EPRI names Rita Baranwal as new VP of nuclear, CNO

Baranwal

The Electric Power Research Institute today announced Rita Baranwal as its new vice president of nuclear energy and chief nuclear officer. Baranwal succeeds Neil Wilmshurst, who was promoted to senior vice president of energy system resources in November.

Baranwal most recently served as the Department of Energy’s assistant secretary for its Office of Nuclear Energy, where she managed the DOE's portfolio of nuclear research for existing and advanced reactors and new designs. Baranwal unexpectedly resigned from that position late last week.

Hitachi sunsets Horizon

Hitachi Ltd. plans to close Horizon Nuclear Power, its U.K. nuclear development subsidiary, early this spring, according to weekend news reports. Horizon is the firm behind Wylfa Newydd, the proposed nuclear new-build project in Wales.

On January 10, citing a story that appeared earlier that day in The Times, Yahoo reported that Hitachi will close Horizon by March 31—a move, Yahoo said, that “could scupper a sale of the [Wylfa Newydd] site, which has attracted interest from bidders, including a U.S. consortium of Bechtel, Southern Company, and Westinghouse, and dent [the] U.K.’s clean energy goals.”

However, a January 11 item on a Welsh online news service stated, “It is understood that if a sale of the site is not secured before Horizon shuts, the sale process will be continued by Hitachi.”

Holtec SMR could be built at Oyster Creek site

The site of the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in Lacey Township, N.J., could be the location for Holtec International’s SMR-160 small modular reactor, according to an AP News story published last week.

ARDP investment: Holtec received $147.5 million in Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program funding to demonstrate its SMR design. Company spokesperson Joe Delmar said, “As part of our application to the Department of Energy for its advanced reactor demonstration program, we expressed interest in possibly locating an SMR-160 small modular reactor at the Oyster Creek decommissioning site in the future. This concept is only preliminary and something we would likely discuss with Lacey Township and the community if plans to locate (the reactor) at Oyster Creek evolve.”

Increasing costs of climate change–related disasters reflects importance of nuclear

Hurricanes, wildfires, and other disasters across the United States caused $95 billion in damage last year, according to new data referenced by the New York Times. The cost is almost double the amount in 2019 and the third-highest loss since 2010.

The new figures, reported January 7 by Munich Re—a company that provides insurance to other insurance companies—are the latest signal of the growing cost of climate change. The spike reflects the need for increased reliance on clean energy sources such as nuclear, solar, and wind.

Illinois AFL-CIO releases updated nuclear impacts report

In response to Exelon’s announcement of the premature closure of two Illinois nuclear power plants—Byron and Dresden—the Illinois AFL-CIO released an updated version of the Brattle Group’s Illinois Nuclear Impacts Report.

The report highlights the economic losses and environmental impacts Illinois’ and its local communities will face with the retirement of these plants, according to a January 5 article posted to the 23WIFR website.

The year in review 2020: ANS News

Here is a look back at the top stories of 2020 from ANS News. This is the last post in our series on the top stories from 2020. See below for links to other top stories from our Power and Operations, Research and Applications, and Waste Management sections of Nuclear News magazine.

ANS News

  • ANS convenes new task force on federal nuclear R&D funding: The American Nuclear Society has formed a Task Force on Public Investment in Nuclear Research and Development to assess the R&D needs of the U.S. nuclear technology enterprise and the federal investment required to meet those needs. The task force will identify the overarching objectives of U.S. nuclear R&D and identify specific metrics that can be used to evaluate progress toward those objectives. Read more.

UGA profs call for coalition of civilian nuclear partners

The rising influence of Russia and China in the development, construction, and deployment of civilian nuclear reactors around the globe raises significant geopolitical challenges for the United States, according to “Twenty-First Century U.S. Nuclear Power: A National Security Imperative,” a recent paper by two University of Georgia (UGA) researchers.

Happy birthday to the American Nuclear Society!

The American Nuclear Society turns 66 today! ANS was founded on December 11, 1954, at the National Academy of Sciences on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The beginnings: ANS was launched in the mid-1950s, a time of growing interest in employing peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology for bettering the lives of people in the United States and around the world. President Eisenhower had presented his dramatic 1953 "Atoms for Peace" speech to the United Nations, proposing international knowledge-sharing for the development of civilian nuclear science and technology.

While a number of associations already had nuclear divisions or groups, many people felt that a new organization was needed. Following its establishment in 1954 as a not-for-profit association of individual members, ANS quickly added breadth and depth to its activities, resulting in an organization that was both influenced by and had an influence on the burgeoning nuclear field.

