Gender equity group reports on progress made

Gender Champions in Nuclear Policy (GCNP), launched in November 2018, has released a report on the progress made during its inaugural year toward its goal of achieving gender equity in the nuclear policy field. According to a May 28 announcement, the group has had “mostly positive results.”

NSUF rolls out new tool for materials researchers

To get a job done, you need the right tool. Researchers now have one that will make their job easier—the Radioactivity and Damage (RAD) Calculator from the Department of Energy’s Nuclear Science User Facilities.

Most experiments conducted through the NSUF have the same underlying goal: quantifying irradiation effects on nuclear fuels and materials. Rather than doing a back-of-the-envelope calculation or a costly in-depth analysis with a nuclear engineer, users now have the flexibility to rapidly change experimental design parameters—such as selecting the reactor to be used, the sample location within the reactor, displacements per atom desired, and the time frame—and see which NSUF reactor can produce the desired result, all within seconds.

Sponsored Content

Lead Lined Cabinets Custom Designed for Your Needs

By Paul Rochus , MarShield

Lead lined cabinets are utilized across a wide variety of industries including hospitals, nuclear medicine and the nuclear power industry. Some of the applications of shielded cabinets are for storing radioisotopes, radioactive waste, and providing shielding while operating x-ray tubes and protecting sensitive electronic devices from external radiation damage.

ANS backs NRC rulemaking on spent fuel reprocessing

Piercy

Nesbit

ANS Executive Director/CEO Craig Piercy sent a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on May 28 urging the agency to resume work on a proposed rulemaking to allow spent fuel reprocessing in the United States. As the letter explains, “the lack of an efficient, technically robust, and technology-inclusive regulatory foundation for reprocessing and recycling is a barrier to innovation.”

Steve Nesbit, who was recently elected ANS’s next vice president/president-elect, chairs the ANS Nuclear Waste Policy Task Force and helped develop the letter. ANS News staff talked with Nesbit about the development and goals of ANS’s participation in the NRC’s rulemaking process.

Lyons selected for Eisenhower Medal

Lyons

Peter B. Lyons, ANS Fellow and member since 2003, is set to receive the Dwight D. Eisenhower Medal in a virtual award ceremony presentation held June 8 during the 2020 ANS Virtual Annual Meeting. Lyons is being recognized for his influential leadership in nuclear technology policy over five decades and for the vital role he played in the nuclear renaissance of the early 21st century.

EDF submits application to build Sizewell C station

Artist’s rendering of the Sizewell site, with Sizewell C at right. Image: EDF Energy

Électricité de France subsidiary EDF Energy has submitted an application to the United Kingdom government’s Planning Inspectorate for a development consent order (DCO) to build a new power station, Sizewell C, at the Sizewell nuclear site in Suffolk. The agency received the application on May 27, after it had been deferred for two months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Feature Article

U.S. nuclear capacity factors: Resiliency and new realities

In the early years of the Nuclear News capacity factors survey, any factor over 70 was deemed excellent; any factor under 50 was considered poor. By that standard, all but two operating U.S. power reactors chalked up excellent performance during 2017–2019. A record 809.4 TWh of electricity was generated in the United States from nuclear energy in 2019, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), besting the record of 807.1 TWh set in 2018.

Nuclear News staff developed the capacity factors survey in the early 1980s as a way to identify the most productive reactors in an expanding fleet. Fleet improvement was the industry’s self-identified goal, but no one could anticipate the startlingly rapid pace of improvement, spurred by the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO), which boosted fleetwide performance to highs that continue today.

2019 enforcement cases up from 2018, but below five-year average

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently issued its Enforcement Program Annual Report for calendar year 2019, showing that 57 escalated enforcement actions were taken against NRC licensees last year. These actions included notices of violation (NOV ) of Severity Level III or higher, NOVs associated with findings of low-to-moderate, substantial, or high safety significance (color coded as white, yellow, or red findings, respectively), civil penalties, and orders, including confirmatory orders.

Nominations needed for the 2021 ANS election

Each year, ANS leaders are nominated and elected from among the dedicated nuclear technology professionals that make up the Society’s membership. Now is your chance to nominate candidates to run in the 2021 ANS national election for the offices of vice president/president-elect and treasurer and for five positions on the ANS Board of Directors. All terms will begin in June 2021.

Spotlight finds NREL in latest YMG webinar

The ANS Young Members Group (YMG) continues to deliver an in-depth look at the Department of Energy’s national laboratories through a series of live webinars called Spotlight on National Labs. The fourth and most recent webinar focused on the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), located in Golden, Colo., and its role in advancing clean energy technologies and their integration into the global energy system. “It is exciting to have the lead renewable energy national lab discuss their work toward a flexible grid of the future and system integration efforts among all carbon-free sources, including nuclear energy,” said Harsh Desai, YMG chair.

Final RFP issued for $6.4-billion cleanup contract

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management on May 27 issued a final request for proposals for the cleanup of the Idaho National Laboratory site, near Idaho Falls, Idaho, and the Fort Saint Vrain facility near Platteville, Colo. The 10-year contract for the projects—collectively called the Idaho Cleanup Project—has an estimated ceiling of about $6.4 billion.

Comments requested on proposed EP rule

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is taking comments on its “Proposed Rule for Emergency Preparedness for Small Modular Reactors and Other New Technologies,” published in the Federal Register on May 12. The proposed rule and associated draft regulatory guide apply to non–light-water reactors and certain nonpower facilities.

Final major module for Vogtle-3 installed

The CB-20 module being installed at Vogtle-3. Photo: Georgia Power

A massive water tank has been placed atop the containment vessel and shield building roof at Vogtle-3, one of two AP1000 reactors currently under construction at Southern Company’s nuclear expansion project near Waynesboro, Ga. The installation represents the final module placement for the unit and marks the latest significant milestone to be reached at the Vogtle site.

Nuclear-powered rockets could hold key to faster spaceships

An artist’s impression of what a nuclear thermal ship built to take humans to Mars could look like. Photo: NASA

There are a lot of reasons that a faster spaceship is a better one, and nuclear-powered rockets are a way to achieve this, according to an article posted on the Conversation website on May 20.

Study: Advanced reactors a good fit for Puerto Rico

The Nuclear Alternative Project (NAP), a nonprofit group supporting the use of advanced reactors in Puerto Rico, has released the findings of a preliminary feasibility study undertaken to explore in detail the potential for these devices on the Caribbean island. The 288-page study, Preliminary Feasibility Study for Small Modular Reactors and Microreactors for Puerto Rico, was sponsored by the Department of Energy. The study concludes that small modular reactors and microreactors could be part of Puerto Rico’s energy portfolio and potentially supply a substantial part of a strong and diverse zero-emission energy mix.