Biden launches nuclear power projects working group in push to deployment

May 29, 2024, 3:00PMNuclear News

Nuclear energy advocates attended a White House summit today on domestic nuclear deployment and will help advise a new federal initiative to support building new grid-scale nuclear reactors.

The event showcased recent policy developments and new industry investments that have changed the playing field—for the better—for nuclear during the past few years. The White House is calling it “the largest sustained push to accelerate civil nuclear deployment in the United States in nearly five decades.”

Oklo, Wyoming Hyperscale partner for data center energy

May 29, 2024, 12:01PMNuclear News
Oklo’s Aurora Powerhouse (Image: Gensler)

California-based Oklo is partnering with Wyoming Hyperscale to power a state-of-the-art data center campus.

The companies, which announced the partnership last week, signed a nonbinding letter of intent to provide 100 megawatts of carbon-free energy for a 20-year power purchase agreement. Wyoming Hyperscale is building a data center on 58 acres of land on Aspen Mountain, a remote site southeast of Evanston, Wyo., and plans to use Oklo’s Aurora Powerhouse units to provide clean energy at the site.

Framatome to install new pipe liner at U.S. plant

May 29, 2024, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe
Framatome’s spray liner rehabilitates buried piping and underground components. (Photo: Framatome)

Framatome was recently awarded a multimillion-dollar contract to perform mitigation of buried condenser feed pipes at a three-unit nuclear power plant in the United States.

The France-based nuclear company plans to install spray-in-place structural pipe liner to mitigate more than one mile of large diameter underground piping connected to plant condenser boxes. The project will be performed during nine outages over eight years, with the first application planned for fall 2025.

DOE ready to consider Russian U ban waivers

May 29, 2024, 7:01AMNuclear News

Utilities need to know months ahead of a scheduled refueling outage that fresh fuel will be on-site and ready to load. Now that the Prohibiting Russian Uranium Imports Act has been signed into law, U.S. utilities with plans to use Russian-origin low-enriched uranium also need to know if they can secure a waiver for imports through December 31, 2027—subject to specific annual limits—if “no alternative viable source of [LEU] is available to sustain the continued operation of a nuclear reactor or a United States nuclear energy company” or if LEU imports from Russia are “in the national interest.”

Retirees and older pros return to the nuclear industry

May 28, 2024, 2:58PMANS Nuclear Cafe

The U.K.-based Financial Times recently featured an article focusing on the return of retirees and the extending of professional careers in the nuclear industry in Western countries. According to the article, “the nuclear power industry is seeking to lure back thousands of retired engineers and older professionals as Western companies try to fill a skills gap to deliver the biggest wave of new projects in decades.”

U.K. announces new site for mega-nuclear power station

May 28, 2024, 12:00PMNuclear News

The United Kingdom has announced a northern Wales site as its preferred location for a third mega-nuclear power station as the nation aims to support long-term energy security.

Following its plans to build nuclear facilities at Hinkley in Somerset and Sizewell in Suffolk, both in England, U.K. officials hope to revive the nuclear history of Wylfa, in Wales, and bring thousands of jobs and major investment to the area. The government is kickstarting talks with global energy firms in hopes of building a nuclear plant in Wylfa that could provide enough energy to power 6 million homes for 60 years.

NASA will supply Am-241 heat sources for Mars rover in a space exploration first

May 28, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News
Concept art of ESA’s Rosalind Franklin rover. (Image: ESA/ATG medialab)

Europe’s first Mars rover—named Rosalind Franklin—was months away from a planned September launch when the European Space Agency (ESA) convened a meeting a few weeks after Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine. The ESA Council unanimously agreed on “the present impossibility” of working with Roscosmos as its launch partner and later decided to reboot its ExoMars mission with a new lander, new partners, and a new launch date.

Nuclear security workforce development

May 24, 2024, 3:02PMNuclear NewsSara A. Pozzi

Ensuring that nuclear technology is used exclusively for peaceful purposes remains a critical challenge for our society today. The global community faces several grave nuclear security threats: nations that attempt to create (such as Iran) or augment (such as Russia, China, and North Korea) their nuclear arsenals, acts of aggression that target civilian nuclear reactors (as seen with Russia in Ukraine), and the looming menace of nuclear weapons deployment (emanating from Russia). Furthermore, addressing climate change necessitates an expansion of nuclear energy for electricity generation, which brings with it the need for safeguarding and regulating the deployment of advanced reactors.

NRC accepts TerraPower’s SMR construction permit

May 24, 2024, 12:00PMNuclear News
A rendering of the Natrium plant. (Image: Terrapower)

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has formally accepted TerraPower’s small modular reactor construction permit application and is scheduling it for review.

The company’s Natrium reactor demonstration project—the nation’s first commercial advanced reactor of its kind—would be built on land in Wyoming near one of the state’s retiring coal plants. Kemmerer Power Station Unit 1 would operate as a 345-MW sodium-cooled reactor in conjunction with molten salt–based energy storage.

