New polls show substantial support for nuclear energy

July 7, 2020, 7:19AMUpdated July 30, 2021, 3:07PMNuclear News

Sixty percent of respondents in a recent national survey favored the use of nuclear energy, with only 25 percent opposing its use. While the latest Bisconti Research poll focuses on nuclear power and electricity generation, its findings on public interest in climate change and using a spectrum of sources to meet energy needs are consistent with a recent Pew Research Center poll on a broad set of energy policy and climate change topics. The approaches the two online surveys took to measuring public opinion on nuclear energy yielded different numbers but found some common ground.

Vogtle project suffers another setback

July 30, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News
Vogtle Units 3 and 4, earlier this month. (Photo: Georgia Power)

Due to “productivity challenges” and the need for “additional time for testing and quality assurance,” Georgia Power announced yesterday that it has revised the schedule for the Vogtle-3 and -4 nuclear expansion project. The new schedule pushes back the Unit 3 in-service date to the second quarter of 2022 and the Unit 4 date to the first quarter of 2023—a three-to-four-month shift for each unit.

First concrete poured for Bolivian research reactor

July 30, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News
First concrete pour for research reactor begins at Bolivian nuclear research center. (Photo: Rosatom)

Key facilities at a multipurpose nuclear research center in the high plains of Bolivia are nearing operation, and a ceremonial first concrete pour for the nuclear research reactor that will serve as the centerpiece of the project was held on July 26. Bolivian president Luis Arce attended the ceremony at the Center for Nuclear Technology Research and Development (CNTRD). Also attending were Kirill Komarov, first deputy director general for corporate development and international business at Rosatom (Russia’s state atomic energy agency), and authorities from the Ministry of Hydrocarbons and Energies and the Bolivian Nuclear Energy Agency (ABEN).

Legislation to spur clean energy innovation debuts on Capitol Hill

July 30, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear News

Approximately 40 percent of cumulative carbon dioxide emission reductions needed to meet sustainability targets rely on technologies not yet commercially deployed on a mass-market scale, according to last year’s Special Report on Clean Energy Innovation from the International Energy Agency.

Whitehouse

Crapo

Intent on lowering that percentage, both the Senate and House earlier this week introduced bipartisan legislation to rapidly scale up and diversify emerging energy technologies. On July 27, Sens. Mike Crapo (R., Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, and committee member Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.) introduced the Energy Sector Innovation Credit (ESIC) Act, or S. 2475. The credit, according to Crapo’s office, is a technology-inclusive, flexible investment tax credit (ITC) or production tax credit (PTC) designed to promote innovation across a range of clean energy technologies, including generation, energy storage, carbon capture, and hydrogen production.

DOE puts $9.35 million toward high-energy-density plasma research

July 29, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News
Invisible infrared light from the 200-trillion-watt Trident Laser at Los Alamos National Laboratory interacts with a 1-micrometer thick foil target (in the center of the photo) to generate a high-energy-density plasma. (Photo: Joseph Cowan and Kirk Flippo, LANL)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Science (DOE-SC) and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) on July 27 announced $9.35 million for 21 research projects in high-energy-density laboratory plasmas. High-energy-density (HED) plasma research, originally developed to support the U.S. nuclear weapons program, has applications in astrophysics, fusion power plant development, medicine, nuclear and particle physics, and radioisotope production.

NRC issues final environmental study for proposed Texas storage facility

July 29, 2021, 12:11PMRadwaste Solutions
(Source: Interim Storage Partners)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued its final environmental impact statement on an application by Interim Storage Partners for a license to construct and operate a consolidated interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel in Andrews County, Texas. After considering the environmental impacts of the proposed action, the NRC announced today that its staff has recommended granting the proposed license.

Oconee SLR application docketed

July 29, 2021, 9:29AMNuclear News
Duke Energy’s Oconee plant, in Seneca, S.C. (Photo: Duke Energy)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has accepted for review the subsequent license renewal application for Duke Energy’s Oconee nuclear plant, the agency announced yesterday. The utility submitted the application for an additional 20 years of operational life for Oconee on June 7. A public version of the application (with proprietary details removed) is available on the NRC website.

NRC launches special inspection at Davis-Besse

July 29, 2021, 6:59AMNuclear News
The Davis-Besse nuclear power plant. (Photo: Nuclear Regulatory Commission)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Tuesday announced that it has begun a special inspection at Energy Harbor’s Davis-Besse nuclear plant. The inspection will focus on two separate issues: multiple diesel generator failures during testing and maintenance, and a complicated reactor trip on July 8.

Decommissioning plans submitted for Byron, Dresden

July 28, 2021, 2:59PMNuclear News
The Byron and Dresden nuclear power plants.

In what could be viewed as a rather pointed message to Illinois lawmakers that time is running out to pass legislation providing a lifeline to the state’s Byron and Dresden nuclear plants, Exelon Generation this morning announced that it would file post-shutdown decommissioning activities reports (PSDARs) today with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The PSDARs detail long-term site restoration plans for the facilities, both of which are scheduled to shut down for good this fall—first Byron, in September, then Dresden, in November.

Meet the new ANS Board members

July 12, 2021, 12:00PMUpdated July 28, 2021, 12:00PMANS News

The original story published earlier this month did not include Amanda Bachmann, the newly elected student director. ANS News sincerely apologizes for the error.

Four newly elected and three newly appointed members of the ANS Board of Directors began their terms during the 2021 ANS Virtual Annual Meeting. Keep reading to learn more about the new directors.

Study: Microreactors show potential but face challenges

July 28, 2021, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe

A recently released technical report from Idaho National Laboratory finds “significant potential” for deploying microreactors on a global scale, but also “significant challenges in achieving the technical capacities, meeting regulatory requirements and international accords, achieving competitive costs, and for gaining public acceptance.”

In the 147-page report, Global Market Analysis of Microreactors, authors David Shropshire from INL, Geoffrey Black from Boise State University, and Kathleen Araújo from the CAES Energy Policy Institute at Boise State assess the unique capabilities of microreactors and their potential deployment in specific global markets in the 2030-2050 timeframe.

First major component removed at Bruce-6

July 28, 2021, 7:01AMNuclear News
A crane removes the first of the Unit 6 steam generators on July 23. (Photo: Bruce Power)

Bruce Power has removed the first of eight steam generators from Unit 6 at the Bruce nuclear plant in Ontario, the company announced earlier this week. The work was done as part of the facility’s major component replacement (MCR) project.

New video stars nuclear: “The safest energy source known to man”

July 27, 2021, 3:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe
This still image from “The Green Atom” highlights how Germany’s decision to shut down its nuclear plants has resulted in electricity that is twice as expensive as in neighboring France. (Source: Kite and Key)

“You know what power source is more dangerous than nuclear? Literally, all of them. When you add up industrial accidents and the effects of pollution, nuclear is safer than coal or petroleum or natural gas.”

Hruby sworn in as NNSA administrator

July 27, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News
Jill Hruby, joined by her husband, Stewart Griffiths, is sworn in as the Department of Energy’s under secretary for Nuclear Security and administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration. (Photo: NNSA)

Jill Hruby was sworn in by energy secretary Jennifer Granholm on July 26 as the Department of Energy’s undersecretary for nuclear security and administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration. Hruby was nominated for the position by President Biden on April 14.

Nuclear helps France reclaim title as Europe’s top net power exporter

July 27, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News
The nuclear power plant of Dampierre-en-Burly, France. (Photo: Kresimir Bobovec)

France has overtaken Norway to regain its position as the biggest net exporter of power in Europe, according to a new report on the European electricity market by U.K.-based energy data services provider EnAppSys.

The report, which looked at the value of imports and exports in Europe during the first six months of 2021, found that France’s net exports totaled 21 TWh, with most of the power flowing to Great Britain (8.6 TWh) and Italy (7.2 TWh).

Report: Extreme weather is affecting nuclear power’s reliability

July 27, 2021, 7:10AMANS Nuclear Cafe

A new analysis shows that hurricanes and typhoons have become the leading causes of nuclear plant outages, at least in North America and South and East Asia, tech website Ars Technica reports in the article “Nuclear power’s reliability is dropping as extreme weather increases.” The analysis was written by Ali Ahmad, an energy policy and economics scholar at the Harvard Kennedy School, and was published in the July issue of the online journal Nature Energy.

Nuclear advocacy group presses for legislative action in Illinois

July 26, 2021, 3:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Czerwinski

Writing in today’s suburban Chicago Daily Herald, Madison Czerwinski, executive director of Campaign for a Green Nuclear Deal, warns of the damage to Illinois’s clean energy aspirations should the state’s policymakers fail to agree in time on legislation providing some form of aid to Exelon’s imperiled Byron and Dresden nuclear plants, both of which are slated for closure later this year. (And “in time” in this case means the next few weeks.)

Czerwinski notes in a guest column that despite the executive order signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker in January 2019 committing Illinois to reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the Paris climate agreement, electricity emissions in the state are up from last year by 36 percent—a number that will only grow in the event an acceptable bill is not forthcoming.

U.S. power sector emissions drop in 2020

July 26, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News

Carbon dioxide emissions from the U.S. power sector fell 10 percent between 2019 and 2020, according to the 17th and latest edition of Benchmarking Air Emissions of the 100 Largest Electric Power Producers in the United States, which was released last week. The drop is the largest year-over-year decrease in greenhouse gas emissions since the initial report was issued in 1997. Further, CO2 emissions are shown to be down 20 percent from 1990 levels and 40 percent from their 2007 peak.

The 48-page analysis—which combines generation and fuel consumption data from the Energy Information Administration with emissions data on CO2, sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and mercury from the Environmental Protection Agency—was authored by M.J. Bradley & Associates, a consulting firm focused on energy and environmental issues. Listed as “contributors” to the report are Bank of America, the nonprofit organization Ceres, energy producers Entergy and Exelon, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Reps. Levin, Davis form bipartisan caucus to tackle stranded spent fuel issue

July 26, 2021, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions

Levin

Davis

Hoping to drive progress on the safe storage, transportation, and disposal of spent nuclear fuel across the country, Reps. Mike Levin (D., Calif.) and Rodney Davis (R., Ill.) have formed the Spent Nuclear Fuel Solutions Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives.

According to Levin and Davis, the bipartisan caucus seeks to address the challenges associated with stranded commercial spent fuel across the country and serve as a forum where House members can come together to make headway on the issue, regardless of whether or not they have a preferred solution.

In announcing the formation of the caucus on July 21, Levin and Davis said that the current system of spent nuclear fuel storage is not sustainable, particularly for sites that no longer have operating reactors and could be redeveloped for other beneficial uses. They added that it is also a violation of the promise, codified by law, that the federal government would take title to the waste in return for ratepayers’ contributions to the Nuclear Waste Fund.