Manchin supports nuclear provisions in Biden’s Build Back Better plan

January 14, 2022, 3:25PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) has been in the news over the past week—and that’s good news for the nuclear community. Last week, The Hill reported on Manchin’s support for climate action, and according to Bloomberg News this week, Manchin is “big on nuclear” and supports the tax credits for nuclear power plants included in the administration’s Build Back Better plan.

Ultra Safe Nuclear and ORNL strengthen bonds with 3D printing technology

January 14, 2022, 11:58AMNuclear News
Kurt Terrani observing a chemical vapor infiltration furnace at ORNL during densification of additively manufactured nuclear-grade silicon carbide. (Photo: Carlos Jones/ORNL/DOE)

Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC), a Seattle-based reactor developer, has licensed an additive manufacturing technique developed at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory to print refractory materials into structural and core components for the company’s microreactor designs.

Shadow corrosion is reproduced in University of Michigan lab

January 14, 2022, 9:36AMNuclear News
[CLICK TO VIEW FULL IMAGE] The diagram at left illustrates the experimental setup and the resulting zirconium oxide layer of varying thickness. The second diagram shows the circular zirconium alloy sample that is affected by the band of nickel alloy and radiation. Finally, the electron image at right shows a band of oxidation on the zirconium alloy sample. (Images: Peng Wang, Michigan Ion Beam Laboratory)

A longstanding issue in boiling water reactors—shadow corrosion on zirconium alloy fuel rods and fuel channels—has been reproduced in the Michigan Ion Beam Laboratory as part of an effort to understand and prevent the phenomenon. Research led by Peng Wang, a University of Michigan assistant research scientist in nuclear engineering and radiological sciences, was published in the January 2022 issue of the Journal of Nuclear Materials and described in a recent university news article.

Omar Hurricane: Scientific proof of principle at the NIF

January 14, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News


In 2012, Omar Hurricane, a distinguished member of the technical staff at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, was asked by the laboratory director to lead a team to delve into studying the physics and engineering obstacles preventing fusion ignition at the National Ignition Facility (NIF). The team’s efforts led to a new exploratory “basecamp” strategy and the creation of several pivotal experiments that revealed some of the underlying problems with the ignition point design, while also delivering improved fusion performance and the first evidence of significant alpha particle self-heating.

Hurricane was appointed chief scientist of the Inertial Confinement Fusion Program in 2014, a position he has held ever since. He was named a Fellow of the American Physical Society’s Division of Plasma Physics in 2016 and was recently awarded the Edward Teller Medal from the American Nuclear Society for his work on inertial confinement fusion physics.

Another delay, cost bump, for Flamanville-3

January 13, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News
The Flamanville nuclear power plant in France.

France’s Flamanville-3 project, plagued by schedule setbacks and cost overruns for well over a decade (construction of the unit commenced in December 2007), will be delayed a bit longer and cost a bit more.

Électricité de France announced yesterday that fuel loading at the 1,600-MWe EPR has been pushed back from the end of this year to the second quarter of 2023. The delay increases the project’s cost at completion from €12.4 billion (about $14.2 billion) to €12.7 billion (about $14.5 billion), more than four times the initial estimate of €3.3 billion, according to EDF.

Oak Ridge project team honored with Achievement Award

January 13, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
Oak Ridge before-and-after views: At left is the Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant when it was closed in the late 1980s, and at right is a view of the site today, known as the East Tennessee Technology Park. (Photo: DOE)

Energy secretary Jennifer Granholm honored a Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management (EM) team from Oak Ridge with the Secretary of Energy’s Achievement Award during a virtual ceremony yesterday for successfully removing a former uranium enrichment complex. The project cleared 13 million square feet of deteriorated, contaminated structures from the site.

The nuclear community rallies to save Diablo Canyon

January 13, 2022, 7:01AMANS News
Pro-nuclear groups rallied to keep Diablo Canyon open beyond 2025 in front of the San Luis-Obispo County Courthouse in California on December 4, 2021. (Photo: Save Clean Energy)

Over the past couple of months, the nuclear community has participated in a grassroots effort to save the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant from premature closure—and it appears to be having an effect. The growing support for keeping Diablo Canyon open is seen in editorials, an academic study from Stanford/MIT, and a grassroots rally held in December 2021 to show support for keeping Diablo Canyon operating.

Hanford completes cleanup at Plutonium Finishing Plant

January 12, 2022, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
Click to see full image. (Photo: DOE)

Department of Energy contractor Central Plateau Cleanup Company recently completed final demolition activities at the Hanford Site’s former Plutonium Finishing Plant, which was once one of the most hazardous facilities in the DOE’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) cleanup complex.

Check out this time-lapse video of the plant’s demolition from October 2016 through November 2021.

Foratom offers advice on improving EU taxonomy proposal

January 12, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

Foratom, the Brussels-based trade association for the European nuclear industry, wrote a letter yesterday to the European Commission welcoming the EC’s recent proposal to include nuclear in the EU taxonomy (under certain conditions), but also offering some suggestions for the proposal’s improvement.

