NRC rejects challenges to TMI-2 license transfer, ISP’s license application

June 24, 2021, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has dismissed a challenge to the previously approved transfer of the license for the shuttered Three Mile Island-2 power reactor from FirstEnergy to a subsidiary of EnergySolutions for decommissioning. The order by the NRC commissioners denying the motion by Three Mile Island Alert to hold the license transfer in abeyance was issued on June 22.

IAEA issues report on Japan’s decommissioning program for R&D facilities

June 24, 2021, 9:29AMRadwaste Solutions

Noting the challenges Japan will face in managing the nuclear waste that will be generated from decommissioning 79 of its nuclear research and development facilities, the International Atomic Energy Agency is recommending that the country prepare for delays in the development of disposal facilities and provide appropriate waste storage capacity for the interim period.

The recommendation was one of several that a team of IAEA experts provided to the Japan Atomic Energy Agency after reviewing the agency’s 70-year decommissioning program, called the “Back-End Roadmap,” and contained in the report, ARTEMIS Review of JAEA Back-End Roadmap, which was released on June 22,

University-based nuclear R&D gets $61 million in DOE funding

June 24, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear News

More than $61 million in funding has been released for advanced nuclear energy technology projects in 30 states and in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, the Department of Energy announced on June 22. Of that total, $58 million is going to U.S. universities for nuclear energy research, cross-discipline technology development, and research reactor infrastructure.

Commissioner Caputo to leave NRC on June 30

June 23, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News

Caputo

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Annie Caputo will depart the agency when her term expires at the end of this month, NRC Chairman Christopher Hanson said yesterday. Her departure will leave the five-seat panel with only three commissioners—the minimum number required for it to conduct business—as former chairman Kristine Svinicki resigned in January of this year.

At this writing, Caputo has not announced her post-NRC plans.

Remaining on the commission are two Democrats, Hanson and Jeff Baran, and one Republican, David Wright. President Biden has not named a replacement for either of the vacancies and can choose only one Democrat, since no more than three commissioners can be from the same political party.

Special inspection begins at Vogtle-3

June 23, 2021, 12:01PMNuclear News
Vogtle’s Unit 3, earlier this month. Photo: Georgia Power

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has launched a special inspection at the Vogtle new-build site to identify the errors that necessitated construction remediation work on Unit 3’s electrical cable raceway system.

MIT team adapts neutron resonance transmission analysis for portability

June 23, 2021, 7:07AMNuclear News
Left: An experimental setup showing a shielded detector. Right: A DT neutron source showing three disks of 6Li doped glass scintillator mounted on a photomultiplier tube. (Photos: MIT)

Neutron resonance transmission analysis (NRTA) was developed by researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory to identify unknown materials inside a sealed object using a beam of neutrons from a laboratory-scale apparatus. Recognizing that the potential nuclear security applications of NRTA were limited by the size and location of the apparatus, Areg Danagoulian, an associate professor in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering, began about five years ago to consider how NRTA could be made portable to examine materials on location.

Bill introduced to advance U.S. interests in nuclear energy

June 22, 2021, 11:59AMNuclear News

Luria

Gonzalez

Reps. Anthony Gonzalez (R., Ohio) and Elaine Luria (D., Va.) last week introduced the Twenty First Century Nuclear Security Act—legislation the sponsors say would “deploy a whole-of-government effort” to gauge the risk to U.S. national security from a growing Russian and Chinese dominance in the global nuclear energy market and to identify opportunities for the United States to reestablish leadership in that arena.

The measure, according to a June 17 joint press release from the lawmakers, would require federal agencies to submit a report to Congress analyzing the importance of civilian nuclear power agreements and opportunities for advancing U.S. national security interests.

2020 enforcement cases rise but still below five-year average

June 22, 2021, 9:29AMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently released its Enforcement Program Annual Report for calendar year 2020, showing a total of 61 escalated enforcement actions taken last year against licensees, non-licensees, and individuals—an increase of 7 percent from CY 2019, but a number that remains below the five-year (2016–2020) average.

