New Spanish Communications Subcommittee seeks volunteers

August 3, 2021, 3:01PMANS News

The newly created Spanish Communications Subcommittee (SCS) of the ANS Diversity and Inclusion Committee needs translators, transcribers, and original content developers. Already the group has attracted interested members from all over the world, including Argentina, Spain, Chile, Mexico, and the United States.

License extension for fuel site receives preliminary approval from NRC

August 3, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News

In a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) published last week, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission made a “preliminary recommendation” for approval of Westinghouse Electric Company’s application to renew for 40 years the operating license of its Columbia Fuel Fabrication Facility (CFFF), located in Hopkins, S.C.

DOE’s Huff: VTR is key to sustained advanced reactor innovation

August 3, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear News
A rendering of the VTR facility. (Image: INL)

An earlier version of the article incorrectly stated that Kathryn Huff was the DOE's assistant secretary, it has been updated to show that she is the acting assistant secretary for nuclear energy. We apologize for the error.

Kathryn Huff, the Department of Energy’s acting assistant secretary for nuclear energy, asserted in an article published online by the Office of Nuclear Energy (DOE-NE) on July 30 that demonstration reactors, such as the Natrium and Xe-100 reactors being built as full-size power producers with cost-shared funding from the DOE, and test reactors, such as the Versatile Test Reactor, are both necessary for nuclear innovation. Both are also line items in the DOE budget request, and Huff’s article sends a clear message to appropriators about the need to fund both the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP) and the VTR.

Bumpy roads lead to beautiful places

August 2, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy

Per Nuclear News tradition, this month’s issue is dedicated to highlighting our nuclear technology supply chain. U.S. nuclear suppliers have certainly seen their share of challenges in the last decade or so. The widely anticipated “Nuclear Renaissance” of the early 2000s gave way to Fukushima, then a wavelet of plant closures that ANS President Steve Nesbit addresses in his column on page 15 of the August 2021 issue of Nuclear News.

However, the nuclear narrative has taken on a more positive tone of late. Significant federal investments in advanced nuclear energy systems, coupled with a broader recognition of the need to decarbonize, has stoked excitement for a new generation of U.S. technology on the verge of scaled commercial deployment by the end of the decade. Hopefully, in the words of Washington Nationals manager Davey Martinez, whose team went from a 19–32 record to World Series champs in 2019, “Bumpy roads lead to beautiful places.”

U.K. requests input on HTGR potential

August 2, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News

The U.K. government last week issued a “call for evidence” inviting stakeholders to weigh in on its choice of the high-temperature gas reactor for Britain’s £170 million (about $236 million) advanced modular reactor (AMR) demonstration program. The deadline for input on the government’s selection is September 9.

According to the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, the key objective of the AMR program is to demonstrate high-temperature heat production that can be used for low-carbon hydrogen production, process heat (for industrial and domestic use), and cost-competitive electricity generation in time for an AMR to support the government’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. The target for enabling an AMR demonstration is the early 2030s.

University students explore nuclear nonproliferation with LANL experts

August 2, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear News
Left: The University of Texas at Austin SBD Challenge team: from left, Michael Butero, Matthew Frangos, Daniel Gutierrez, and John (Jack) Whelan. Right: The University of Rhode Island team: from left, Jay Macchia, Sean Babin, and Peter Tillinghast. (Photo: NNSA)

The National Nuclear Security Administration's Office of Nonproliferation and Arms Control has been partnering with national laboratories and universities to introduce engineering students to the field of international safeguards. Safeguards ensure that nuclear material and facilities are not used to illicitly manufacture nuclear weapons, the NNSA noted in a July 27 article.

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.