Here is a look back at the top stories of 2020 from our Research and Applications section in Newswire and Nuclear News magazine. Remember to check back to Newswire soon for more top stories from 2020.
Research and Applications section
- ARDP picks divergent technologies in Natrium, Xe-100: Is nuclear’s future taking shape? The Department of Energy has put two reactor designs—TerraPower’s Natrium and X-energy’s Xe-100—on a fast track to commercialization, each with an initial $80 million in 50-50 cost-shared funds awarded through the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program. Read more.
- DOE issues Versatile Test Reactor draft EIS, confirms INL as its “preferred alternative”: The Department of Energy has begun the environmental review of its proposed Versatile Test Reactor (VTR), releasing a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for public review and comment on December 21. The sodium-cooled, fast-neutron-spectrum VTR is intended to enhance and accelerate U.S. research, development, and demonstration of innovative nuclear energy technologies. The draft EIS identifies Idaho National Laboratory as its preferred alternative for the siting and operation of the VTR. Read more.
- Nuclear tech in space: What’s on the horizon? NASA aims to develop nuclear technologies for two space applications: propulsion and surface power. Both can make planned NASA missions to the moon more agile and more ambitious, and both are being developed with future crewed missions to Mars in mind. Like advanced reactors here on Earth, space nuclear technologies have an accelerated timeline for deployment in this decade. Read more.
- Core Power thinks nuclear will make waves in commercial shipping: Core Power is a tiny startup that is bullish on the prospects for nuclear-powered ocean transportation. The company announced on November 2 that it is part of a team that has applied for a cost-shared award from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program to build a prototype molten salt reactor. Read more.
- Powering the future: Fusion advisory committee sets priorities: The Fusion Energy Science Advisory Committee (FESAC), which is responsible for advising the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, on December 4 published the first public draft of Powering the Future: Fusion and Plasmas, a 10-year vision for fusion energy and plasma science. FESAC was charged with developing a long-range plan in November 2018. Read more.
- A microreactor at every rest stop? Electrifying the nation’s trucking industry could reduce consumption of fossil-based diesel fuel, but it would also pose new challenges. A cross-country 18-wheel truck needs five to 10 times more electricity than an electric car to recharge its battery. Where will that electricity come from? Read more.
- Nuclear-derived techniques to tackle COVID-19: The International Atomic Energy Agency plans to provide diagnostic kits, equipment, and training in nuclear-derived detection techniques to countries asking for assistance in tackling the worldwide spread of the coronavirus that has caused the COVID-19 pandemic. IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi announced the plans on March 9 during his first formal address to the IAEA’s Board of Governors. Read more.
Here is more from the 2020 Top Stories menu: