IPCC opens registration for expert review of draft report

January 20, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—the United Nations body established to assess the science related to climate change—is offering experts an opportunity to review the draft version of its Sixth Assessment Synthesis Report.

IPCC assessment reports are published every six to seven years. The Fifth Assessment Report, completed in 2014, provided the main scientific input to the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Interested experts can register for participation in the review here. Registration is open through March 13. The review period ends on March 20.

The case of the Pu-powered pacemaker

January 20, 2022, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe
The cover of the August 1969 issue of Nuclear News (left), an image of Brunhilde, the dog that had the first nuclear-powered pacemaker in the U.S. (center) and the cover of the December 1970 Nuclear News (right).

In this first installment of a #ThrowbackThursday post, Nuclear News provides a review of radioisotope-powered pacemakers in response to an article in The Wall Street Journal. The article, published earlier this week, looks at the issue of disposing of nuclear-powered pacemakers, although considering how few are still in use today, it seems like this is really much ado about nothing.

“Escape room” used to train Hanford employees in respiratory protection

January 20, 2022, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
Employees wearing supplied-air equipment work through clues in an “escape room” during respiratory protection training at Hanford’s Volpentest HAMMER Federal Training Center. (Photo: DOE)

A new respiratory protection course at the Department of Energy’s Hanford Site near Richland, Wash., features an “escape room” in which employees wear supplied-air equipment while they answer questions, discover clues, and solve puzzles in a simulated work environment.

Rita Baranwal joins Westinghouse as chief technology officer

January 20, 2022, 7:02AMNuclear News

Baranwal

Westinghouse Electric Company has appointed ANS member and Fellow Rita Baranwal chief technology officer to drive next-generation solutions for existing and new markets that align with the company’s strategy.

Baranwal’s appointment marks her return to Westinghouse, where she worked for nearly a decade in leadership positions in the global technology development, fuel engineering, and product engineering groups.

2022 ANS vice president/president-elect candidates provide statements

January 19, 2022, 3:15PMANS News

Ahead of the upcoming 2022 ANS national election, the nominees for vice president/president-­elect have prepared statements outlining their goals for ANS. The nominees are Bradley J. Adams, an ANS Fellow and member since 2009 and vice president of engineering at Southern Nuclear Company, and Kenneth S. Petersen, an ANS member since 1987 and a private consultant who recently retired from Exelon Generation as vice president of nuclear fuels.

The elected candidate will succeed current ANS vice president/president-­elect Steven Arndt in June 2022, when Arndt becomes president.

Ballots for the 2022 election will be sent electronically on February 22 and completed ballots must be submitted by 1 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, April 12.

Huff nominated to fill role of assistant secretary of energy for DOE-NE

January 19, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

Huff

Kathryn “Katy” Huff, who is currently serving as the Department of Energy's principal deputy assistant secretary of nuclear energy, has been nominated by President Joe Biden to head the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy as assistant secretary of energy. The role has been vacant since Rita Baranwal announced she was leaving the position on January 8, 2021.

Sustained commitment: Since Huff was named principal deputy assistant secretary of nuclear energy in May 2021, she has also served as acting assistant secretary of energy for nuclear energy.

Huff is on unpaid leave from her role as assistant professor in the Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she led the Advanced Reactors and Fuel Cycles Research Group. Huff was also a Blue Waters assistant professor with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. Prior to joining the NPRE faculty at UIUC, Huff was a postdoctoral fellow in the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Nuclear Science and Security Consortium and the Berkeley Institute for Data Science at the University of California–Berkeley. Huff received her Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2013, and her undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Chicago.

U.K. government lauds progress at Hinkley Point C

January 19, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
From left: Nigel Cann, delivery director at Hinkley Point C, Helen Whately MP, Kwasi Kwarteng MP, and Jean-Bernard Lévy, chairman and chief executive officer of EDF. (Photo: EDF)

Despite last year’s announcement from EDF Energy that the startup of Unit 1 at Hinkley Point C would likely be delayed (from late 2025 to June 2026), current progress at the site is receiving praise from the U.K. government.

