The U.S. Army’s Deactivated Nuclear Power Plant Program

November 24, 2021, 2:30PMNuclear Newsthe U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, Deactivated Nuclear Power Plant Program staff
The Sturgis is towed from the Galveston, Texas, pier to the shipping channel on September 25, 2018, as it heads toward Brownsville, Texas, for final shipbreaking and recycling. Over the past three years in Galveston, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been implementing the challenging and complex effort to decommission the MH-1A—the deactivated nuclear reactor that was onboard the Sturgis vessel.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Baltimore District, is home to the North Atlantic Division’s Radiological Health Physics Regional (RHPR) Center of Expertise, which is leading the decommissioning of Army reactors.

From 1956 to 1976, the Army’s nuclear power program operated several small nuclear reactors to confirm the feasibility of their meeting military power needs on land. Three Army reactors were deactivated in the 1970s and placed into safe storage awaiting future decommissioning.

The American Nuclear Society supports keeping Diablo Canyon open

November 24, 2021, 11:08AMPress Releases
A whale swims off the coast by Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. (Image: PG&E)

The American Nuclear Society supports the continued operation of California's Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. The premature shutdown of Diablo Canyon units 1 and 2, slated respectively in November 2024 and August 2025, will inflict grave harm to California's economy and environment.

NNSA expands Minority Serving Institution Partnership Program

November 24, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration has awarded nine grants totaling $38.8 million to build more partnerships with minority-serving institutions (MSIs), leverage untapped students, and expand its talent pipeline. Known as the Minority Serving Institution Partnership Program (MSIPP), it now has 24 active consortia partnerships encompassing 46 schools.

Power uprate approved for Millstone’s Unit 3

November 24, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear News
Millstone nuclear power plant

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has granted Dominion Energy’s request for an increase in the generating capacity of Millstone-3. The Richmond, Va.–based utility had applied for the power uprate last November, requesting an increase of approximately 1.6 percent.

NRC staff determined that Dominion could safely increase the reactor’s heat output, primarily through more accurate means of measuring feedwater flow, according to a November 18 press release. The NRC’s safety evaluation focused on several areas, including the nuclear steam supply systems, instrumentation and control systems, electrical systems, accident evaluations, radiological consequences, fire protection, operations and training, testing, and technical specification changes.

Countdown to fission on the moon: Candidate designs wanted

November 23, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News
Artist’s concept of a fission surface power system on Mars. (Image: NASA)

NASA and Idaho National Laboratory have just opened a competitive solicitation for U.S. nuclear and space industry leaders to develop innovative technologies for a fission surface power system that could be deployed on the surface of the moon by the end of the decade. Battelle Energy Alliance, the managing and operating contractor for INL, issued a request for proposals and announced the news on November 19. Proposals are due February 17.

Contract signed for first AP1000 unit in Ukraine

November 23, 2021, 12:28PMNuclear News
Westinghouse president and CEO Patrick Fragman and Energoatom president Petro Kotin sign a contract for the first AP1000 in Ukraine. They are joined by U.S. charge d’affaires to Ukraine Kristina Kvien and Ukraine energy minister Herman Halushchenko. (Photo: Westinghouse)

Westinghouse Electric Company and Energoatom, Ukraine’s state-owned nuclear utility, signed a contract in Kyiv yesterday outlining the details of an agreement to bring the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor to Ukraine’s Khmelnitsky nuclear power plant.

According to a Westinghouse press release, the contract initiates engineering and procurement of long-lead items for the reactor.

Signing the contract were Patrick Fragman, president and chief executive officer of Westinghouse, and Petro Kotin, Energoatom’s acting president. U.S. charge d’affaires to Ukraine, Kristina Kvien, and Ukraine energy minister Herman Halushchenko also attended the event.

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Humboldt Bay officially decommissioned, site released for unrestricted use

November 23, 2021, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
The Humboldt Bay nuclear power plant as seen from Humboldt Hill in 2010. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons.)

The license for Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s Humboldt Bay Unit 3 nuclear power plant near Eureka, Calif., has been terminated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the site has been released for unrestricted use. A 65-MWe boiling water reactor plant, Humboldt Bay-3 operated commercially from 1963 to 1976.

Ukraine to review NuScale safety analysis report

November 23, 2021, 6:59AMNuclear News
A screenshot from NuScale's latest video about three current research facilities. (Image: NuScale)

The Department of Energy is funding an independent review of NuScale Power’s safety analysis report (SAR), to be conducted by Ukraine’s State Scientific and Technical Center for Nuclear and Radiation Safety (SSTC NRS), the Portland, Ore.–based small modular reactor developer announced on November 18.

NRC issues key safety report on Kairos reactor

November 22, 2021, 3:02PMNuclear News
Artistic rendering of the Hermes low-power demonstration reactor, a scaled-down demo of the KP-FHR. (Image: Kairos Power)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently issued a draft safety evaluation report indicating initial acceptance of Kairos Power’s source term methodology for its fluoride salt–cooled high-temperature reactor (KP-FHR).

