The Civil Nuclear Credit Program: An overview

June 2, 2023, 3:07PMNuclear NewsMichael McQueen

Officially established on November 15, 2021, with the signing of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act—aka the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, or BIL—the Department of Energy’s Civil Nuclear Credit Program was designed to give owners/operators of commercial U.S. reactors the opportunity to apply for certification and competitively bid on credits to help support the continued operation of economically troubled units. Finally, the federal government, and not just certain farsighted state governments, would recognize nuclear energy for its important grid reliability and decarbonization attributes.

NRC advisors give nod to Hermes construction permit

June 2, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
A rendering of the Hermes low-power demonstration reactor. (Image: Kairos Power)

Having completed its review of the construction permit application for Kairos Power’s Hermes test reactor early last month, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) recently submitted its conclusions to the agency, recommending approval.

DOE picks eight fusion companies to design pilot power plants

June 2, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
Announcing the funding for commercial fusion energy development were Asmeret Asefaw Berhe (top left), director of the DOE-OS; Jennifer Granholm, secretary of energy (top right); and Arati Prabhakar (bottom), director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and science advisor to the president.

From a crowded field of would-be fusioneers, the Department of Energy has selected eight companies for the public-private Milestone-Based Fusion Development Program to develop fusion pilot plant designs and resolve related scientific and technological challenges within five to 10 years. The DOE announced awards totaling $46 million for an initial 18 months of work on May 31.

ANS names Annual Meeting award winners, five new Fellows

June 2, 2023, 7:01AMANS News

The American Nuclear Society 2023 Annual Meeting will kick off on June 11 in Indianapolis, Ind., and will run through June 14. ANS has named the recipients of six awards that will be presented at the meeting. Five new Fellows will also be honored at the opening plenary session. Additionally, the Tuesday's plenary session will include the presentation of five presidential citations and a recognition and show of appreciation for Steven Arndt, ANS's outgoing president.

General Atomics and Tokamak Energy join forces on HTS magnet tech

June 1, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
GA’s Magnet Technologies Center. (Photo: GA)

General Atomics (GA) and Tokamak Energy Ltd. are each independently developing magnetic confinement fusion power plant concepts that would use a tokamak and high-temperature superconducting (HTS) magnets to confine and shape a plasma heated to over 100 million degrees Celsius. On May 30, they announced a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on HTS magnet technology for fusion energy and other applications.

NRC issues strategic plan for reviewing AI in nuclear applications

June 1, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News

To help plan and prepare for new technologies involving artificial intelligence, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has released its Artificial Intelligence Strategic Plan (NUREG-2261) for fiscal years 2023–2027.

The NRC said that it expects license applications that include the use of AI technologies to be submitted to the agency for review and approval within the next few years. The strategic plan is meant to help ensure that NRC staff are prepared to review and evaluate such applications.

In the foreword, the NRC Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research director Raymond Furstenau introduces the strategic plan, writing, “We recognize that interest in AI is growing rapidly in both the public and private sectors. As such, I think [it] is important to lay the groundwork needed to ensure the safe and secure use of AI in NRC-regulated activities.”

Feedback from nuclear sector to inform hearing on NRC licensing process

May 31, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News

Leaders of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce last month sent letters to a variety of nuclear sector stakeholders requesting input in preparation for a June 14 hearing titled “Oversight of NRC: Ensuring Efficient and Predictable Nuclear Safety Regulation for a Prosperous America.” (The hearing will be livestreamed at

“We invite you to submit to the committee information and recommendations to improve the licensing review and approval process, as well as the oversight of NRC licensees,” the lawmakers wrote. “We are interested in NRC activities involving the licensing and oversight of today’s operating reactors, as well as the siting, licensing, construction, and oversight of advanced nuclear reactor technologies.” The letter also noted the committee’s interest in “improving NRC efficiency, management of regulatory costs and fees, public health and safety, staff effectiveness and culture, collaboration with the Department of Energy, and international activities.”

Charting nuclear reactors

May 31, 2023, 12:05PMNuclear News

Not everyone in the nuclear industry is familiar with a series of 105 historic wall charts displaying detailed illustrations of nuclear reactors and their internal components, but Ronald A. Knief is. Knief, a retired professor of chemical and nuclear engineering at the University of New Mexico and former principal engineer at Sandia National Laboratories, has spent decades collecting these educational items, which were originally published as foldout inserts in Nuclear Engineering International magazine from the 1950s through early 2000s.

House committee approves bill to ban Russian uranium imports

May 31, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News

McMorris Rodgers

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has advanced a bill to the chamber’s floor that, with certain exceptions, would ban the import of low-enriched uranium from Russia into the United States. Introduced in February by the E&C Committee’s chair, Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wash.), the Prohibiting Russian Uranium Imports Act (H.R. 1042) was approved in a (slightly) bipartisan 29–21 vote on May 24.

