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.

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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 Tuesday, March 1, and March 2, to review recent DOE activities.

Predictions: What lies ahead for nuclear in 2022

January 21, 2022, 3:26PMNuclear News

As we begin a new year, it is natural not only to look back (see page 24 for top news stories of 2021) but also to look forward. Nuclear News reached out to leaders in the nuclear community to get their predictions on what 2022 has in store, whether broadly or for their specific areas within the community. Although the responses below are wide-ranging and varied, one thing is made clear by all of the respondents: 2022 will see growth and opportunity. The future for nuclear is bright.

Bill lifting restrictions on nuclear construction advances in West Virginia

January 21, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

A group of West Virginia state senators—four Republicans and four Democrats—is attempting to overturn the state’s effective ban on nuclear power plant construction.

On Wednesday, their bill, S.B. 4, was approved by the Senate Economic Development Committee. The lead sponsor for the legislation is Sen. Tom Takubo (R., Dist. 17).

House committee passes bipartisan university research infrastructure bill

January 21, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

A bipartisan bill to ensure that U.S. universities are equipped to play a key role in supporting the deployment of advanced nuclear technology and applications has been passed by the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

The National Nuclear University Research Infrastructure Reinvestment Act of 2021 (H.R. 4819) would boost investment in new and existing university nuclear science and engineering infrastructure, establish regional consortia to promote collaboration with industry and national laboratories, and support the development of advanced reactor technology and the workforce required for commercial advanced reactor deployment.

Savannah River engineers engage students in real-world problem solving

January 21, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News
From left to right, Richmond County Technical Career Magnet School (Team 1) students Leila Cortez, Jaidyn Moore, and Tamea Dunnom and teacher Carla Biley won third place in Best Engineering Student Design at the WORCshop@AU event. They are joined by Rick Connolly, SRNS operations and maintenance director and WORCshop@AU judge (second from right).

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS), the Department of Energy contractor responsible for the management and operations of the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, partnered with Augusta University to create WORCshop@AU, an education outreach opportunity to introduce local high school students to nuclear science careers by solving a real-world problem. The program concluded on December 9, when student teams presented their solutions during a friendly competition.

IPCC opens registration for expert review of draft report

January 20, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—the United Nations body established to assess the science related to climate change—is offering experts an opportunity to review the draft version of its Sixth Assessment Synthesis Report.

IPCC assessment reports are published every six to seven years. The Fifth Assessment Report, completed in 2014, provided the main scientific input to the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Interested experts can register for participation in the review here. Registration is open through March 13. The review period ends on March 20.

The case of the Pu-powered pacemaker

January 20, 2022, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe
The cover of the August 1969 issue of Nuclear News (left), an image of Brunhilde, the dog that had the first nuclear-powered pacemaker in the U.S. (center) and the cover of the December 1970 Nuclear News (right).

In this first installment of a #ThrowbackThursday post, Nuclear News provides a review of radioisotope-powered pacemakers in response to an article in The Wall Street Journal. The article, published earlier this week, looks at the issue of disposing of nuclear-powered pacemakers, although considering how few are still in use today, it seems like this is really much ado about nothing.

“Escape room” used to train Hanford employees in respiratory protection

January 20, 2022, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
Employees wearing supplied-air equipment work through clues in an “escape room” during respiratory protection training at Hanford’s Volpentest HAMMER Federal Training Center. (Photo: DOE)

A new respiratory protection course at the Department of Energy’s Hanford Site near Richland, Wash., features an “escape room” in which employees wear supplied-air equipment while they answer questions, discover clues, and solve puzzles in a simulated work environment.

Rita Baranwal joins Westinghouse as chief technology officer

January 20, 2022, 7:02AMNuclear News

Baranwal

Westinghouse Electric Company has appointed ANS member and Fellow Rita Baranwal chief technology officer to drive next-generation solutions for existing and new markets that align with the company’s strategy.

Baranwal’s appointment marks her return to Westinghouse, where she worked for nearly a decade in leadership positions in the global technology development, fuel engineering, and product engineering groups.

2022 ANS vice president/president-elect candidates provide statements

January 19, 2022, 3:15PMANS News

Ahead of the upcoming 2022 ANS national election, the nominees for vice president/president-­elect have prepared statements outlining their goals for ANS. The nominees are Bradley J. Adams, an ANS Fellow and member since 2009 and vice president of engineering at Southern Nuclear Company, and Kenneth S. Petersen, an ANS member since 1987 and a private consultant who recently retired from Exelon Generation as vice president of nuclear fuels.

The elected candidate will succeed current ANS vice president/president-­elect Steven Arndt in June 2022, when Arndt becomes president.

Ballots for the 2022 election will be sent electronically on February 22 and completed ballots must be submitted by 1 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, April 12.

Huff nominated to fill role of assistant secretary of energy for DOE-NE

January 19, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

Huff

Kathryn “Katy” Huff, who is currently serving as the Department of Energy's principal deputy assistant secretary of nuclear energy, has been nominated by President Joe Biden to head the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy as assistant secretary of energy. The role has been vacant since Rita Baranwal announced she was leaving the position on January 8, 2021.

Sustained commitment: Since Huff was named principal deputy assistant secretary of nuclear energy in May 2021, she has also served as acting assistant secretary of energy for nuclear energy.

Huff is on unpaid leave from her role as associate professor in the Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she led the Advanced Reactors and Fuel Cycles Research Group. Huff was also a Blue Waters assistant professor with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. Prior to joining the NPRE faculty at UIUC, Huff was a postdoctoral fellow in the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Nuclear Science and Security Consortium and the Berkeley Institute for Data Science at the University of California–Berkeley. Huff received her Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2013, and her undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Chicago.

U.K. government lauds progress at Hinkley Point C

January 19, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
From left: Nigel Cann, delivery director at Hinkley Point C, Helen Whately MP, Kwasi Kwarteng MP, and Jean-Bernard Lévy, chairman and chief executive officer of EDF. (Photo: EDF)

Despite last year’s announcement from EDF Energy that the startup of Unit 1 at Hinkley Point C would likely be delayed (from late 2025 to June 2026), current progress at the site is receiving praise from the U.K. government.

On January 13, Kwasi Kwarteng, secretary of state for business, energy, and industrial strategy, and Helen Whately, exchequer secretary of the treasury, toured the nuclear new-build project, accompanied by Jean Bernard Lévy, EDF’s chairman and chief executive.

Piercy's opening remarks at the ANS Winter Meeting

January 19, 2022, 7:04AMANS NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy
cpiercy@ans.org

ANS ended 2021 on a high note with our first post-pandemic national meeting, held in Washington, D.C. What follows is a lightly edited version of remarks, shorn of opening and closing pleasantries, that I gave to 500-plus attendees during the opening plenary session:

I think the big question everyone will be asking this week will be some form of “How did you spend the pandemic?” I can tell you how ANS spent the pandemic: on a strict quarantine diet and fitness program.

We’ve figured out how to maintain what we believe is a higher level of service on 20 percent fewer FTEs. We’ve rebuilt our digital infrastructure and have a firm path forward toward a modern data architecture. We are in the process of selling our headquarters building in La Grange Park, Ill., and moving to a smaller, more manageable footprint in suburban Chicago, with an outpost in Washington, D.C.