Advanced reactors: Now comes the hard part

January 28, 2022, 2:26PMNuclear NewsMatthew L. Wald

Designing a reactor is complicated but building one may be harder. Even companies that have had lots of practice haven’t always done it well. And all the power reactors in service today were built by companies that had years of experience in other kinds of big steam-electric power plants. In contrast, some of the creative new designs now moving toward commercialization come from start-ups that have never built anything at all. How should they prepare?

NRC issues $50,000 fine for security-related violations at Oyster Creek

January 28, 2022, 12:01PMNuclear News
HDI was issued a confirmatory order by the NRC for regulatory violations at Oyster Creek. (Photo: Exelon)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a confirmatory order to Holtec Decommissioning International (HDI) following an alternative dispute resolution mediation session regarding security-related violations at the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in Lacey Township, N.J. A subsidiary of Holtec International, HDI is decommissioning Oyster Creek, which permanently ceased operations in 2018.

Machine learning and environmental remediation

January 28, 2022, 9:29AMANS Nuclear CafeAndrew Amann

Due to the large amount of water used by nuclear power plants, measuring the water’s impact on the environment is a huge data processing task. It is impossible to manually measure millions of gallons, along with tracking wildlife and the weather. The data computation needed to understand environmental patterns takes massive amounts of storage and strong algorithms to uncover anomalies.

Savannah River employees honored with Secretary of Energy Achievement Awards

January 28, 2022, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
A cask of HEU arrives at the H Canyon facility. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy announced yesterday that Secretary of Energy Achievement Awards were presented to a team of Savannah River Site employees for the completion of the multiyear Target Residue Material (TRM) campaign to support global nuclear security goals.

SRS is a 310-square-mile site located in South Carolina. It encompasses parts of Aiken, Barnwell, and Allendale counties and is bordered on the west by the Savannah River and the state of Georgia.

Burning plasma state achieved at Lawrence Livermore Lab

January 27, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News
An illustration of the two inertial confinement fusion designs reaching the burning plasma regime, as published in a recent article in Nature. (Image: LLNL)

One of the last remaining milestones in fusion research before attaining ignition and self-sustaining energy production is creating a burning plasma, where the fusion reactions themselves are the primary source of heating in the plasma. A paper published in the journal Nature on January 26 describes recent experiments at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s National Ignition Facility (NIF) that have achieved a burning plasma state.

DOE notes progress in campaign to transfer radioactive capsules to dry storage at Hanford Site

January 27, 2022, 12:03PMRadwaste Solutions
Workers recently installed manipulator equipment at a full-scale mock-up of areas of the Hanford Site’s Waste Encapsulation and Storage Facility. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) announced this week that preparations are well underway for the transfer of nearly 2,000 highly radioactive cesium and strontium capsules from the Waste Encapsulation and Storage Facility (WESF) to interim dry storage at the Hanford Site near Richland, Wash.

Spent fuel reprocessing, or "Don't bother us with facts; our minds are made up."

January 27, 2022, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe
The cover of the May 1977 issue of Nuclear News (left), an image of the story discussing Carter's decision to cancel the breeder reactor program (center) and the cover of the June 1977 Nuclear News (right).

The ANS Fuel Cycle and Waste Management Division will present a webinar today at noon EST (the recording will be available via the webinar archive to all ANS members) featuring an international panel of experts on nuclear waste reprocessing. The panel will explore the idea of separating certain radionuclides from waste using recycling technology that enables pure materials to be used for other purposes.

Bruce Power completes installation of Lu-177 production system

January 27, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News
Bruce nuclear power plant in Ontario, Canada. (Photo: Bruce Power)

Bruce Power and Isogen, a partnership between Kinectrics and Framatome, have completed the installation of Isogen’s isotope production system (IPS) at Unit 7 of Bruce’s CANDU nuclear power plant in Ontario, Canada, making it the first power reactor in the world with installed capability to produce lutetium-177.

Prepare for the nuclear PE exam with study aids from ANS

January 26, 2022, 12:18PMANS News

The next opportunity to earn professional engineer (P.E.) licensure in nuclear engineering is this fall. Now is the time to sign up for the exam and begin studying with the help of a new online module program from the American Nuclear Society.