The legislation would start banning Russian uranium 90 days after its enactment but would also allow the Department of Energy to issue waivers should the DOE determine (1) that there is no alternate source of low-enriched uranium available to keep a U.S. nuclear reactor in operation or (2) that importing Russian uranium is in the national interest.

Potential careers at SRS highlighted for college students

May 31, 2023, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
Jared Wicker of SRNS explains how different technologies are used to monitor the environment at SRS. (Photo: DOE)

Claflin University students recently toured the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site in South Carolina to learn about the facilities and occupations there.

Plan for AP1000 deployment in Poland gains more focus

May 30, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
Seated, from left, are Patrick Fragman, CEOof Westinghouse; Łukasz Młynarkiewicz, acting president of PEJ; and Craig Albert, president and chief operating officer of Bechtel. Standing, from left, are Mark Brzezinski, U.S. ambassador to Poland; Anna Moskwa, Poland’s minister of climate and environment; and Mateusz Berger, Poland’s government plenipotentiary for strategic energy infrastructure. (Photo: Westinghouse)

Westinghouse Electric Company, Bechtel, and Polish utility Polskie Elektrownie Jądrowe (PEJ)—the three firms leading the effort to build Poland’s first nuclear power plant—have announced the signing of a new agreement that defines the main principles of cooperation on the project’s design and construction and confirms the implementation of its next major stage.

Battelle’s Mark Peters honored with Henry De Wolf Smyth Nuclear Statesman award

May 30, 2023, 9:30AMANS News
ANS Executive Director/CEO Craig Piercy presented Mark Peters with the Henry DeWolf Smyth Award at NEI’s Nuclear Energy Assembly.

At the Nuclear Energy Institute’s Nuclear Energy Assembly, held this year in Washington, D.C., the Henry DeWolf Smyth Nuclear Statesman Award was presented on May 17 to Mark Peters, Battelle’s executive vice president for national laboratory management and operations.

Virginia sites targeted as competitive for SMRs

May 30, 2023, 7:01AMANS Nuclear Cafe
The LENOWISCO region of Virginia, being considered for future SMR siting, is in the far southwestern corner of the state. (Image: )

Seven sites in southwestern Virginia have been identified as “competitive hosting grounds” for small modular reactors by a feasibility study Dominion Engineering, Inc. (DEI) prepared for the LENOWISCO Planning District Commission. (The planning district, based in Duffield, Va., serves the counties of Lee, Wise, and Scott and the city of Norton.) At a May 22 press conference at LENOWISCO’s offices, DEI chemical engineer and principal investigator Chuck Marks said the review represents the “very early stages of, does this region have what it takes to site one of these reactors, successfully deploy and successfully operate. And the answer is overwhelmingly yes,” according to an article in the Cardinal News.

The legacy of the Shippingport Atomic Power Station

May 26, 2023, 2:59PMNuclear NewsJeremy Hampshire
The Shippingport Atomic Power Station in Shippingport, Pa., the first full-scale nuclear power generating station in the United States, began operating in 1957.

Serving as the world’s first scalable nuclear power plant, Shippingport Atomic Power Station led the way for today’s nuclear generation fleet. Shippingport was centrally located roughly 25 miles from Pittsburgh, Pa., to provide electrical generation for many end-users. Shippingport also served as an experimental reactor that allowed engineers and designers the ability to test different core designs, and as such, the site housed additional testing equipment otherwise not commonly seen. The primary goal of Shippingport was always to generate electricity; however, its ability to function as an experimental reactor served utilities in further development of scalable nuclear generation.

Researchers at CERN trap thorium isomers in quest for a nuclear clock

May 26, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
The ISOLDE facility. (Photo: CERN)

Today’s atomic clocks are exceptional timepieces that won’t lose or gain a second in 30 billion years. But if you’re looking for even more precision, you’ll be glad to learn that physicists at CERN’s ISOLDE nuclear physics facility have observed the decay of thorium-229 nuclei trapped in a crystalline structure and confirmed the potential for a nuclear clock. CERN announced the news on May 24.

Jacobs, University of Manchester launch robotics research center

May 26, 2023, 9:58AMNuclear News

The Texas-based engineering company Jacobs and the University of Manchester in England are forming a new international research center designed to create robotics and autonomous systems that the organizations say will play a key role in the response to climate change.

NEI defends eligibility of existing nuclear for clean hydrogen tax credits

May 26, 2023, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The Nuclear Energy Institute—along with Constellation, Energy Harbor, PSEG, and Vistra—submitted a 19-page letter on May 24 to the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service, taking issue with April 10 comments to those agencies from the Clean Air Task Force (CATF) and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) concerning the Inflation Reduction Act’s clean hydrogen production tax credit (Internal Revenue Code sec. 45V). (The Treasury and the IRS released a notice last November requesting public input on the credit’s implementation.)