The taxonomy is the European Union’s classification system for directing investments toward environmentally sustainable economic projects. On December 31, the EC’s nuclear-inclusive proposal was sent to expert panels from EU member states, with a response deadline of today. At a news briefing yesterday, however, an EC spokesperson announced an extended deadline of January 21.

Exelon Generation shares plans for future as Constellation

January 12, 2022, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Exelon Generation—owner and operator of the nation’s largest power reactor fleet—held an online event yesterday outlining the company’s business strategy as it prepares to separate from Exelon Corporation under the name Constellation. The separation is expected to become final on February 1.

How can nuclear energy deliver a clean energy future?

January 12, 2022, 7:03AMNuclear NewsLauren Lathem

One of the things that motivates and inspires me is the impact that access to electricity has on a society. Did you know that 15 percent of the world’s population does not have access to electricity? When I first learned that, I thought, “15 percent, that’s lower than I expected.” But then I realized that 15 percent translates to 1.1 billion people who do not have access to electricity.

Brooke Poole Clark announced as NRC’s next secretary

January 11, 2022, 3:03PMANS Nuclear Cafe


The Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced today the selection of Brooke Poole Clark as the new secretary to the Commission, effective spring 2022. Clark will replace Annette Vietti-Cook, who is retiring after nearly 40 years of service at the NRC.

In her new position, Clark will provide executive management services to support the Commission and implement Commission decisions. She will be responsible for scheduling Commission meetings, managing the Commission's decision-making process, codifying Commission decisions in memoranda, processing and controlling Commission correspondence, and maintaining the Commission's historical records collection, among other tasks.

Researchers find way to make new cancer medicine

January 11, 2022, 12:13PMANS Nuclear Cafe
INL scientists Matt Snow and Jessica Ward hold a natural vanadium solution that will be separated into the cancer-treating isotope scandium-47. (Photo: INL)

Idaho National Laboratory researchers have, for the first time, used a novel technique using high-energy photons to produce scandium-47 from the element vanadium. The project is a collaboration with Jon Stoner and John Longley from Idaho State University’s Idaho Accelerator Center and Tara Mastren from the University of Utah. The results are published in the journal Applied Radiation and Isotopes.

Czech Republic’s energy future includes nuclear, renewables, says new government

January 11, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
The Temelin nuclear power plant in Czech Republic.

In a wide-ranging “program statement” laying out its policy priorities, the Czech Republic’s new, center-right government has endorsed nuclear energy and renewables and called for power generation from coal to be phased out by 2033.

The final version of the statement was released on January 7 by the five-party coalition government, sworn into office last month and led by Prime Minister Petr Fiala, head of the Civic Democratic Party.

University of Illinois to host ANS Student Conference

January 11, 2022, 7:03AMANS News
UIUC Student Section members. (Photo: UIUC NPRE)

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ANS Student Section is preparing to host the 2022 ANS Student Conference, to be held April 14–16 on the university campus. Registration is now open for the first in-person ANS student conference since 2019.

DOE and NNSA partner with SHINE for domestic Mo-99

January 10, 2022, 12:01PMNuclear News

The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration and Office of Environmental Management (EM) have signed the first contracts under the DOE’s Uranium Lease and Take-back Program with SHINE Technologies. The DOE called it a milestone in its effort to increase domestic production of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99), a medical isotope used in more than 40,000 medical procedures in the United States each day, without the use of high-enriched uranium.

SHINE Technologies, of Janesville, Wis., is one of the NNSA’s cooperative agreement partners. In October 2021, the NNSA awarded SHINE $35 million to support its efforts to produce Mo-99 commercially by the end of 2023.

Click here for more information on the NNSA efforts to establish a reliable supply of Mo‑99 without the use of HEU.

Hunterston B plant closes with Unit B2 shutdown

January 10, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

Hunterston B worker in the Charge Hall, November 2021. (Photo: EDF Energy)

The Hunterston B nuclear power plant has ended its nearly 46 years of zero-carbon electricity generation for Scotland with the shutdown of Unit B2. The 495-MWe advanced gas-cooled reactor (AGR), which began commercial operation in March 1977, was taken off line on January 7. The station’s companion unit, the 490-MWe AGR B1, was shut down last November.

Under an agreement with the U.K. government signed on June 23, 2021, EDF Energy, owner and operator of Britain’s power reactor fleet, is responsible for defueling all seven of the U.K.’s AGR nuclear stations over this decade. (The agreement does not include Sizewell B, which houses a 1,098-MWe pressurized water reactor slated to continue operating until at least 2035, or Hinkley Point C, which is currently under construction.) EDF expects the defueling of the AGR facilities to take from three-and-a-half to five years.

Scheduled to follow Hunterston B into the defueling phase by July of this year is the two-unit Hinkley Point B plant in Somerset, England.

Attempted overturn of Montana nuclear power law fails

January 10, 2022, 7:01AMNuclear News

A Montana citizens group has failed in its effort to repeal H.B. 273, a recently enacted law that transfers the power to authorize the construction of nuclear power facilities in the state from the public, via referendum, to the legislature. H.B. 273 was signed by Montana governor Greg Gianforte last year, overturning the Montana Empowering Voters to Approve Proposed Nuclear Facilities Initiative, which had been on the books since 1978.