U.K. seeks site for STEP fusion reactor

The United Kingdom’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has asked local governments to submit bids to host the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production project, or STEP, according to an article published by Bloomberg on December 1.

The STEP plant will be developed by the U.K. Atomic Energy Authority, which says that construction could begin as soon as 2032, with operations by 2040, and “will prove that fusion is not a far-off dream.”

ANS leaders’ op-ed urges New York Gov. Cuomo to keep Indian Point-3 operating

Dunzik-Gougar

Piercy

The scheduled premature shutdown of Indian Point-3 will all but guarantee a massive increase in fossil fuel use, according to an op-ed written by American Nuclear Society President Mary Lou Dunzik-Gougar and Executive Director/CEO Craig Piercy that was published in the New York Daily News on November 30.

Indian Point-3 is slated to be shut down in April 2021, four years before its operating license expires.

ANS Board of Directors votes to retire outdated position statements

The American Nuclear Society’s Board of Directors on November 19 voted to retire several outdated position statements, as requested by the Public Policy Committee. Among them are Position Statements #37 and #63, dating from 2010, which have been retired for lacking policy recommendations and for being redundant, as other position statements exist with language that better articulates the Society’s stance on those topics.

2020 ANS Virtual Winter Meeting: ANS honors more award recipients during President’s Special Session

American Nuclear Society President Mary Lou Dunzik-Gougar recognized four Presidential Citation recipients and the Milton Levenson Distinguished Service Award winner on November 18 during the 2020 ANS Virtual Winter Meeting. The following awards were presented as part of the ANS President’s Special Session.

Apply online now for 2021-22 ANS scholarships

The American Nuclear Society supports more than 50 college students each year with annual scholarships of more than $140,000 awarded through its Scholarship Program. The program offers both achievement-based and financial need-based scholarships to ANS student members made possible by the generosity of ANS professional divisions, local sections, and individual donors.

Applications for the 2021-2022 academic year are now available. All ANS student members are encouraged to apply. Recipients will be awarded between $1,000-$5,000 based on merit and financial need.

Completing the General Scholarship Application qualifies students for consideration for more than 24 ANS scholarships. To increase the chances of receiving a scholarship, explore the various opportunities established by the ANS divisions and local sections. Many of these require answers to only a few extra questions to qualify.

Check out the Before You Apply information for guidance throughout the application process.

ANS Virtual Winter Meeting gets under way

With the theme “Nuclear is Good for You,” the 2020 ANS Virtual Winter Meeting kicks off on November 16 with the opening plenary session. The plenary features two keynote speakers—Alex Epstein, of the Center for Industrial Progress, and Jessica Lovering, of the Good Energy Collective—in a discussion about why nuclear is the right choice for the benefit of all humankind.

The Winter Meeting features more than 35 panel sessions, 100-plus technical sessions, and more than 440 paper presentations.

More than 2,100 registrants have already signed up. That tops the preregistration total of 1,700 for the 2020 ANS Virtual Annual Meeting, which was the largest ANS meeting in modern history.

If you haven’t registered yet, do so now! Registration is open through Thursday, November 19.

ANS WISE program seeks 2021 applicants

ANS student members are encouraged to apply to the Washington Internships for Students of Engineering (WISE) program for the opportunity to spend next summer exploring the intersection of technology and policy in Washington, D.C.

“WISE provides a unique opportunity for ANS student members to learn about how our government deals with technologically complex issues,” said ANS Fellow and WISE program coordinator Alan Levin. “Past interns have said that the program is a challenging and enjoyable experience that gave them new perspectives on engineering and government; for some, the program influenced their choice of post-graduate study and/or career.”

B. John Garrick, pioneer in development and application of risk sciences, passes away

Garrick

B. John Garrick, ANS Fellow and member since 1956 and an international authority on quantitative risk assessment, died on November 1 due to complications from a fall. He was 90.

Garrick, a distinguished adjunct professor of materials science and engineering at the University of California at Los Angeles, established his trailblazing theory on risk sciences in his Ph.D. thesis, which contributed to building the foundation of probabilistic risk assessment. Also referred to as quantitative risk assessment, it offers a guide to corrective actions to eliminate threats and to best practices for managing low-probability, high-consequence events resulting from natural and man-made disasters.

Nuclear Science Week: the ANS local and student sections events

Nuclear Science Week (NSW) is a celebration designed to focus local, regional, national, and international interest on all aspects of nuclear science. National events marking the 11th annual NSW took place October 19–23 in Washington, D.C. This year’s theme was “Think Clean. Think Solutions. Think Nuclear.”

Several ANS local and student sections from around the world organized their own events to celebrate NSW, as follows: