Here is a recap of industry happenings over the course of the past month:
ADVANCED REACTORS MARKETPLACE
Terrestrial Energy and Cameco examine partnership for deploying IMSR Generation IV nuclear power plants
- Terrestrial Energy and Cameco Corporation have signed a non-binding and non-exclusive memorandum of understanding to examine potential partnership opportunities to deploy Terrestrial Energy’s Integrated Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR) Generation IV nuclear power plants in North America and worldwide. The partnership would also evaluate possible opportunities for the supply of uranium, fuel, and other services. As part of these activities, the companies are investigating the potential of Cameco’s Port Hope uranium conversion facility in Ontario, Canada, for IMSR fuel salt supply.
- NuScale Power has signed memos of understanding with several companies to explore small modular reactor commercialization and deployment in Poland. Under an MOU with KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. (KGHM) and Piela Business Engineering, the companies will consider the possibilities of locating SMRs at existing coal-fired power plants in Poland and providing electricity and heat for KGHM’s industrial processes. KGHM is a Poland-based company involved with copper and silver production and Piela is a Poland-based consultancy that specializes in business engineering advisory. Separately, NuScale signed an MOU with the Getka Group and UNIMOT S.A. for business purposes that included possible deployment of SMRs at existing coal-fired power plants in Poland. Getka is an Oklahoma-based integrated energy company that provides construction, refined products, alternative energy, and delivery of petroleum. UNIMOT is a Poland-based company that offers fuel products, gas, and electricity, including renewable energy.
- Cameco and X-energy have entered a non-binding and non-exclusive memorandum of understanding to explore possible areas of cooperation to support the potential future deployment, fueling, and servicing of X-energy’s Xe-100 small modular reactors in Canada and the United States. Cameco is a supplier of uranium and is involved in uranium mining, refining, conversion, and fuel manufacturing services. The Department of Energy recently awarded X-energy approximately $1.23 billion under the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program to license, site, build, and operate with Energy Northwest a commercial-scale advanced nuclear power plant based on the Xe-100 design, and to establish the commercial-scale TRISO-X fuel fabrication facility. The Xe-100 four-pack SMR plant is slated for operation in 2027.
Advanced fuel trial underway at Russia’s Rostov nuclear power plant
- Three fuel assemblies each containing 12 experimental rods have been in operational trial at Russia's Rostov-3 nuclear power plant. Six rods have a cladding made from chromium-nickel alloy, while the remaining six have a standard zirconium alloy cladding with chromium coating. Fuel manufacturer TVEL said that if the trial were successful, the advanced fuel would provide a higher level of performance and safety, eliminating or significantly slowing down the zirconium-steam reaction that has produced hydrogen in historical nuclear accidents.
- Orano has opened its $35 million Center for Innovation in Extractive Metallurgy (Centre d'Innovation en Métallurgie Extractive) at its Bessines-sur-Gartempe site in the New Aquitaine region of France. The new research center, of more than 27,000 square feet, will be home to pilot tests for Orano’s projects under development, such as the recycling and recovery of radioactive and non-radioactive materials.
- IBA (Ion Beam Applications S.A., EURONEXT) and SCK CEN (Belgian Nuclear Research Center) have formed a strategic research and development partnership to enable the production of actinium-225, a radioisotope that has potential in the treatment of cancer.
- WM Symposia has donated $4,000 for STEM educational materials to the Blossom Center for Childhood Excellence, located in Oak Ridge, Tenn. WMS has expanded its focus and contributions for STEM activities and students in the past three years because of the importance of developing and maintaining a pipeline that delivers future workforces.
- Westinghouse Electric Company and Ukraine’s NT-Engineering LLC Company announced signed a memorandum of cooperation to implement maintenance optimization and system repair projects for water-water energetic reactors (VVERs), aimed at increasing the safety levels and performance of these reactors in Ukraine. The agreement allows VVER operators to optimize the approach to maintenance in VVER units and significantly increase annual power output through risk-informed configuration management.
- Framatome Kft. signed a memorandum of understanding with Hunatom Zrt. and the University of Dunaújváros to work together supporting nuclear education and training, research and development, and implementation of new technologies for Hungary and surrounding countries.
DOE signs agreements to advance workforce development, other matters
- The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration awarded $7 million to minority-serving educational institutions in New Mexico and South Carolina for workforce development and training in support of plutonium pit production. The NNSA provided $3.5 million for partnerships in each state to be distributed among selected institutions, including historically black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, and tribal colleges and universities. Some of the funds will be used to purchase equipment and supplies like those used at Los Alamos National Laboratory and Savannah River Site to train those pursuing careers within the Nuclear Security Enterprise.
- In addition, the NNSA’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory awarded a subcontract to Dell Technologies for additional supercomputing systems to support the NNSA’s nuclear deterrent mission. In partnership with Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories, the contract is funded by the NNSA’s Advanced Simulation and Computing program and will provide at least $40 million for more than 40 petaFLOPs of expanded computing capacity delivered to LLNL, LANL, and SNL. A petaFLOP is one quadrillion floating-point operations per second.
- The DOE’s Office of Environmental Management awarded a financial assistance grant to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for oversight and monitoring of the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant Decontamination and Decommissioning Project, in Portsmouth, Ohio. With this award the DOE is increasing the size of the grant by $3.5 million, for a total of $7.5 million, to incorporate new air monitoring strategies that will support the Ohio EPA’s and Ohio Department of Health’s efforts in providing co-located monitoring and independent verification of the DOE’s open air demolition. The grant, originally awarded in 2016, assists the State of Ohio in recovering costs from activities that support cooperation between the DOE, the Ohio EPA, and the Ohio Department of Health in addressing environmental impacts associated with past and present activities at the site.
- BWXT Medical Ltd. entered into an agreement with Germany’s Bayer AG to develop actinium-225 and to further other partnering opportunities. Ac-225 is used in targeted alpha therapies that deliver radiation directly to tumors. Processing and manufacturing of Ac-225 will be conducted at BWXT Medical facilities.