On January 13, Kwasi Kwarteng, secretary of state for business, energy, and industrial strategy, and Helen Whately, exchequer secretary of the treasury, toured the nuclear new-build project, accompanied by Jean Bernard Lévy, EDF’s chairman and chief executive.

Piercy's opening remarks at the ANS Winter Meeting

January 19, 2022, 7:04AMANS NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy
cpiercy@ans.org

ANS ended 2021 on a high note with our first post-pandemic national meeting, held in Washington, D.C. What follows is a lightly edited version of remarks, shorn of opening and closing pleasantries, that I gave to 500-plus attendees during the opening plenary session:

I think the big question everyone will be asking this week will be some form of “How did you spend the pandemic?” I can tell you how ANS spent the pandemic: on a strict quarantine diet and fitness program.

We’ve figured out how to maintain what we believe is a higher level of service on 20 percent fewer FTEs. We’ve rebuilt our digital infrastructure and have a firm path forward toward a modern data architecture. We are in the process of selling our headquarters building in La Grange Park, Ill., and moving to a smaller, more manageable footprint in suburban Chicago, with an outpost in Washington, D.C.

IEA to Canadian government: Step up support for nuclear

January 18, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News

The International Energy Agency’s newly published in-depth review of Canada’s energy policies, the first since 2015, urges the nation’s government to take more action in support of nuclear energy.

The 261-page report, Canada 2022 Energy Policy Review, released on January 13, features a 17-page section devoted to nuclear that includes four specific recommendations for Canada’s federal government:

DOE’s Environmental Management Office sets out 2022 cleanup priorities

January 18, 2022, 12:07PMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) has established its key priorities for calendar year 2022, covering planned cleanup, project construction, acquisition, and other important accomplishments to advance the office’s environmental and risk-reduction mission. EM is responsible for handling the nation’s Cold War environmental legacy resulting from five decades of nuclear weapons production and government-sponsored nuclear energy research.

“Our many accomplishments in 2021 positioned EM to achieve an equally challenging slate of priorities in 2022,” said EM senior advisor William “Ike” White. “Our 2022 priorities underscore our goals to accomplish cleanup that is safe and protective of our workforce, the public and the environment, and in a manner that is transparent to the communities that host and support our sites.”

Westinghouse partners with Czech companies for Dukovany project

January 18, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
Czech government officials and company representatives at the January 13 signing. (Photo: Czech Republic Ministry of Industry and Trade)

Westinghouse Electric Company has signed memorandums of understanding with seven companies in the Czech Republic. The MOUs, signed on January 13 at the Ministry of Industry and Trade in Prague, cover cooperation on the potential deployment of a Westinghouse AP1000 reactor at the Dukovany nuclear plant, as well as other potential AP1000 projects in Central Europe.

Nuclear technique for mosquito control breeds success in Cuba

January 18, 2022, 7:02AMNuclear News
Schools distributed information about the pilot trial in their communities, and schoolchildren participated in the biweekly release of sterilized male mosquitoes. (Photo: Manuel Fernández, Cuban Agency of Nuclear Energy)

Cuba’s plan to use the sterile insect technique to tackle the spread of dengue—a viral, mosquito-borne disease—relies on expertise and technology from the International Atomic Energy Agency. The technique is not new, having been used to control different insect-vector diseases in diverse regions of the world.

A call to action

January 17, 2022, 3:01PMNuclear NewsJohn C. Wagner

John C. Wagner

Like many of you, I have dedicated my career to the advancement of nuclear energy. We chose this path because clean energy changes lives. If we want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, end energy poverty, develop a U.S. power grid that is secure and resilient, and ensure national security, nuclear must be a significant part of the mix.

But let us acknowledge the reality of our situation. Nuclear power plants continue to close. New reactor projects are too often delayed by cost overruns and red tape. Not having solved the politics for a permanent repository, spent fuel sits at shut-down reactor sites.

We find ourselves perpetually running the hamster wheel, building paper reactors, and grinding our teeth as critics cloud public discourse by regurgitating old fears and clinging to the tired tropes of a bygone era.

