USA’s John Christensen on the supply chain and other things

June 21, 2024, 3:00PMNuclear NewsRick Michal


The conversation was casual with John Christensen, president and chief executive officer of Utilities Service Alliance, as he reflected on his 17 years with the organization. Christensen will be stepping down from USA to retire at the end of the year. He will be succeeded as president and CEO/managing director by Karen Fili, most recently with Urenco USA.

USA is a nonprofit organization incorporated in 1996 to provide its utility and nonutility members a business platform to collaborate on plant performance and economic benefit initiatives. Currently, USA members include 39 nuclear reactors (and one uranium enrichment plant) that provide more than 39,650 MWe of generation. As Christensen explained, USA members get the best of both worlds: the fleet benefits by working with USA while keeping the flexibility of independent operator status. (See the sidebar below for a members list.)

ANS Annual Conference special plenary: Our friends the isotopes

June 21, 2024, 12:00PMNuclear News
Panelists for the session, from left, panel moderator Catherine Prat, Westinghouse Electric Company; Riaz Bandali, president of Nordion; Ben Goodrich, a director at TerraPower Isotopes; Ross Radel, chief technology officer at SHINE Technologies; Harsh Desai, chief commercialization officer at Zeno Power; and Alyse Huffman, a professional staff member for the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. (Photo: ANS)

“What can the atom do for you, other than produce electricity from nuclear reactors?” That was the question asked and answered during an ANS Annual Conference special plenary session on June 18, introduced by ANS President Ken Petersen and organized by the ANS Young Members Group. An expert panel discussed radioisotopes and their supply chains in the context of cancer treatment, product sterilization, power for remote applications, and used nuclear fuel recycling.

NRC amends fees for FY 2024

June 21, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is amending regulations for the licensing, inspection, special projects, and annual fees it will charge applicants and licensees for fiscal year 2024.

BWXT awarded microreactor evaluation contract for Wyoming

June 21, 2024, 7:03AMNuclear News
Concept art of BWXT’s BANR microreactor. (Source: BWXT)

BWX Technologies Inc. received the second phase of a contract with the Wyoming Energy Authority to assess the viability of deploying small-scale nuclear reactors in the state.

The company’s subsidiary, BWXT Advanced Technologies LLC, has been executing the agreement, working with the state of Wyoming to define the requirements for nuclear applications and to study the engineering work needed to support the state’s future power needs. BWXT identified areas where Wyoming’s supply chain could support nuclear reactor component manufacturing.

American Nuclear Society applauds G7 support for nuclear energy supply chains

June 20, 2024, 1:19PMEdited June 20, 2024, 1:31PMUpdated June 20, 2024, 1:29PMPress Releases

Las Vegas, Nev. — The American Nuclear Society (ANS) issued the following statement during the 2024 ANS Annual Conference in Las Vegas:

“The American Nuclear Society applauds the Group of Seven (G7) leaders’ Apulia communiqué in its call for continued international cooperation in strengthening, expanding, and diversifying civil nuclear supply chains as the world deploys advanced reactors.

DOE to invest $900M in next-generation nuclear

June 20, 2024, 12:01PMNuclear News

The U.S. Department of Energy plans to invest up to $900 million to support the initial deployment of small modular reactor technology.

The DOE issued a notice of intent to fund projects from President Biden’s infrastructure law with the goal of accelerating advanced nuclear projects to support energy infrastructure. The department estimates the country will need up to 950 gigawatts of reliable and clean energy to help reach the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. Nuclear currently generates 18.6 percent of U.S. electricity.

ANS Annual Conference: Nonproliferation considerations about HALEU enrichment

June 20, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News

The technical session “HALEU and Nonproliferation” on Tuesday at the American Nuclear Society Annual Conference focused on why increased nuclear fuel enrichment comes with increased responsibility. Reactor designers are pursuing high-assay low-enriched uranium fuel for their advanced designs, and technical and policy questions surrounding nuclear nonproliferation will need to be addressed if the United States is to become a HALEU supplier.

Remembering William A. Anders

June 20, 2024, 7:01AMNuclear News

William A. Anders

William A. Anders, former chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and a former member of the American Nuclear Society, died on June 7 at 90 years of age.

In a June 18 statement, the NRC offered condolences on his passing.

“Chairman Anders had an illustrious career far beyond taking one of the most widely seen photos from space,” said NRC chair Christopher Hanson. “He was the only person to serve as commissioner on both the Atomic Energy Commission and NRC, and he served as the new agency’s first chairman, providing institutional continuity while unambiguously committing the agency to serve as an unbiased, independent, and open regulator. We are saddened by his death and extend our condolences to his family.”

Senate passes nuclear ADVANCE Act; bill heads to Biden

June 19, 2024, 7:07AMNuclear News

The U.S. Senate yesterday passed the Accelerating Deployment of Versatile, Advanced Nuclear for Clean Energy (ADVANCE) Act, sending legislation that would make sweeping changes to the approval process for new technology in the nuclear energy sector to President Biden for final approval.

The legislation passed with an overwhelming majority in the Senate—the vote was 88–2—having cleared the House of Representatives in May.

