Gavrilas named NRC’s executive director for operations

July 22, 2024, 12:00PMNuclear News

Gavrilas

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has named Mirela Gavrilas, currently head of the agency’s Office of Nuclear Security and Incident Response, executive director for operations, effective July 28.

The EDO position is the highest-ranking NRC career position, with responsibilities for overseeing the agency’s operational and administrative functions and serving as the chief operating officer.

“Mirela is extraordinarily qualified for this top leadership position, based on her technical expertise, communication and management skills, and demonstrated ability to modernize work processes and metrics,” said Christopher Hanson, NRC chair. “She is well poised to lead the NRC staff as we tackle challenges and embrace new opportunities, particularly after the recent passage of the ADVANCE Act.”

Missouri radioisotope producer MURR joins European nuclear medicine group

July 22, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News
The 10-MW core of MURR contributes to the global supply of radioisotopes for medical radiopharmaceuticals and research. (Photo: MURR)

The University of Missouri Research Reactor (MURR) is the latest member of Nuclear Medicine Europe, an industry association for the radiopharmaceutical and molecular imaging industry in Europe, the University of Missouri announced July 17.

The fire that powers the universe: Harnessing inertial fusion energy

July 19, 2024, 3:06PMNuclear NewsBenny Evangelista and Charlie Osolin
Concept art showing an IFE power plant of the future. (Image: Eric Smith/LLNL)

It was a laser shot for the ages. By achieving fusion ignition on December 5, 2022, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory proved that recreating the “fire” that fuels the sun and the stars inside a laboratory on Earth was indeed scientifically possible.

IAEA’s Grossi highlights the growing promise of nuclear energy

July 19, 2024, 12:02PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency. (Photo: IAEA)

The peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology today hold more promise to heal the world since Austrian Swedish physicist Lise Meitner and her colleagues discovered nuclear fission in 1938, said Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in a new essay titled “Nuclear Must Be Part of The Solution” published by the magazine Foreign Affairs.

Czech Republic selects KHNP for nuclear plant project

July 19, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News
Prime Minister Petr Fiala (center right), ČEZ chief executive officer Daniel Beneš (left), and ministers Zbyněk Stanjura (center left) and Jozef Síkela at a press conference on July 17. (Photo: Czech Republic)

Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power is now in discussions with the Czech Republic for construction of two nuclear units at the Dukovany site and possible new energy sources at Temelín, the country’s other nuclear power facility.

FIA publishes “snapshot in time” fusion industry report

July 19, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear News

Following new federal funding and programs announced in June to support a “bold decadal vision” for fusion energy in the United States, and the enactment of the Fusion Energy Act in July, fusion energy trade group the Fusion Industry Association has released its latest annual survey of fusion companies: The Global Fusion Industry in 2024.

This fourth annual report includes responses from three companies that were not surveyed in 2023 as well as an additional $900 million of reported funding in the past year. That’s growth—but growth that falls short of the “bold” expectations set by the eye-popping $2.8 billion of funding reported by private companies in 2022, as media outlets—including Reuters, with the headline “Global Fusion Energy Investment Growth Falls for Second Year”—were quick to point out.

Four million nuclear jobs by 2050: Who will do them?

July 18, 2024, 12:00PMNuclear News
IAEA director general Rafael Mariano Grossi delivers his opening address at the International Conference on Nuclear Knowledge Management and Human Resources Development. (Photo: Dean Calma/IAEA)

Industry leaders from around the globe met this month to discuss the talent development that will be necessary for the long-term success of the nuclear industry.

The International Conference on Nuclear Knowledge Management and Human Resources Development, hosted by the International Atomic Energy Agency, was held in Vienna earlier this month. Discussed there was the agency’s forecast for nuclear capacity to more than double—or hopefully triple—by 2050 and the requirement of more than four million professionals to support the industry.

Virginia utility considers SMRs

July 18, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News
The North Anna nuclear power plant. (Photo: Dominion)

Dominion Energy Virginia has issued a request for proposals from leading nuclear companies to study the feasibility of putting a small modular reactor at its North Anna nuclear power plant.

