A message from Westinghouse
Nuclear Fire Protection & Physical Security Value Studies
Westinghouse Electric Company and Ontario Power Generation have signed a memorandum of understanding establishing a framework to identify potential areas of cooperation for the deployment of nuclear technologies in Canada, the companies jointly announced this morning. (While based in Cranberry Township, Pa., Westinghouse is owned by Canadian firms Brookfield Asset Management and Cameco.)
Savannah River Nuclear Solutions’ Supply Chain Management (SCM) team recently hosted its first staff augmentation summit to strengthen relationships with 25 staffing firms and provide upcoming process changes for fiscal year 2024.
The 2023 Materials in Nuclear Energy Systems (MiNES 2023) meeting will take place December 10–14 in New Orleans, La. The third installment of MiNES, this year’s conference will focus on cutting-edge research in the fission reactor materials community.
Personnel from the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management and the National Nuclear Security Administration recently gathered to discuss plans for the upcoming transfer of landlord responsibility for the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.
Framatome Inc. and Ultra Safe Nuclear Corp. (USNC) signed an agreement on November 28 at the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris, France, establishing a joint venture to manufacture nuclear fuel for USNC’s gas-cooled microreactor and other advanced reactor designs. Working together, the companies plan to produce commercial quantities of TRISO fuel particles and USNC’s proprietary Fully Ceramic Microencapsulated (FCM) fuel, which contains TRISO fuel particles within a ceramic fuel pellet.
The Department of Energy plans to award one or more contracts to deconvert high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) from its post-enrichment gaseous uranium hexafluoride (UF6) state to other chemical forms, such as metal or oxide. The DOE’s final request for proposals (RFP) for deconversion services was issued November 28 as one part of the agency’s effort—under the HALEU Availability Program—to establish a reliable domestic supply of advanced reactor fuel. The DOE will store the deconverted material until it is required by a fuel fabricator or other end user.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced that it will hold a hybrid public meeting on December 7 to discuss the license termination process and to accept comments on the remaining cleanup activities under the license termination plan for the Crystal River-3 nuclear power plant in Crystal River, Fla.
Saskatchewan premier Scott Moe yesterday announced C$80 million (about $59 million) for the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) to pursue demonstration of Westinghouse Electric Company’s eVinci microreactor technology.
Researchers at Idaho National Laboratory in early 2023 manufactured commercial-grade high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) fuel pellets to the specifications of a General Electric accident tolerant fuel design, INL announced November 21. A team working at INL’s Experimental Fuels Facility at the Material and Fuels Complex fabricated about two dozen uranium dioxide pellets using HALEU enriched up to 15 percent U-235.
The United Kingdom has announced a new partnership with South Korea to accelerate the clean energy transition by strengthening cooperation on low-carbon technologies, domestic climate policies, and civil nuclear energy.
Signed November 22 in London by British energy security and net zero secretary Claire Coutinho and South Korean minister for trade, industry, and energy Moon Kyu Bang, the partnership promotes U.K.-South Korean business collaboration, addressing barriers to trade and encouraging mutual development of the two nations’ energy sectors.
Here is a recap of industry happenings from the recent past:
Centrus-Oklo partnership expands
Oklo, a California-based developer of next-generation fission reactors, has expanded its partnership with Centrus Energy, a Maryland-based supplier of nuclear fuel and services. The two companies have been cooperating since 2021 on the development of Centrus’s American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon, Ohio, to produce high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) fuel. According to the companies’ new memorandum of understanding, Centrus will manufacture certain components for Oklo’s Aurora “powerhouse” reactor, a fast neutron reactor designed to generate up to 15 MW of power and operate for at least 10 years without refueling. The Aurora is also designed to produce usable heat. Centrus also has agreed to purchase electricity generated by the Aurora reactors, while Oklo has agreed to purchase HALEU fuel from the Piketon facility. The facility is expected to begin fuel production before the end of the year.
A notice of opportunity from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was published in the November 22 Federal Register to intervene in an adjudicatory hearing on Kairos Power’s application for a construction permit to build the Hermes 2 test reactor facility in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
Commissioning has begun on a new large-scale ventilation system at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico.
The Safety Significant Confinement Ventilation System (SSCVS) is expected to increase underground airflow from 170,000 cubic feet per minute up to 540,000 cfm. The increased airflow will allow for simultaneous underground waste emplacement, mining, and ground control work. Ground control, including bolting, controls the movement of salt rock—known as salt creep—in the WIPP underground.
This spring, Waste Management Symposia will celebrate its 50th anniversary when the conference convenes in Phoenix, Ariz., on March 10–14, 2024. Since the first international conference in 1974, WMS has grown to nearly 3,000 attendees representing more than 30 countries. The conference is an open forum for the exchange of information and discussion of opportunities related to all aspects of radioactive waste and materials management. As a nonprofit organization, all proceeds from the WMS conference go toward providing education and information on global radioactive waste management.
Ontario Power Generation and its Laurentis Energy Partners (LEP) subsidiary have announced details of a master services agreement with SaskPower to further Saskatchewan’s plans for small modular reactor deployment.
The agreement, announced on November 20, runs for up to five years and serves as a foundation for a long-term strategic partnership to streamline SMR development in the province. LEP is tasked in the agreement with program management, licensing, and operational readiness activities.
If you head west out of Idaho Falls on U.S. Highway 20 and make your way across the Snake River Plain, it won’t be long before you’ll notice a silver dome in the distance to the north. One of the most recognizable structures in the history of nuclear energy, Experimental Breeder Reactor-II stands out from the desert landscape. The 890-square-mile site on which EBR-II is located is the former National Reactor Testing Station, now known as Idaho National Laboratory.
The Philippines generates none of its electricity from nuclear energy. Until recently, it was even without a functioning research and training reactor. The lack of a nuclear facility has led to a dearth of scientific expertise in nuclear science and nuclear engineering in this nation of roughly 117 million people. Twenty-nine-year-old Ronald Daryll E. Gatchalian is on a mission to change that.
We’re failing to decarbonize the world in any significant way. Global greenhouse gas emissions are still rising and appear on track to continue rising until at least 2040—the result of energizing the developing world.
I hope you are doing well. We haven’t talked in a long time. I know you’ve moved on. But you know it’s been harder for me to do that.
Look, I’m sorry. I was forceful at times, and I know that made you feel trapped and caused you to question our relationship—pretty much from the beginning. But you also said some mean and untrue things about me. Your family still HATES me, which stinks, because we have a lot of history together.
Anyhow, just wanted to let you know that, while I might always hold out hope for a chance encounter with you that rekindles that old spark—and I will never part with our memory box—I am finally ready to move on to the next chapter of my life, and I understand that means letting go of you.