Zeno looks to SHINE for Sr-90 to fuel its radioisotope power systems

June 18, 2024, 3:01PMNuclear News

Wisconsin-based fusion technology company SHINE Technologies announced today the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Zeno Power to develop a nuclear materials supply chain for its commercially available radioisotope power systems (RPSs). Under the MOU, SHINE plans to provide Zeno with strontium-90 to power its RPSs, which are capable of providing continuous power in harsh environments.

Orano Med inaugurates Pb-212 production facility in Indiana

June 18, 2024, 12:00PMNuclear News

Guillaume Dureau of Orano Group (left) and Orano Med’s Julien Dodet cut the ribbon on the new ATLabs Indianapolis. (Photo: Orano)

Orano Group subsidiary Orano Med, a developer of targeted alpha therapies for oncology, inaugurated its first ATLab (Alpha Therapy Laboratory) earlier this month. Located in Brownsburg, near Indianapolis, Ind., ATLab Indianapolis is an industrial-scale pharmaceutical facility dedicated to the production of lead-212–based radioligand therapies.

Targeted alpha therapy has shown to be effective in treating various oncological diseases, combining the natural ability of biological molecules to target cancer cells with the short-range cell-killing capabilities of alpha emissions generated by Pb-212. With a half-life of 10.64 hours, along with a decay product of the short-lived alpha-emitter bismuth-212, Pb-212 allows for the possible synthesis and purification of complex radiopharmaceuticals with minimum loss of radioactivity during preparation.

The development of radiopharmaceuticals has long been hampered by the difficulty of manufacturing and distribution on an industrial scale, Orano said, adding that the construction of ATLab Indianapolis is a major step toward making these new treatments available to cancer patients with high unmet needs in North America.

ANS Annual Conference opening plenary: Full speed ahead

June 18, 2024, 9:33AMNuclear News
From left to right, John Wagner, Secretary Granholm, Jeff Lyash, Chris Womack, have a discussion during the opening plenary of the ANS Annual Conference.

The 2024 American Nuclear Society Annual Conference opened with a bang yesterday as 1,200 attendees gathered in Las Vegas to network, collaborate, and socialize. Honors and awards were presented to several recipients, and ANS welcomed twelve new Fellows.

The plenary opened with an address from ANS Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer Craig Piercy that brought this year’s theme to the fore straight away: The time is now to deploy new nuclear projects—and not acting at this moment is simply not an option.

Senate confirms 3 FERC appointees

June 18, 2024, 7:13AMNuclear News

The U.S. Senate voted last week to put three new members on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, a bipartisan energy oversight board.

The chamber confirmed the nominations of Republican Lindsay See and Democrats David Rosner and Judy Chang. The votes on the nominations were 86–9, 68–26 and 63–33, respectively.

IAEA’s Grossi talks with insurance companies’ executives

June 17, 2024, 3:03PMNuclear News
Rafael Mariano Grossi addresses the Nuclear Pools' Forum in Zurich. (Photo: D. Candano Laris/IAEA)

International Atomic Energy Agency director general Rafael Mariano Grossi was in Switzerland last week to talk with insurance executives at the Nuclear Pools’ Forum about the potential of nuclear power.

Donalds praises nuclear, urges microreactor development in Florida

June 17, 2024, 12:02PMANS Nuclear Cafe


Byron Donalds, the Republican representative from Florida’s 19th Congressional District, is a well-known proponent of nuclear energy. In his latest op-ed, which appeared in The Floridian, Donalds describes himself as “unabashedly pronuclear” and characterizes his state as a supporter of nuclear power, with four operating reactors providing 69.3 percent of Florida’s carbon-free electricity, powering 2.3 million homes. He emphasizes, however, that “there’s so much nuclear potential yet to be realized in the Sunshine State.”

Environmental benefits: Donalds notes that nuclear energy provides “countless environmental benefits” to Floridians, as well as reliable electricity. The 1,132 acres on which the state’s St. Lucie nuclear power plant is located have mangrove swamps, beaches, marshes, and other wildlife habitats that are home to more than 180 species of animals—36 of which are endangered or threatened.

NRC staff deliver draft LLW rule to commissioners

June 17, 2024, 9:34AMRadwaste Solutions

The staff of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission have sent a proposed rule covering the disposal of low-level radioactive waste to the agency’s commissioners for approval. The proposed rule would amend NRC regulations to require new and revised site-specific technical analyses and permit the development of site-specific criteria for LLW disposal. It would also authorize the near-surface disposal of certain greater-than-Class-C (GTCC) waste streams and provide for the licensing of those waste streams by NRC Agreement States.

ISP takes spent fuel storage case to the Supreme Court

June 14, 2024, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
Image: ISP

Interim Storage Partners (ISP), a joint venture of Waste Control Specialists and Orano USA, has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the decision by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to vacate its license for a consolidated interim storage facility for commercial spent nuclear fuel in Andrews County, Texas.

Company touts efficiency of coin cell nuclear battery

June 14, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News
Photo: Infinity Power

Infinity Power has developed a nuclear battery that it says generates electrical power from radioisotopes with 60 percent overall efficiency, exceeding that of other radioisotope energy conversion methods, which are typically less than 10 percent. The company believes its technology—developed in part under contracts from the Department of Defense—has potential for “next-generation radioisotope power sources.”