Progress being made on Nuclear Grand Challenges

January 24, 2022, 9:29AMNuclear NewsAndrew C. Klein

Early in my year as ANS vice president/president-elect, I was determined to try to find a project that the entire ANS community could rally behind and could be completed during my year as ANS president. I was looking for something that would provide community-identified focus areas for future activities and that would mobilize, energize, and inspire ANS members during that year and in the years ahead.

NWTRB to hold public meeting on DOE waste management, consent-based siting

January 24, 2022, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, an independent federal agency established by Congress to conduct ongoing technical and scientific evaluation of the Department of Energy’s efforts to manage and dispose of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste, will hold virtual public meetings on Tuesday, March 1, and March 2, to review recent DOE activities.

Predictions: What lies ahead for nuclear in 2022

January 21, 2022, 3:26PMNuclear News

As we begin a new year, it is natural not only to look back (see page 24 for top news stories of 2021) but also to look forward. Nuclear News reached out to leaders in the nuclear community to get their predictions on what 2022 has in store, whether broadly or for their specific areas within the community. Although the responses below are wide-ranging and varied, one thing is made clear by all of the respondents: 2022 will see growth and opportunity. The future for nuclear is bright.

Bill lifting restrictions on nuclear construction advances in West Virginia

January 21, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

A group of West Virginia state senators—four Republicans and four Democrats—is attempting to overturn the state’s effective ban on nuclear power plant construction.

On Wednesday, their bill, S.B. 4, was approved by the Senate Economic Development Committee. The lead sponsor for the legislation is Sen. Tom Takubo (R., Dist. 17).

House committee passes bipartisan university research infrastructure bill

January 21, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

A bipartisan bill to ensure that U.S. universities are equipped to play a key role in supporting the deployment of advanced nuclear technology and applications has been passed by the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

The National Nuclear University Research Infrastructure Reinvestment Act of 2021 (H.R. 4819) would boost investment in new and existing university nuclear science and engineering infrastructure, establish regional consortia to promote collaboration with industry and national laboratories, and support the development of advanced reactor technology and the workforce required for commercial advanced reactor deployment.

Savannah River engineers engage students in real-world problem solving

January 21, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News
From left to right, Richmond County Technical Career Magnet School (Team 1) students Leila Cortez, Jaidyn Moore, and Tamea Dunnom and teacher Carla Biley won third place in Best Engineering Student Design at the WORCshop@AU event. They are joined by Rick Connolly, SRNS operations and maintenance director and WORCshop@AU judge (second from right).

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS), the Department of Energy contractor responsible for the management and operations of the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, partnered with Augusta University to create WORCshop@AU, an education outreach opportunity to introduce local high school students to nuclear science careers by solving a real-world problem. The program concluded on December 9, when student teams presented their solutions during a friendly competition.

IPCC opens registration for expert review of draft report

January 20, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—the United Nations body established to assess the science related to climate change—is offering experts an opportunity to review the draft version of its Sixth Assessment Synthesis Report.

IPCC assessment reports are published every six to seven years. The Fifth Assessment Report, completed in 2014, provided the main scientific input to the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Interested experts can register for participation in the review here. Registration is open through March 13. The review period ends on March 20.

The case of the Pu-powered pacemaker

January 20, 2022, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe
The cover of the August 1969 issue of Nuclear News (left), an image of Brunhilde, the dog that had the first nuclear-powered pacemaker in the U.S. (center) and the cover of the December 1970 Nuclear News (right).

In this first installment of a #ThrowbackThursday post, Nuclear News provides a review of radioisotope-powered pacemakers in response to an article in The Wall Street Journal. The article, published earlier this week, looks at the issue of disposing of nuclear-powered pacemakers, although considering how few are still in use today, it seems like this is really much ado about nothing.

“Escape room” used to train Hanford employees in respiratory protection

January 20, 2022, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
Employees wearing supplied-air equipment work through clues in an “escape room” during respiratory protection training at Hanford’s Volpentest HAMMER Federal Training Center. (Photo: DOE)

A new respiratory protection course at the Department of Energy’s Hanford Site near Richland, Wash., features an “escape room” in which employees wear supplied-air equipment while they answer questions, discover clues, and solve puzzles in a simulated work environment.

Rita Baranwal joins Westinghouse as chief technology officer

January 20, 2022, 7:02AMNuclear News

Baranwal

Westinghouse Electric Company has appointed ANS member and Fellow Rita Baranwal chief technology officer to drive next-generation solutions for existing and new markets that align with the company’s strategy.

Baranwal’s appointment marks her return to Westinghouse, where she worked for nearly a decade in leadership positions in the global technology development, fuel engineering, and product engineering groups.

2022 ANS vice president/president-elect candidates provide statements

January 19, 2022, 3:15PMANS News

Ahead of the upcoming 2022 ANS national election, the nominees for vice president/president-­elect have prepared statements outlining their goals for ANS. The nominees are Bradley J. Adams, an ANS Fellow and member since 2009 and vice president of engineering at Southern Nuclear Company, and Kenneth S. Petersen, an ANS member since 1987 and a private consultant who recently retired from Exelon Generation as vice president of nuclear fuels.

The elected candidate will succeed current ANS vice president/president-­elect Steven Arndt in June 2022, when Arndt becomes president.

Ballots for the 2022 election will be sent electronically on February 22 and completed ballots must be submitted by 1 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, April 12.

Huff nominated to fill role of assistant secretary of energy for DOE-NE

January 19, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

Huff

Kathryn “Katy” Huff, who is currently serving as the Department of Energy's principal deputy assistant secretary of nuclear energy, has been nominated by President Joe Biden to head the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy as assistant secretary of energy. The role has been vacant since Rita Baranwal announced she was leaving the position on January 8, 2021.