Constellation chief doesn’t rule out Three Mile Island restart

May 24, 2024, 9:34AMNuclear News
An aerial photo of the three mile island nuclear power station. (Photo: Constellation)

On the company’s earnings call this month, Constellation CEO Joe Dominguez was asked if there is a possibility of restarting the shuttered Three Mile Island plant—as is being proposed for the Palisades nuclear plant in Michigan.

“We’re not unaware that opportunity exists for us,” Dominguez said. “We’re obviously seen what’s happened with Palisades and I think that was brilliant. Brilliant for the nation. … We are doing a good bit of thinking about a number of different opportunities, and that would probably certainly be one of those that we would think about.”

Kyoto Fusioneering and CNL form fusion development joint venture

May 24, 2024, 6:53AMNuclear News
FFC board members (from left to right) Kiyoshi Seko (KF), Stephen Bushby (CNL), Satoshi Konishi (KF), and Ian Castillo (CNL) in Tokyo, Japan.

Japan’s Kyoto Fusioneering, a fusion startup spun out from Kyoto University, and Canadian Nuclear Laboratories have announced the formation of Fusion Fuel Cycles Inc., headquartered in Chalk River, Ontario, Canada. The joint venture extends a strategic alliance formed between the two entities in September 2023 and aims to develop and deploy deuterium-tritium (D-T) fusion fuel cycle technologies.

Argonne National Laboratory’s fast reactors in Idaho

May 23, 2024, 3:01PMNuclear NewsR. N. Blomquist
The Argonne-West laboratory site before it was merged with the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory into today’s Idaho National Laboratory. The silver dome in the photo is Experimental Breeder Reactor-II, the silver structure with the flat top and sloping sides is the Zero Power Plutonium Reactor, and the brown boxlike structure behind ZPPR is the Hot Fuel Examination Facility. (Photo: Argonne National Laboratory)

Idaho’s nuclear energy history is deep and rich. The National Reactor Testing Station (NRTS) began its history as an artillery testing range in the 1940s.1 Following World War II, Walter Zinn, Argonne National Laboratory’s founding director and Manhattan Project Chicago Pile-1 project manager, proposed to the Atomic Energy Commission that a remote location be found for building test reactors. In 1949, he and Roger S. Warner, AEC’s director of engineering,2 developed a list of potential sites from which the NRTS was selected. Over the decades, quite a few companies and AEC national laboratories built 52 experimental and test reactors at the NRTS, including 14 by Argonne.3 (For a brief AEC video on the NRTS, see youtube.com/watch?v=C458NsH08TI.)

U.S., European Commission make joint statement on enhancing radioactive source security

May 23, 2024, 12:00PMNuclear News

During the International Atomic Energy Agency’s International Conference on Nuclear Security this week, leaders from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration and the European Commission made a joint statement on enhancing radioactive source security.

ANS presents Future City nuclear science award

May 23, 2024, 9:30AMANS News

Each year, more than 60,000 middle schoolers throughout the country participate in DiscoverE’s Future City Competition, which asks students to tackle pressing real-world issues through the lens of urban design and engineering. At this year’s Future City Finals Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C., on February 20, the American Nuclear Society presented the award for Best Use of Nuclear Science.

UT–Knoxville, Roane State to receive expanded nuclear education funding

May 23, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear News
The Zeanah Engineering Complex at the University of Tennessee–Knoxville. (Photo: UT–Knoxville)

Last week Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and Stuart McWhorter, commissioner of the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development, announced that the University of Tennessee–Knoxville and Roane State Community College will receive funding from Tennessee’s Nuclear Energy Fund to support existing nuclear programs as well as develop and implement new nuclear education curriculum.

Using its portion of the $50 million Nuclear Energy Fund, the University of Tennessee will establish a new program for non-nuclear engineers to obtain a minor in nuclear engineering at its Knoxville campus. Separate funding for Roane State Community College will allow purchase of laboratory equipment for that school’s inaugural nuclear technology program, which launches in the fall of 2024.

A better search: Improving public access to the NRC’s ADAMS document database

May 22, 2024, 3:00PMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission hosted a public meeting yesterday to gather comments on its web-based ADAMS (WBA) system—a public document search tool introduced in 2010. It’s a tool that novice users find daunting and frequent users find frustrating, whether they’re searching for a single document or for thousands of documents on a single topic.

Senate committee discusses growing energy demands, nuclear’s role

May 22, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News

Members of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday included nuclear energy as part of their discussions of the increasing demand for electricity anticipated in the coming decade, spurred in large part by the rise of artificial intelligence, data centers, and public consumption.

ORP, Bechtel collaborate on plan for completing Hanford’s HLW Facility

May 22, 2024, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
Lourdes Legaspi, engineering automation supervisor (center) and her team are designing pipe and equipment components for the Hanford Site’s partially completed HLW Facility. A collaboration between the DOE and Bechtel National set a foundation for requirements engineers will follow in continuing the design of the facility. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management announced that its Office of River Protection (ORP) recently created a plan with contractor Bechtel National for completing the High-Level Waste Facility at the Hanford Site’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, also known as the Vit Plant.