Power had requested an unprecedented 25-year extension.

How is EPRI supporting plant life extensions?

June 27, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News

Many nuclear plants have operating licenses that extend beyond their original term of 40 years to 60 years, and many are expected to operate to 80 years or even beyond. The Electric Power Research Institute helped formulate the technical basis for up to 80 years of nuclear power plant operation. Based on this experience, EPRI has developed a systematic approach to maintaining the technical basis for long-term operation.

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New Miss Wisconsin is nuclear energy advocate

June 27, 2022, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Nuclear energy will have an unusually prominent platform in December, when the new Miss Wisconsin, Grace Stanke, competes in the Miss America 2023 competition at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Stanke, who is a nuclear engineering student at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and an ANS student member, was crowned on June 18. For her social impact initiative speech, Stanke, expressed a desire to advocate for the use of green energy—especially nuclear energy—during her one-year reign as Miss Wisconsin.

Growing and sustaining a nuclear team

June 27, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear NewsTanya Hamilton

Tanya Hamilton

How do you grow a nuclear team? At Duke Energy, we do it by being reliable, innovative, and forward looking. Since 1967, we’ve been growing our nuclear generation to produce life-essential, carbon-free electricity for millions of customers in our communities. Safe, reliable, cost-effective nuclear generation.

Nuclear generation is an essential component of Duke Energy’s overall climate strategy, with the goal of net-zero carbon emissions from electric generation by midcentury. Net zero is achieved when greenhouse gas emissions are counterbalanced and removed from the atmosphere, achieving “climate neutrality.” Duke’s nuclear fleet produces more than 50 percent of the electricity consumed by our Carolinas customers and more than 80 percent of the carbon-free electricity generated company-wide. In 2021, our nuclear fleet matched its record capacity factor of 95.7 percent and avoided the release of 50 million tons of carbon dioxide.

Groups prod G7 to support nuclear for climate, security

June 27, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News

A group of six organizations have issued a statement to world leaders currently gathered at the G7 summit in Germany that highlights nuclear energy’s strengths in addressing the current global challenges of environmental sustainability and energy security and urges additional support.

Carbon value: Lifetime extensions of nuclear reactors could save billions in climate mitigation costs

June 24, 2022, 2:49PMNuclear NewsBeth Burmahl

On the road to achieving net-zero by midcentury, low- or no-carbon energy sources that slash carbon dioxide emissions are critical weapons. Nevertheless, the role of nuclear energy—the single largest source of carbon-free electricity—remains uncertain.

Nuclear energy, which provides 20 percent of the electricity in the United States, has been a constant, reliable, carbon-free source for nearly 50 years. But our fleet of nuclear reactors is aging, with more than half of the 92 operating reactors across 29 states at or over 40 years old—the length of the original operating licenses issued to the power plants. While some reactors have been retired prematurely, there are two options for those that remain: retire them or renew their license.

Bruce Power announces milestone in medical Lu-177 production

June 24, 2022, 12:01PMNuclear News
The new IPS installed in Bruce Power’s Unit 7 will produce Lu-177 for treating cancer. (Photo: Bruce Power)

An international collaboration between Bruce Power, Isogen (a joint venture of Kinectrics and Framatome), and ITM Isotope Technologies Munich SE, announced a milestone marking the first time that lutetium-177, a short-lived medical radioisotope, has been produced in a commercial nuclear power reactor.

Georgia Power sued by Vogtle co-owners

June 24, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
Vogtle Units 3 and 4, with Units 1 and 2 in the background. (Photo: Georgia Power)

Both Oglethorpe Power Corporation and the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG), two co-owners of the Vogtle nuclear plant, have filed lawsuits against Southern Company subsidiary Georgia Power, the facility’s primary owner.

Oglethorpe and MEAG are 30 percent and 22.7 percent owners, respectively, of Vogtle. Georgia Power holds a 45.7 percent share. (Dalton Utilities, which owns 1.6 percent of the plant, is not involved in the suits.)

FPL files report, asks NRC to reinstate Turkey Point’s 20-year subsequent renewal term

June 24, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News
Turkey Point nuclear plant. (Image: FPL)

Florida Power & Light (FPL) has submitted a supplemental environmental report to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in support of the subsequent renewed licenses for Turkey Point Units 3 and 4. According to a June 22 NRC press release, FPL’s report was submitted on June 10 to satisfy a “deficiency” in subsequent license renewal applications (SLRA) that rely on the generic environmental impact statement (GEIS) on license renewal and is being reviewed prior to docketing. William D. Maher, director of nuclear licensing projects at FPL, submitted the report, noting that “FPL’s review did not identify any information materially changing the impact assessments” in the NRC’s supplemental GEIS for the Turkey Point licenses.

Nuclear museum to host virtual event on gay Manhattan Project scientist

June 23, 2022, 3:03PMANS Nuclear Cafe

John Ibson

In an era where being openly gay could get you blacklisted, how was one scientist able to keep his high-security clearance level with the Manhattan Project and beyond? To find out, attend the virtual event “A ‘Lavender Lad’ with a Security Clearance: A Gay Scientist and Homophobia in Midcentury America” on June 24 at 4:00 p.m. (EDT). The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History is sponsoring the event and the featured speaker is John Ibson, professor emeritus of American studies at California State University–Fullerton.

The webinar, which requires advance registration, is free for members of the museum. Members can obtain a promo code by emailing the museum’s membership associate, Jennifer Thompson. For others, the registration fee is $10.

Orano, TerraPower get vouchers to study LEU+ transport and chlorine chemistry

June 23, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
A rendering of the MCRE. (Image: Southern Company)

The Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) awarded vouchers to Orano Federal Services and TerraPower on June 22, giving them access to specialized facilities and expertise at Department of Energy national laboratories. Orano is partnering with Oak Ridge National Laboratory on a new technical study that updates the physical chemistry limits for the safe transport of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas enriched up to 10 percent in existing shipping containers, and TerraPower is turning to Los Alamos National Laboratory’s neutron testing capabilities to measure the properties of chlorine isotopes and determine how they will behave in the Molten Chloride Reactor Experiment (MCRE).

U.S. Supreme Court rules against Hanford workers’ comp law

June 23, 2022, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
An aerial view of Hanford’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant in 2021. (Photo: Bechtel National)

The U.S. Supreme Court on June 21 struck down a Washington state workers’ compensation law that was designed to make it easier for workers at the Department of Energy’s Hanford Site to receive compensation benefits. The court, by unanimous decision, found that the law violates the U.S. Supremacy Clause and discriminates against the federal government and its contractors.

Located near Richland, Wash., the Hanford Site produced plutonium for the U.S. weapons program for more than 40 years and is currently undergoing a massive radiological cleanup mission involving around 10,000 workers.

U.K. fusion energy projects get regulatory clarity to speed deployment

June 23, 2022, 7:01AMNuclear News
The Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP), shown here, is a government-backed prototype fusion energy plant planned for operation in the U.K. in the early 2040s. (Image: UKAEA)

Future fusion energy facilities will continue to be regulated by the Environment Agency (EA) and Health & Safety Executive (HSE), the U.K. government announced June 20, and existing law on nuclear regulations will be amended to exclude fusion energy facilities from nuclear fission regulatory and licensing requirements. The move was announced by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) with the expectation it would provide “clarity to developers of prototype/demonstration fusion facilities currently being planned to support rapid commercialization.”