ANS COP26 delegates spread the message in Glasgow: Net zero needs nuclear

November 22, 2021, 11:59AMANS News
Volunteers staff the Nuclear for Climate booth in the COP26 conference center. (Photo: Raquel Heredia Silva)

ANS sponsored 10 young nuclear professionals from the Young Generation Network, a branch of the U.K.’s Nuclear Institute, to attend COP26, the 2021 United Nations climate change conference, held in Glasgow, Scotland, where they helped deliver what was “by all accounts nuclear’s best representation at the COP ever,” according to George Burnett, one of four U.K.-based attendees sponsored by ANS.

Environmental group reports rise in support for nuclear

November 22, 2021, 9:19AMANS Nuclear Cafe

A new survey of Americans’ attitudes about energy by ecoAmerica, a Washington, D.C.–based environmental nonprofit, finds notable shifts in views on several energy sources, including nuclear energy, from 2018 to 2021.

The American Climate Perspectives Survey shows that national support for nuclear increased by 10 percentage points, from 49 percent to 59 percent. (The numbers reflect both strong and tepid backing.) Broken down by party affiliation, the survey shows Republican support holding steady at 64 percent, Independent support moving from 50 percent to 61 percent, and Democratic support rising, rather dramatically, from 37 percent to 60 percent.

Texas A&M researchers identify key factors of radiation damage to reactors

November 22, 2021, 7:07AMNuclear News
[CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE] A comparison between MOOSE results and the analytical solutions for the fractions of point defects in an irradiated spherical Ni grain with a 500 nm radius. The grain boundary/surface at x = 500 nm is assumed perfect and neutral. (Source: From Frontiers in Materials paper "Surface and Size Effects on the Behaviors of Point Defects in Irradiated Crystalline Solids")

By using a combination of physics-based modeling and advanced simulations, Texas A&M University researchers say they have found the key underlying factors that cause radiation damage to nuclear reactors, which could provide insight into designing more radiation-tolerant, high-performance materials.

Representative Mike Levin: The spent fuel caucus and SONGS

November 19, 2021, 3:02PMNuclear NewsTim Gregoire

Levin

On July 21, Rep. Mike Levin (D., Calif.), whose district includes the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), announced with Rep. Rodney Davis (R., Ill.) the formation of the bipartisan House Spent Nuclear Fuel Solutions Caucus. The caucus, according to its members, seeks to address the challenges associated with stranded U.S. commercial spent fuel and to serve as a forum for those who want to make progress on the issue, regardless of whether they have a preferred solution.

Rep. Levin talked with Nuclear News staff writer Tim Gregoire about his goals for the caucus and finding an answer to the country’s spent nuclear fuel dilemma.

ARDP recipient Southern announces molten salt fast reactor demonstration plans

November 19, 2021, 9:29AMNuclear News
The Molten Chloride Reactor Experiment will be built at Idaho National Laboratory to demonstrate criticality in a fast-spectrum salt-cooled reactor within five years. (Image: Southern Company)

Southern Company and the Department of Energy have announced an agreement to demonstrate the world’s first fast-spectrum salt reactor in collaboration with TerraPower and a host of other participants at Idaho National Laboratory. With this announcement, at least four of the DOE’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Project awardees featuring four different coolants—helium (X-energy), sodium (TerraPower), fluoride salt (Kairos Power), and chloride salt (Southern, with TerraPower)—have announced a site and a commitment to build either a full-size demo reactor or a scaled-down experimental reactor.

Senate confirms Phillips for FERC

November 19, 2021, 6:53AMNuclear News

The Senate on Tuesday evening unanimously confirmed Willie Phillips, chairman of the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia, as a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, bringing that body to its full, five-member complement. He was nominated by President Biden in September to fill FERC’s vacant seat and will serve a term that expires on June 30, 2026.

NRC okays license transfers for Exelon plants

November 18, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved the indirect transfer of the licenses for 23 operating and five decommissioning reactors, as well as their associated independent spent fuel storage installations, from Exelon Corporation to a new company as part of a corporate restructuring, the agency announced yesterday.

Oklo signs on as future customer for Centrus-produced HALEU

November 18, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News
Artist’s conception of Oklo’s Aurora powerhouse. (Image: Gensler)

Oklo plans to fuel its demonstration microreactor with high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU). To secure a source of HALEU for its nth-of-a-kind microreactor, Oklo has signed a nonbinding letter of intent with Centrus Energy to cooperate on the deployment of a HALEU production facility.

Rickover Fellowship Program open for applications

November 18, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy’s Naval Reactors Division is seeking applicants for its Rickover Fellowship Program in Nuclear Engineering for 2022-2023. The deadline for application submissions is January 31.

Application forms are available at the South Carolina Universities Research and Education Foundation (SCUREF) website. Applicants should submit all materials electronically through this site.

Countdown to the ANS Winter Meeting

November 18, 2021, 6:52AMANS News

Excitement is building for the 2021 ANS Winter Meeting and Technology Expo, which will be ANS’s first-ever completely hybrid event. The Winter Meeting will take place at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C., from November 30 to December 3, which is later than normal because the original venue for the Winter Meeting closed in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.