U.K. requests input on HTGR potential

August 2, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News

The U.K. government last week issued a “call for evidence” inviting stakeholders to weigh in on its choice of the high-temperature gas reactor for Britain’s £170 million (about $236 million) advanced modular reactor (AMR) demonstration program. The deadline for input on the government’s selection is September 9.

According to the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, the key objective of the AMR program is to demonstrate high-temperature heat production that can be used for low-carbon hydrogen production, process heat (for industrial and domestic use), and cost-competitive electricity generation in time for an AMR to support the government’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. The target for enabling an AMR demonstration is the early 2030s.

University students explore nuclear nonproliferation with LANL experts

August 2, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear News
Left: The University of Texas at Austin SBD Challenge team: from left, Michael Butero, Matthew Frangos, Daniel Gutierrez, and John (Jack) Whelan. Right: The University of Rhode Island team: from left, Jay Macchia, Sean Babin, and Peter Tillinghast. (Photo: NNSA)

The National Nuclear Security Administration's Office of Nonproliferation and Arms Control has been partnering with national laboratories and universities to introduce engineering students to the field of international safeguards. Safeguards ensure that nuclear material and facilities are not used to illicitly manufacture nuclear weapons, the NNSA noted in a July 27 article.

New polls show substantial support for nuclear energy

July 7, 2020, 7:19AMUpdated July 30, 2021, 3:07PMNuclear News

Sixty percent of respondents in a recent national survey favored the use of nuclear energy, with only 25 percent opposing its use. While the latest Bisconti Research poll focuses on nuclear power and electricity generation, its findings on public interest in climate change and using a spectrum of sources to meet energy needs are consistent with a recent Pew Research Center poll on a broad set of energy policy and climate change topics. The approaches the two online surveys took to measuring public opinion on nuclear energy yielded different numbers but found some common ground.

Vogtle project suffers another setback

July 30, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News
Vogtle Units 3 and 4, earlier this month. (Photo: Georgia Power)

Due to “productivity challenges” and the need for “additional time for testing and quality assurance,” Georgia Power announced yesterday that it has revised the schedule for the Vogtle-3 and -4 nuclear expansion project. The new schedule pushes back the Unit 3 in-service date to the second quarter of 2022 and the Unit 4 date to the first quarter of 2023—a three-to-four-month shift for each unit.

First concrete poured for Bolivian research reactor

July 30, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News
First concrete pour for research reactor begins at Bolivian nuclear research center. (Photo: Rosatom)

Key facilities at a multipurpose nuclear research center in the high plains of Bolivia are nearing operation, and a ceremonial first concrete pour for the nuclear research reactor that will serve as the centerpiece of the project was held on July 26. Bolivian president Luis Arce attended the ceremony at the Center for Nuclear Technology Research and Development (CNTRD). Also attending were Kirill Komarov, first deputy director general for corporate development and international business at Rosatom (Russia’s state atomic energy agency), and authorities from the Ministry of Hydrocarbons and Energies and the Bolivian Nuclear Energy Agency (ABEN).

Legislation to spur clean energy innovation debuts on Capitol Hill

July 30, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear News

Approximately 40 percent of cumulative carbon dioxide emission reductions needed to meet sustainability targets rely on technologies not yet commercially deployed on a mass-market scale, according to last year’s Special Report on Clean Energy Innovation from the International Energy Agency.

Whitehouse

Crapo

Intent on lowering that percentage, both the Senate and House earlier this week introduced bipartisan legislation to rapidly scale up and diversify emerging energy technologies. On July 27, Sens. Mike Crapo (R., Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, and committee member Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.) introduced the Energy Sector Innovation Credit (ESIC) Act, or S. 2475. The credit, according to Crapo’s office, is a technology-inclusive, flexible investment tax credit (ITC) or production tax credit (PTC) designed to promote innovation across a range of clean energy technologies, including generation, energy storage, carbon capture, and hydrogen production.

DOE puts $9.35 million toward high-energy-density plasma research

July 29, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News
Invisible infrared light from the 200-trillion-watt Trident Laser at Los Alamos National Laboratory interacts with a 1-micrometer thick foil target (in the center of the photo) to generate a high-energy-density plasma. (Photo: Joseph Cowan and Kirk Flippo, LANL)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Science (DOE-SC) and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) on July 27 announced $9.35 million for 21 research projects in high-energy-density laboratory plasmas. High-energy-density (HED) plasma research, originally developed to support the U.S. nuclear weapons program, has applications in astrophysics, fusion power plant development, medicine, nuclear and particle physics, and radioisotope production.

Oconee SLR application docketed

July 29, 2021, 9:29AMNuclear News
Duke Energy’s Oconee plant, in Seneca, S.C. (Photo: Duke Energy)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has accepted for review the subsequent license renewal application for Duke Energy’s Oconee nuclear plant, the agency announced yesterday. The utility submitted the application for an additional 20 years of operational life for Oconee on June 7. A public version of the application (with proprietary details removed) is available on the NRC website.

NRC launches special inspection at Davis-Besse

July 29, 2021, 6:59AMNuclear News
The Davis-Besse nuclear power plant. (Photo: Nuclear Regulatory Commission)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Tuesday announced that it has begun a special inspection at Energy Harbor’s Davis-Besse nuclear plant. The inspection will focus on two separate issues: multiple diesel generator failures during testing and maintenance, and a complicated reactor trip on July 8.

Decommissioning plans submitted for Byron, Dresden

July 28, 2021, 2:59PMNuclear News
The Byron and Dresden nuclear power plants.