Sustained commitment: Since Huff was named principal deputy assistant secretary of nuclear energy in May 2021, she has also served as acting assistant secretary of energy for nuclear energy.

Huff is on unpaid leave from her role as associate professor in the Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she led the Advanced Reactors and Fuel Cycles Research Group. Huff was also a Blue Waters assistant professor with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. Prior to joining the NPRE faculty at UIUC, Huff was a postdoctoral fellow in the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Nuclear Science and Security Consortium and the Berkeley Institute for Data Science at the University of California–Berkeley. Huff received her Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2013, and her undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Chicago.

U.K. government lauds progress at Hinkley Point C

January 19, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
From left: Nigel Cann, delivery director at Hinkley Point C, Helen Whately MP, Kwasi Kwarteng MP, and Jean-Bernard Lévy, chairman and chief executive officer of EDF. (Photo: EDF)

Despite last year’s announcement from EDF Energy that the startup of Unit 1 at Hinkley Point C would likely be delayed (from late 2025 to June 2026), current progress at the site is receiving praise from the U.K. government.

On January 13, Kwasi Kwarteng, secretary of state for business, energy, and industrial strategy, and Helen Whately, exchequer secretary of the treasury, toured the nuclear new-build project, accompanied by Jean Bernard Lévy, EDF’s chairman and chief executive.

Piercy's opening remarks at the ANS Winter Meeting

January 19, 2022, 7:04AMANS NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy
cpiercy@ans.org

ANS ended 2021 on a high note with our first post-pandemic national meeting, held in Washington, D.C. What follows is a lightly edited version of remarks, shorn of opening and closing pleasantries, that I gave to 500-plus attendees during the opening plenary session:

I think the big question everyone will be asking this week will be some form of “How did you spend the pandemic?” I can tell you how ANS spent the pandemic: on a strict quarantine diet and fitness program.

We’ve figured out how to maintain what we believe is a higher level of service on 20 percent fewer FTEs. We’ve rebuilt our digital infrastructure and have a firm path forward toward a modern data architecture. We are in the process of selling our headquarters building in La Grange Park, Ill., and moving to a smaller, more manageable footprint in suburban Chicago, with an outpost in Washington, D.C.

IEA to Canadian government: Step up support for nuclear

January 18, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News

The International Energy Agency’s newly published in-depth review of Canada’s energy policies, the first since 2015, urges the nation’s government to take more action in support of nuclear energy.

The 261-page report, Canada 2022 Energy Policy Review, released on January 13, features a 17-page section devoted to nuclear that includes four specific recommendations for Canada’s federal government:

DOE’s Environmental Management Office sets out 2022 cleanup priorities

January 18, 2022, 12:07PMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) has established its key priorities for calendar year 2022, covering planned cleanup, project construction, acquisition, and other important accomplishments to advance the office’s environmental and risk-reduction mission. EM is responsible for handling the nation’s Cold War environmental legacy resulting from five decades of nuclear weapons production and government-sponsored nuclear energy research.

“Our many accomplishments in 2021 positioned EM to achieve an equally challenging slate of priorities in 2022,” said EM senior advisor William “Ike” White. “Our 2022 priorities underscore our goals to accomplish cleanup that is safe and protective of our workforce, the public and the environment, and in a manner that is transparent to the communities that host and support our sites.”

Westinghouse partners with Czech companies for Dukovany project

January 18, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
Czech government officials and company representatives at the January 13 signing. (Photo: Czech Republic Ministry of Industry and Trade)

Westinghouse Electric Company has signed memorandums of understanding with seven companies in the Czech Republic. The MOUs, signed on January 13 at the Ministry of Industry and Trade in Prague, cover cooperation on the potential deployment of a Westinghouse AP1000 reactor at the Dukovany nuclear plant, as well as other potential AP1000 projects in Central Europe.

Nuclear technique for mosquito control breeds success in Cuba

January 18, 2022, 7:02AMNuclear News
Schools distributed information about the pilot trial in their communities, and schoolchildren participated in the biweekly release of sterilized male mosquitoes. (Photo: Manuel Fernández, Cuban Agency of Nuclear Energy)

Cuba’s plan to use the sterile insect technique to tackle the spread of dengue—a viral, mosquito-borne disease—relies on expertise and technology from the International Atomic Energy Agency. The technique is not new, having been used to control different insect-vector diseases in diverse regions of the world.

A call to action

January 17, 2022, 3:01PMNuclear NewsJohn C. Wagner

John C. Wagner

Like many of you, I have dedicated my career to the advancement of nuclear energy. We chose this path because clean energy changes lives. If we want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, end energy poverty, develop a U.S. power grid that is secure and resilient, and ensure national security, nuclear must be a significant part of the mix.

But let us acknowledge the reality of our situation. Nuclear power plants continue to close. New reactor projects are too often delayed by cost overruns and red tape. Not having solved the politics for a permanent repository, spent fuel sits at shut-down reactor sites.

We find ourselves perpetually running the hamster wheel, building paper reactors, and grinding our teeth as critics cloud public discourse by regurgitating old fears and clinging to the tired tropes of a bygone era.

Laws and sausages*—10 CFR Part 53

January 17, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear NewsSteven P. Nesbit

Steven P. Nesbit
president@ans.org

Interested parties are watching the real-­time development of 10 CFR Part 53—a new Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulation for constructing and operating advanced nuclear power reactors in the United States. In January 2019, the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act (NEIMA) required, among other things, that for commercial advanced nuclear reactors, the NRC must increase the use of risk-­informed, performance-­based licensing evaluation techniques and establish by the end of 2027 a technology-­inclusive regulatory framework that encourages greater technological innovation.

* “If you like laws and sausages, you should never watch either one being made.” – Otto von Bismarck.