While the utility says it is not a commitment to build an SMR at the site, the RFP is “an important first step in evaluating the technology and the North Anna site to support Dominion Energy customers’ future energy needs consistent with the company’s most recent Integrated Resource Plan.”

Oklo completes end-to-end demonstration of advanced fuel recycling

July 18, 2024, 7:10AMRadwaste Solutions
Engineers in Argonne’s Chemical and Fuel Cycle Technologies Division. (Photo: Argonne National Laboratory)

Oklo Inc. announced that it has completed the first end-to-end demonstration of its advanced fuel recycling process as part of an ongoing $5 million project in collaboration with Argonne and Idaho National Laboratories. Oklo’s goal: scaling up its fuel recycling capabilities to deploy a commercial-scale recycling facility that would increase advanced reactor fuel supplies and enhance fuel cost effectiveness for its planned sodium fast reactors.

Vogtle-3 back on line following unplanned outage

July 17, 2024, 11:18AMUpdated July 17, 2024, 8:24PMNuclear News
Unit 3 at the Vogtle nuclear power plant. (Photo: Georgia Power)

One of the new Vogtle units in Georgia was shut down unexpectedly on Monday last week for a valve issue that has since been investigated and repaired. According to multiple local news outlets, Georgia Power reported on July 17 that Unit 3 was back in service.

Southern Company spokesperson Jacob Hawkins confirmed that Vogtle-3 went off line at 9:25 p.m. local time on July 8 “due to lowering water levels in the steam generators caused by a valve issue on one of the three main feedwater pumps.”

ARPA-E announces $40 million to develop transmutation technologies for UNF

July 17, 2024, 3:02PMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) announced $40 million in funding to develop cutting-edge technologies to enable the transmutation of used nuclear fuel into less-radioactive substances. According to ARPA-E, the new initiative addresses one of the agency’s core goals as outlined by Congress: to provide transformative solutions to improve the management, cleanup, and disposal of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel.

INL accelerates nuclear energy research with Bitterroot supercomputer

July 17, 2024, 12:00PMNuclear News
INL’s new Bitterroot supercomputer installed in the Collaborative Computing Center. (Photo: INL)

A new supercomputer named Bitterroot started operating in June at Idaho National Laboratory’s Collaborative Computing Center (C3) and is speeding up nuclear energy research by improving access to modeling and simulation tools. Bitterroot arrived at INL in March, and the announced July 15 that the supercomputer was open to users on June 18 after installation and an extensive program of testing.

The IAEA targets seafood contaminants and plastic pollution in oceans

July 16, 2024, 3:02PMNuclear News
Researchers take samples of a microorganism that could produce toxins. (Photo: CEAC)

Oceans link all the continents of the world, and fish don’t respect boundary lines. So it’s fitting that a global organization—the International Atomic Energy Agency—is helping nations detect and monitor both plastic pollution and biotoxins in marine algae that can lead to outbreaks of contaminated seafood.

NRC holds public hearing on proposed Palisades restart

July 16, 2024, 12:00PMNuclear News
The Palisades nuclear power plant during days of operation. (Photo: Entergy Nuclear)

Dozens gathered last week at a public hearing hosted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to get feedback on the proposal to restart the Palisades nuclear power plant in Michigan.

The NRC is beginning its environmental review of plans to repower Palisades after it was shut down in May 2022 and was headed for permanent decommissioning. If the restart is successful, this would be the first return to service of a shuttered U.S. nuclear plant.

Solar, wind output surpass nuclear in first half of 2024

July 16, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News
U.S. nuclear vs. renewable electricity generation. (Image: Ember)

The combined energy generation in the United States from solar and wind during the first half of the year was more than that of nuclear plants for the first time, according to data from energy think tank Ember.

Electricity generation from utility-scale solar and wind assets during the first half of 2024 was a record 401.4 terawatt-hours, compared with 390.5 TWh from nuclear reactors

Application is open for IAEA Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Program

July 16, 2024, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe
Photo: IAEA

The International Atomic Energy Agency has announced the opening of this year’s application process for its Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Program (MSCFP), which is designed to “inspire and encourage young women to pursue a career in the nuclear field, by providing highly motivated female students with scholarships for master’s programs and an opportunity to pursue an internship facilitated by the IAEA,” according to the program description.