NEA argues for circular approach to funding back end of nuclear fuel cycle

June 22, 2021, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions

A report by the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency proposes a new approach to assessing the financial adequacy for undertaking nuclear decontamination and decommissioning projects and high-level radioactive waste management.

With the world’s aging nuclear power reactors approaching the end of their planned operational lifetimes, the adequacy of funding for decommissioning and waste management increasingly commands the attention of decision makers, the NEA said.

SRS preps for dissolution of stainless-steel-clad spent fuel

June 21, 2021, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
A train pushes a container full of old equipment from H Canyon to a Savannah River Site disposal facility to make way for a new spent nuclear fuel dissolving campaign. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy is preparing for an upcoming campaign to dissolve stainless-steel-clad spent nuclear fuel at its Savannah River Site in South Carolina by installing a new dissolver and an additional double-sized tank for storing dissolved material.

Centrus approved for HALEU production

June 21, 2021, 7:01AMNuclear News
Centrus’s American Centrifuge Plant, in Piketon, Ohio. Photo: Centrus Energy

Centrus Energy Corporation has announced that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the company’s license amendment request to produce high-assay low-enriched uranium at its Piketon, Ohio, enrichment facility. The Piketon plant is now the only U.S. facility licensed to enrich uranium up to 20 percent uranium-235, and it is expected to begin demonstrating HALEU production early next year, according to Centrus.

Exelon files to deactivate the Byron reactors

June 18, 2021, 12:06PMUpdated June 18, 2021, 4:50PMNuclear News
The Byron nuclear power plant.

Exelon on June 16 filed with grid operator PJM Interconnection to deactivate the two Byron reactors in Illinois. The move came one day after the Illinois Senate adjourned without reaching an agreement on a comprehensive energy package that would have provided nearly $700 million to keep Byron’s reactors, as well as Exelon’s Dresden and Braidwood nuclear power plants, in operation. (In August of 2020, Exelon announced that it would close the economically challenged Byron and Dresden facilities in the fall of 2021 without some form of state aid to provide compensation for their clean power.) The state’s House of Representatives also adjourned earlier this week without taking up the bill.

Online monitoring technology to extend calibration intervals of nuclear plant pressure transmitters

June 18, 2021, 1:55PMNuclear NewsH. M. Hashemian

Online monitoring (OLM) technology can be used in nuclear power plants as an analytical tool to measure sensor drift during plant operation and thereby identify the sensors whose calibration must be checked physically during an outage. The technology involves a procedure to (1) retrieve redundant sensor measurements from the process computer or through a separate data acquisition system, (2) calculate the average of these measurements and the deviation of each sensor from the average, and (3) identify any sensor that has deviated beyond its predetermined monitoring limit.

2021 ANS Virtual Annual Meeting: CEO roundtable

June 18, 2021, 9:37AMNuclear News

The 2021 ANS Annual Meeting brought together three leading chief executive officers from the nuclear industry on June 16 for a discussion centered on the future role of nuclear energy deployment and the challenges of portfolio management during a time of net-zero carbon goals.

First ITER central solenoid module ready for transatlantic journey

June 18, 2021, 7:01AMNuclear News
ITER CS Module 1 (shown here at right with the General Atomics fabrication team) is being loaded onto a specialized heavy transport vehicle for shipment to Houston, Texas, where it will be placed on a ship for transit to France. (Photo: General Atomics)

After a decade of design and fabrication, General Atomics (GA) is preparing to ship the first module of the central solenoid—the largest of ITER’s magnets—to the site in southern France where 35 partner countries are collaborating to build the world’s largest tokamak and the first fusion device to produce net energy.

NNSA to host virtual job fair

June 17, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News

A virtual job fair for the Department of Energy’s Nuclear Security Enterprise (NSE) is being held on Wednesday, June 23, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (EDT). The job fair will be hosted by the DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration.

The NSE is looking for the next generation of nuclear security professionals and is planning to hire more than 2,500 new employees in 2021.

Interested candidates are encouraged to register online for the event.