Nominations being accepted for 2022 ANS Annual Meeting awards

January 26, 2022, 9:30AMANS News

For more than 50 years, the ANS Honors and Awards Program has recognized outstanding achievements and meritorious service in the various fields served by the American Nuclear Society.

The recipients of the national awards listed below will be honored on June 13 during the opening plenary session of the 2022 ANS Annual Meeting. Honorees will be notified of their selection by May.

All members are encouraged to review the nomination requirements for these awards and consider nominating a qualified colleague. Many ANS awards are open to non-ANS members, and nominating colleagues who are not members is one way to foster new ANS relationships.

NRC commissioners vote to continue ISFSI security rulemaking

January 26, 2022, 7:22AMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will continue work on a new rule on security requirements for independent spent fuel storage installations (ISFSIs), with two of the agency’s three commissioners voting to disapprove a request by NRC staff to discontinue the proposed rulemaking. The commissioners’ votes on the request were recorded on August 4, 2021, but were not made public until January 24.

Tennessee governor backs nuclear energy and TVA's plans for SMRs

January 25, 2022, 3:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

During a tour last week of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s two-unit Watts Bar nuclear power plant in Tennessee, Gov. Bill Lee said, "Nuclear energy is so important not only because it is an important part of TVA's power generation but also because of the value that clean energy via nuclear energy can have for sustainability in this country,” according to an article in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Lee added that he would support TVA’s plans if it decided to build small modular reactors.

DOE seeks proposals to build and test high-tech railcar for spent nuclear fuel

January 25, 2022, 1:53PMRadwaste Solutions
Graphical rendering of Fortis railcar design with spent nuclear fuel cask. (Image: DOE)

The Department of Energy has issued a request for proposals for the fabrication and testing of a prototype eight-axle railcar to carry the nation’s spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. The heavy-duty, flat-deck railcar design known as “Fortis” received approval from the Association of American Railroads (AAR) in January 2021 to proceed to building and testing.

ANS publishes solid waste processing system standard

January 25, 2022, 7:00AMANS News

The American Nuclear Society has just published ANSI/ANS-55.1-2021, Solid Radioactive Waste Processing System for Light-Water-Cooled Reactor Plants. The standard was originally issued in 1979 with a revision in 1992 to provide design guidance for in-plant solid radwaste systems.

Check out a preview or purchase ANSI/ANS-55.1-2021 in the ANS Standards Store.

BWXT to demonstrate TRISO fuel line operations under contract extension

January 24, 2022, 2:59PMNuclear News

BWX Technologies announced on January 24 that it has been awarded a $4.9 million contract amendment to produce TRISO fuel particles using natural uranium and to demonstrate performance under a defined production schedule. BWXT’s Nuclear Operations Group will perform the work at BWXT’s Lynchburg, Va., facility, where TRISO production was restarted in November 2020. The contract amendment was awarded by Battelle Energy Alliance, which manages Idaho National Laboratory on behalf of the Department of Energy.

Indiana Senate bill will have state consider SMRs

January 24, 2022, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Doriot

Koch

A new bill in the Indiana state Senate creates guidelines for state regulators to consider small modular reactors should utilities want to build them. Senate Bill 271 was sponsored by Sen. Eric Koch (R., Bedford), chair of the Senate Utilities Committee, and Sen. Blake Doriot (R., Goshen). Supporters of the bill said that SMRs could replace retiring coal plants and would supplement renewables.

The Indy Star reported on January 24 that the utilities committee passed the bill by a vote of eight to two and that it now heads to the full Senate.

Progress being made on Nuclear Grand Challenges

January 24, 2022, 9:29AMNuclear NewsAndrew C. Klein

Early in my year as ANS vice president/president-elect, I was determined to try to find a project that the entire ANS community could rally behind and could be completed during my year as ANS president. I was looking for something that would provide community-identified focus areas for future activities and that would mobilize, energize, and inspire ANS members during that year and in the years ahead.

NWTRB to hold public meeting on DOE waste management, consent-based siting

January 24, 2022, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, an independent federal agency established by Congress to conduct ongoing technical and scientific evaluation of the Department of Energy’s efforts to manage and dispose of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste, will hold virtual public meetings on March 1 and March 2, to review recent DOE activities.