Reflections on Nuclear Science Week: Nuclear curiosity is on the rise

December 5, 2023, 12:01PMNuclear NewsAmelia Tiemann
The author on a walking tour of SONGS, with the reactor dome and dry cask storage in the background. (Photos by Amelia Tiemann)

Recently I had the opportunity to be the American Nuclear Society’s boots on the ground when I traveled to San Diego during Nuclear Science Week. I got to meet dozens of members of the nuclear community, tour the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, attend a screening of Oliver Stone’s Nuclear Now, and listen to a lively panel discussion about the importance of nuclear energy for solving climate change. It was a fun and illuminating experience, and I left with the impression that, excitingly, nuclear curiosity is on the rise.

What’s happening in big fusion? A global update

December 5, 2023, 9:35AMNuclear News

One year ago today, researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory achieved a record shot at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) that set the world talking about the potential of fusion energy. And the buzz hasn’t stopped. Fusion energy is getting its most significant attention yet on the world stage at COP28 in Dubai, UAE, where John Kerry, U.S. special presidential envoy for climate, delivered a keynote address today titled “An inclusive fusion energy future,” followed by a panel discussion.

Declaration to triple nuclear energy launched at COP28

December 5, 2023, 7:21AMNuclear News

As expected, a large number of nations at the COP28 climate conference in Dubai have issued a declaration to triple the world’s nuclear power capacity by 2050. John Kerry, U.S. special presidential envoy for climate, joined leaders and ministers from four continents on Saturday to announce the Declaration to Triple Nuclear Energy.

When deployments hit setbacks: Cautionary tales in Idaho and Alaska

December 4, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
A map of the potential reactor siting area (in green) at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska provided during a pre-proposal conference in October 2022. (Graphic: Department of the Air Force)

Plans announced with fanfare sometimes falter in the face of competition or economics. Take NuScale Power’s plans for the Carbon Free Power Project in Idaho: The project was canceled in mid-November by NuScale and its first customer, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, after nearly a decade. The significance of that news depends on the observer. NuScale intends to focus on other sites and customers. Competitors may redouble efforts to tout their own designs and customer lists. Media found an opportunity to speculate about the future of advanced nuclear. And while many in the nuclear community believe the momentum in favor of new nuclear deployments is continuing—or even increasing as COP28 continues—others would caution against high hopes and point to the persistent obstacles of regulation, supply chain constraints, and financing costs.

New U.K. report: Young people want to know more about nuclear

December 4, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News

Almost two-thirds of 14- to 18-year-olds in the United Kingdom would consider a career in nuclear if they knew more about it, according to a new report, Nuclear Energy: Young People’s Views on Nuclear Energy and Careers in the Nuclear Sector, from the British Science Association (BSA).

About the report: The report was conducted as part of the BSA’s Future Forum program and was funded by Urenco, an international supplier of uranium enrichment services and fuel cycle products, as part of its commitment to education and skills development.

The report centered around an initial survey of 1,000 14- to 18-year-olds in England, Scotland, and Wales, with two follow-up workshops that were attended by 39 young people, providing the opportunity for more detailed responses.

Obstacles to new nuclear in Sweden cleared

December 4, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News

Aerial view of Sweden’s parliament building, Riksdagshuset, in Stockholm. (Photo: Arild Vågen/Wikipedia)

Sweden’s parliament, the Riksdag, has approved legislative amendments from Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson’s government that will remove the country’s prohibition on new reactor construction at sites other than Sweden’s three current nuclear plants—Forsmark, Ringhals, and Oskarshamn—and do away with the limitation on the number of simultaneously operating reactors, currently capped at 10.

The amendments enter force on January 1.

“The Riksdag shares the government’s assessment that fossil-free electricity from nuclear power will also continue to play a role of central importance in the Swedish energy mix,” the legislative body said in a statement following the November 29 vote. “The main reasons for this are an expected greater demand for electricity in combination with the fact that fossil fuels have to be phased out, particularly for climate reasons. Nuclear power also contributes to the stable and predictable functioning of the Swedish power system.”

Framatome to work with Romania’s Nuclearelectrica on Lu-177 production

December 4, 2023, 6:58AMNuclear NewsGuest Contributor
Framatome CEO Bernard Fontana (left) and Teodor Chirica, Nuclearelectrica board president, shake hands following the signing of the Lu-177 MOU in Paris. (Photo: Framatome)

Framatome and Nuclearelectrica, operator of Romania’s Cernavoda nuclear power plant, announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding to explore the possibility of producing the medical isotope lutetium-177. The cooperative agreement was signed during the World Nuclear Exhibition 2023, held November 28–30 in Paris.

Argonne assists advanced reactor development with award-winning safety software

December 1, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear NewsKristen Mally Dean
Partnerships between the nuclear industry and national laboratories are making overall codes more robust and capable. (Photo: Argonne)

The development of modern nuclear reactor technologies relies heavily on complex software codes and computer simulations to support the design, construction, and testing of physical hardware systems. These tools allow for rigorous testing of theory and thorough verification of design under various use or transient power scenarios.

OPG picks fuel suppliers for first Darlington SMR

December 1, 2023, 12:01PMNuclear News
Representatives of OPG and its partners announced new contracts at the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris. (Photo: X/@urencoglobal)

At the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris this week, Ontario Power Generation announced contracts with Canadian, French, and U.S. companies to ensure a fuel supply for the first of four GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy BWRX-300 small modular reactors planned for deployment at OPG’s Darlington nuclear power plant.

A fourth time around for World Nuclear Energy Day

December 1, 2023, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe

World Nuclear Energy Day takes place tomorrow, marking the 81st anniversary of the day in 1942 when Enrico Fermi and his team achieved the first controlled, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction with Chicago Pile-1. It also is the anniversary of the first commercial nuclear reactor reaching criticality—at Shippingport, Pa., on December 2, 1957.

ANS Winter Meeting: The momentum equation

December 1, 2023, 6:54AMNuclear News

While the featured speakers of the American Nuclear Society’s 2023 Winter Meeting and Expo opening plenary—West Virginia senators Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin and Nuclear Regulatory Commission chair Christopher Hanson—generated a lot of buzz, the rest of the session provided constructive insights into the current state of nuclear technology and a glimpse of what the future may hold.

Westinghouse, OPG to explore reactor deployment opportunities

November 30, 2023, 12:01PMNuclear News
Westinghouse’s Fragman (left) and OPG’s Ken Hartwick at the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris. (Photo: Westinghouse)

Westinghouse Electric Company and Ontario Power Generation have signed a memorandum of understanding establishing a framework to identify potential areas of cooperation for the deployment of nuclear technologies in Canada, the companies jointly announced this morning. (While based in Cranberry Township, Pa., Westinghouse is owned by Canadian firms Brookfield Asset Management and Cameco.)

Savannah River Site M&O contractor hosts supply chain summit

November 30, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
Savannah River Nuclear Solution’s supply chain management team discusses upcoming process changes during its first staff augmentation summit. (Photo: SRNS)

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions’ Supply Chain Management (SCM) team recently hosted its first staff augmentation summit to strengthen relationships with 25 staffing firms and provide upcoming process changes for fiscal year 2024.

DOE prepares for transition of Savannah River Site management

November 29, 2023, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
DOE and NNSA personnel at a meeting discussing the plans for the upcoming SRS landlord transition. (Photo: DOE)

Personnel from the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management and the National Nuclear Security Administration recently gathered to discuss plans for the upcoming transfer of landlord responsibility for the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.

Framatome and USNC team up to produce TRISO fuel at Framatome facility

November 29, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
Image: USNC

Framatome Inc. and Ultra Safe Nuclear Corp. (USNC) signed an agreement on November 28 at the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris, France, establishing a joint venture to manufacture nuclear fuel for USNC’s gas-cooled microreactor and other advanced reactor designs. Working together, the companies plan to produce commercial quantities of TRISO fuel particles and USNC’s proprietary Fully Ceramic Microencapsulated (FCM) fuel, which contains TRISO fuel particles within a ceramic fuel pellet.

Still in need of HALEU, DOE issues RFP for post-enrichment services

November 29, 2023, 9:34AMNuclear News
Image: DOE

The Department of Energy plans to award one or more contracts to deconvert high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) from its post-enrichment gaseous uranium hexafluoride (UF6) state to other chemical forms, such as metal or oxide. The DOE’s final request for proposals (RFP) for deconversion services was issued November 28 as one part of the agency’s effort—under the HALEU Availability Program—to establish a reliable domestic supply of advanced reactor fuel. The DOE will store the deconverted material until it is required by a fuel fabricator or other end user.

NRC to hold hybrid meeting on Crystal River-3 license termination

November 29, 2023, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
The Crystal River-3 nuclear power plant.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced that it will hold a hybrid public meeting on December 7 to discuss the license termination process and to accept comments on the remaining cleanup activities under the license termination plan for the Crystal River-3 nuclear power plant in Crystal River, Fla.

Saskatchewan government provides C$80 million for eVinci demonstration

November 28, 2023, 3:01PMNuclear News
eVinci Technologies president Jon Ball (left) and SRC president and CEO Mike Crabtree in front of a scale mock-up of an eVinci microreactor at SRC. (Photo: Westinghouse)

Saskatchewan premier Scott Moe yesterday announced C$80 million (about $59 million) for the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) to pursue demonstration of Westinghouse Electric Company’s eVinci microreactor technology.