Laws and sausages*—10 CFR Part 53

January 17, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear NewsSteven P. Nesbit

Steven P. Nesbit
president@ans.org

Interested parties are watching the real-­time development of 10 CFR Part 53—a new Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulation for constructing and operating advanced nuclear power reactors in the United States. In January 2019, the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act (NEIMA) required, among other things, that for commercial advanced nuclear reactors, the NRC must increase the use of risk-­informed, performance-­based licensing evaluation techniques and establish by the end of 2027 a technology-­inclusive regulatory framework that encourages greater technological innovation.

* “If you like laws and sausages, you should never watch either one being made.” – Otto von Bismarck.

Female students awarded IAEA scholarships under Sklodowska-Curie program

January 17, 2022, 7:02AMNuclear News
Xiaoluo Wang (right), a fellow under the IAEA Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Program, graduated last year with a master’s degree in nuclear engineering and is getting work experience at the IAEA's Division of Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Waste Technology. (Photo: A. Tarhi/IAEA)

The International Atomic Energy Agency has selected more than 110 female students from around the world to receive scholarships under its Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Program.

Launched in 2020 by the IAEA's director general, Rafael Mariano Grossi, the program offers young women an opportunity to pursue studies toward a master’s in the nuclear field by providing financial support and practical experience. Its aim is to help close the gender gap in the traditionally male-dominated nuclear sector, where women make up less than a quarter of the workforce globally, according to data from the World Nuclear Association.

Manchin supports nuclear provisions in Biden’s Build Back Better plan

January 14, 2022, 3:25PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) has been in the news over the past week—and that’s good news for the nuclear community. Last week, The Hill reported on Manchin’s support for climate action, and according to Bloomberg News this week, Manchin is “big on nuclear” and supports the tax credits for nuclear power plants included in the administration’s Build Back Better plan.

Ultra Safe Nuclear and ORNL strengthen bonds with 3D printing technology

January 14, 2022, 11:58AMNuclear News
Kurt Terrani observing a chemical vapor infiltration furnace at ORNL during densification of additively manufactured nuclear-grade silicon carbide. (Photo: Carlos Jones/ORNL/DOE)

Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC), a Seattle-based reactor developer, has licensed an additive manufacturing technique developed at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory to print refractory materials into structural and core components for the company’s microreactor designs.

Shadow corrosion is reproduced in University of Michigan lab

January 14, 2022, 9:36AMNuclear News
[CLICK TO VIEW FULL IMAGE] The diagram at left illustrates the experimental setup and the resulting zirconium oxide layer of varying thickness. The second diagram shows the circular zirconium alloy sample that is affected by the band of nickel alloy and radiation. Finally, the electron image at right shows a band of oxidation on the zirconium alloy sample. (Images: Peng Wang, Michigan Ion Beam Laboratory)

A longstanding issue in boiling water reactors—shadow corrosion on zirconium alloy fuel rods and fuel channels—has been reproduced in the Michigan Ion Beam Laboratory as part of an effort to understand and prevent the phenomenon. Research led by Peng Wang, a University of Michigan assistant research scientist in nuclear engineering and radiological sciences, was published in the January 2022 issue of the Journal of Nuclear Materials and described in a recent university news article.

Omar Hurricane: Scientific proof of principle at the NIF

January 14, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News

Hurricane

In 2012, Omar Hurricane, a distinguished member of the technical staff at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, was asked by the laboratory director to lead a team to delve into studying the physics and engineering obstacles preventing fusion ignition at the National Ignition Facility (NIF). The team’s efforts led to a new exploratory “basecamp” strategy and the creation of several pivotal experiments that revealed some of the underlying problems with the ignition point design, while also delivering improved fusion performance and the first evidence of significant alpha particle self-heating.

Hurricane was appointed chief scientist of the Inertial Confinement Fusion Program in 2014, a position he has held ever since. He was named a Fellow of the American Physical Society’s Division of Plasma Physics in 2016 and was recently awarded the Edward Teller Medal from the American Nuclear Society for his work on inertial confinement fusion physics.