In what could be viewed as a rather pointed message to Illinois lawmakers that time is running out to pass legislation providing a lifeline to the state’s Byron and Dresden nuclear plants, Exelon Generation this morning announced that it would file post-shutdown decommissioning activities reports (PSDARs) today with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The PSDARs detail long-term site restoration plans for the facilities, both of which are scheduled to shut down for good this fall—first Byron, in September, then Dresden, in November.

First major component removed at Bruce-6

July 28, 2021, 7:01AMNuclear News
A crane removes the first of the Unit 6 steam generators on July 23. (Photo: Bruce Power)

Bruce Power has removed the first of eight steam generators from Unit 6 at the Bruce nuclear plant in Ontario, the company announced earlier this week. The work was done as part of the facility’s major component replacement (MCR) project.

Hruby sworn in as NNSA administrator

July 27, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News
Jill Hruby, joined by her husband, Stewart Griffiths, is sworn in as the Department of Energy’s under secretary for Nuclear Security and administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration. (Photo: NNSA)

Jill Hruby was sworn in by energy secretary Jennifer Granholm on July 26 as the Department of Energy’s undersecretary for nuclear security and administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration. Hruby was nominated for the position by President Biden on April 14.

Nuclear helps France reclaim title as Europe’s top net power exporter

July 27, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News
The nuclear power plant of Dampierre-en-Burly, France. (Photo: Kresimir Bobovec)

France has overtaken Norway to regain its position as the biggest net exporter of power in Europe, according to a new report on the European electricity market by U.K.-based energy data services provider EnAppSys.

The report, which looked at the value of imports and exports in Europe during the first six months of 2021, found that France’s net exports totaled 21 TWh, with most of the power flowing to Great Britain (8.6 TWh) and Italy (7.2 TWh).

U.S. power sector emissions drop in 2020

July 26, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News

Carbon dioxide emissions from the U.S. power sector fell 10 percent between 2019 and 2020, according to the 17th and latest edition of Benchmarking Air Emissions of the 100 Largest Electric Power Producers in the United States, which was released last week. The drop is the largest year-over-year decrease in greenhouse gas emissions since the initial report was issued in 1997. Further, CO2 emissions are shown to be down 20 percent from 1990 levels and 40 percent from their 2007 peak.

The 48-page analysis—which combines generation and fuel consumption data from the Energy Information Administration with emissions data on CO2, sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and mercury from the Environmental Protection Agency—was authored by M.J. Bradley & Associates, a consulting firm focused on energy and environmental issues. Listed as “contributors” to the report are Bank of America, the nonprofit organization Ceres, energy producers Entergy and Exelon, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Metz on Harold Denton: Memories of a life in nuclear safety

July 23, 2021, 2:54PMNuclear News

Metz

A number of years ago, historian and writer Chuck Metz Jr. was at the Bush’s Visitor Center in Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains when he ran into former Nuclear Regulatory Commission official Harold Denton and his wife. Metz was at the visitor center, which opened in 2010 and is now a tourist hotspot, because, as he explained to the Dentons at the time, he had overseen the development of its on-site museum and had written a companion coffee-table history book.

The chance meeting turned into a friendship and a fruitful collaboration. Denton, who in 1979 was the public spokesperson for the NRC as the Three Mile Island-2 accident unfolded, had been working on his memoir, but he was stuck. He asked Metz for help with the organization and compilation of his notes. “I was about to retire,” Metz said, “but I thought that exploring the nuclear world might be an interesting change of pace.”

Denton passed away in 2017, but by then Metz had spent many hours with his fast friend and was able to complete the memoir, Three Mile Island and Beyond: Memories of a Life in Nuclear Safety, which was published recently by ANS. Metz shared some of his thoughts about Denton and the book with Nuclear News. The interview was conducted by NN’s David Strutz.

EDF: Taishan’s “evolving” fuel failure would merit a shutdown and assessment in France

July 23, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News
Taishan nuclear power plant. (Photo: EDF Energy)

If Taishan-1 were operating in France, Électricité de France would shut down the reactor in order to assess the situation in progress and stop its development, according to a July 22 press release from EDF. The 1,660-MWe French-designed EPR—the recent subject of sensational press coverage of fuel rod failures—operates in China’s Guangdong Province.

Nuclear propulsion on the rise as private companies and NASA redefine space travel

July 22, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News
Hot-fire test at Blue Origin’s West Texas launch facility in July 2019. (Photo: Blue Origin)

In July 1969, the public’s attention was fixated on NASA’s Apollo 11 mission—a “giant leap for mankind” that was memorably marked by Neil Armstrong as he stepped onto the surface of the moon. This July, the possibilities of spaceflight are once again capturing the public’s imagination and news headlines. While NASA invests in nuclear propulsion research and development to stretch the limits of U.S. space missions, private companies Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin are stretching the definition of “astronaut” and proving they can offer a high-altitude thrill to paying customers.

U.K. strategy on nuclear hydrogen released

July 22, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News

A report released last week by the Nuclear Sector Deal’s Innovation Group sets out a series of recommendations for the United Kingdom to realize the opportunity of zero-carbon hydrogen derived from nuclear energy.

“Sector deals,” according to the British government, are partnerships between industry and government on sector-specific issues to create opportunities to boost productivity, employment, innovation, and skills. The Nuclear Sector Deal, launched in June 2018, was developed by the Nuclear Industry Council.

N.J. Supreme Court rejects nuclear subsidy appeal

July 21, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News
The Salem nuclear power plant. (Photo: Peretzp)

In the latest legal action over the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities’ (BPU) April 2019 order providing subsidies to the Hope Creek and Salem nuclear plants, the state’s Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal.