ANS Nuclear Cafe

The ANS Nuclear Cafe is a blog owned and edited by the American Nuclear Society. Information contained on the ANS Nuclear Cafe has been provided by numerous sources. Therefore, the American Nuclear Society assumes no responsibility or liability for the accuracy of information contained herein. DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in posted articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Nuclear Society. The views expressed here are those of the individual authors. ANS takes no ownership of their views. The American Nuclear Society assumes no responsibility or liability for any use or operation of any methods, products, instructions, or ideas contained on this site.

The Hill article: The nuclear industry is stifled

October 6, 2022, 7:04AMANS Nuclear Cafe


In an opinion piece published by The Hill, Tim Cavanaugh blasts the federal government for “quick-fix” and “half-hearted” efforts to retain existing nuclear power plants.

Cavanaugh, senior editor at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, adds that the U.S. nuclear energy industry is stifled by outmoded policies and suggests a number of policy changes to allow it to flourish and to “end a regulatory model that has starved the nuclear industry nearly to extinction.”

Renewable failures: Cavanaugh’s first suggestion is to acknowledge the failure of renewable energy sources like wind and solar, which “produce too little energy and are too unreliable to make a dent in our heat and electricity needs, even though taxpayers have spent billions of dollars on green pork.”

Michigan EMERGE event to focus on diversity in engineering

October 5, 2022, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The 2022 Michigan Engineering Research and Graduate Education (EMERGE) event will be held from Sunday, October 30 to Tuesday, November 1, at the University of Michigan College of Engineering in Ann Arbor. The expenses-paid, three-day event is designed to introduce a diverse cohort of prospective students to Michigan engineering doctoral programs.

AECL seeks M&O contractor for CNL

October 3, 2022, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe
Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (Photo: AECL)

Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) has published a request for expressions of interest to manage and operate Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL). The request is available on the MERX website.

According to AECL, the objective of the procurement and the resulting contract is to contain or reduce costs and risks for Canadian taxpayers while leveraging CNL’s capabilities and resources for Canadians.

Expressions of interest must be submitted via MERX on or before October 26, 2022.

Case Western receives NNSA grant for a new science center

October 3, 2022, 6:55AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has announced a $14 million grant to Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, to be used to establish a new center on lifetime extension research and materials science. The funds will be allotted over a five-year period.

New U.S.-Japan agreement on HEU-to-LEU conversion

September 29, 2022, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe
NNSA administrator Jill Hruby (left) holds up the signed MOU on HEU conversion during the agency’s virtual meeting with Japan’s MEXT. (Credit: NNSA)

The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT). The MOU describes their commitment to convert the Kindai University Teaching and Research Reactor (UTR-KINKI) from high-enriched uranium fuel to low-enriched uranium fuel. The nuclear nonproliferation–related agreement also calls for the secure transport of all the HEU to the United States for either downblending to LEU or disposition.

IAEA projects increase in nuclear’s growth for second year in a row

September 29, 2022, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The International Atomic Energy Agency, for the second successive year, has revised upward its annual projections of nuclear power’s potential growth over the coming decades as an electricity provider.

In the just-released 42nd edition of Energy, Electricity and Nuclear Power Estimates for the Period up to 2050, the IAEA has increased its high-case scenario for nuclear by 10 percent over last year’s report. (In 2021, the agency revised upward its annual projections for the first time since the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident.)

According to the high-case scenario, world nuclear generating capacity more than doubles to 873 GWe by 2050, compared with current levels of about 390 GWe—an addition of 81 GWe to last year’s projection. In the low-case scenario, generating capacity remains essentially flat.

DOE opens application process for clean hydrogen hubs

September 28, 2022, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The Department of Energy has opened the application process for its $7 billion program to create regional clean hydrogen hubs (H2Hubs) across the United States. The DOE announced its intention to fund this program in June, the same day that Westinghouse Electric and Bloom Energy announced plans to develop the electrolysis technology that nuclear power plants can use to produce clean hydrogen from water. The DOE H2Hubs program is funded by the recently enacted Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and supports the H2@Scale Initiative to create networks of hydrogen producers, consumers, and local infrastructure. According to the DOE, at least one of the planned hydrogen hubs will use nuclear power to generate the hydrogen.

Survey: Strong overall support in U.S. for nuclear, but with concerns

September 26, 2022, 3:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Results of the American Climate Perspectives Survey 2022 conducted by the climate-focused organization ecoAmerica suggest that the overall national support for research into advanced nuclear energy and for nuclear energy in general are continuing five-year upward trends. However, according to the survey, fewer than half of women responding to the survey support nuclear power. In addition, public concerns about nuclear-related waste disposal, health and safety, and weaponization remain high.

Fusion veteran Barabaschi selected as ITER director general

September 23, 2022, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe


Capping a session in Paris, the ITER Council has unanimously selected Pietro Barabaschi as the new director-general of the ITER Organization. The Italian-born Barabaschi, who has been involved in nuclear fusion research for some 30 years, was chosen to lead the massive international fusion project following an intensive recruitment effort necessitated by the death of Bernard Bigot, the previous director general, in May. Since Bigot’s death, Eisuke Tada has been serving in the role in an interim capacity. Barabaschi will take office in October.

F4E leader: Barabaschi has been the head of the Broader Approach Programme and Delivery with Fusion for Energy (F4E) since 2008. F4E is the EU organization responsible for Europe’s contribution to ITER. In this position, he has been managing the department that oversees three projects stemming from the Broader Approach agreement between the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) and the government of Japan: the JT-60SA tokamak, the International Fusion Materials Irradiation Facility/Engineering Validation and Engineering Design Activities linear accelerator, and the International Fusion Energy Research Centre . Barabaschi has also been acting director of F4E.

The world watched as Queen Elizabeth II welcomed the U.K.’s Atomic Age

September 19, 2022, 9:11AMANS Nuclear Cafe
Queen Elizabeth II visits Calder Hall for its ceremonial opening in 1956. (Photo: U.K. Nuclear Decommissioning Authority)

As citizens of the United Kingdom and others around the world mourn the death of Queen Elizabeth II, many have reflected on how the world has changed during the seven decades of the queen’s reign—the same decades that saw the rise of civilian nuclear power.

Calder Hall was already under construction at the Sellafield site in West Cumbria when Princess Elizabeth became queen in 1953. Queen Elizabeth traveled to the site in October 1956 and declared, in a televised ceremony, that “It is with pride that I now open Calder Hall, Britain’s first atomic power station.” Watch the fanfare in a historical clip uploaded to YouTube by Sellafield Ltd below.

Essay: Inflation and interest rates threaten nuclear new-build future

September 15, 2022, 7:07AMANS Nuclear Cafe
Interest rates have an outsized impact on nuclear power costs compared to those for other methods of power generation. (Source: World Nuclear Association)

In an essay titled “How the Fed will Strangle New Nukes,” published this week by American Thinker, nuclear engineer and writer Joseph Somsel warns that despite current expectations of a nuclear construction boom, “As in the late 1970s, rising interest rates will put the kibosh on new nukes.” Somsel therefore urges the financing and building of new nuclear facilities right now, before ongoing inflation and increasingly high interest rates “kill a lot of the plans” for new nuclear power plants.

Jefferson Lab research reveals findings on nuclear structure

September 14, 2022, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe
The Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility at Jefferson Lab. (Source: Jefferson Lab)

Research with the Department of Energy’s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab) has revealed new insights into short-range correlations—the brief pairings of nucleons (protons with neutrons, protons with protons, or neutrons with neutrons) in the nuclei of atoms. The study, published in Nature, used precision measurements to determine that short-range correlations differ depending on the density of the nucleus, that is, how many nucleons it contains.

Max Carbon Celebration coming to UW–Madison

September 6, 2022, 12:04PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Max Carbon

Join the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Department of Engineering Physics as it honors its founding chair at the upcoming Max Carbon Legacy Celebration. The on-campus event will take place on Friday, October 14, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. CDT at Union South, Varsity Hall 3, 1308 W. Dayton St. in Madison.

What it’s about: In addition to paying tribute to the legacy of the late Professor Emeritus Carbon, who established UW-Madison’s nuclear engineering program more than 60 years ago, the event will honor a number of retiring faculty members. Memories, stories, and photos of Professor Carbon will be shared by attendees.

Registration open for “Pittsburgh Builds the Future of Nuclear Power”

September 6, 2022, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

An upcoming event organized by North American Young Generation in Nuclear will focus on the ways Pittsburghers are contributing to innovations that will help nuclear energy meet the challenges of the clean energy transition. “Pittsburgh Builds the Future of Nuclear Power,” sponsored by Rizzo International, Westinghouse, Curtiss-Wright, SSM Industries, and Ansys, will be held at The Westin Pittsburgh on Thursday, September 22, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. EDT.

Register now. The event is free, but space is limited, and registration is required. Visit the Eventbrite page to complete your registration.

NEUP project to look at offshore nuclear power plants

September 2, 2022, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Core Power, MIT Energy Initiative, and Idaho National Laboratory have secured research funding from the Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP) to conduct a three-year study into the development of offshore floating nuclear power generation. This collaborative research effort is among the 74 nuclear research and infrastructure projects that were awarded more than $61 million by the DOE in June.

SATER returns the Philippines to nuclear research and training

September 2, 2022, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe
The Philippine Research Reactor-1 building at the University of the Philippines. (Photo: PNRI)

The research reactor known as SATER (Subcritical Assembly for Training, Education, and Research), housed in at the Philippine Research Reactor-1 building at the University of the Philippines in Quezon City, has become operational. As recently reported by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the core of SATER was loaded with 44 fuel rods, bringing the Philippines its first operational nuclear reactor in 34 years. Through this event, the country has moved a big step closer to meeting the government’s goal of adding nuclear power to its energy resources. The reactor is expected to become fully operational by 2023.

NARUC white paper examines nuclear’s role in advancing decarbonization

August 31, 2022, 3:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) has published Nuclear Energy as a Keystone Clean Energy Resource, a white paper that examines the role of nuclear power in providing carbon-free energy in the United States. The 57-page paper, prepared by Energy Ventures Analysis, includes a review of considerations for regulators to boost nuclear power’s contribution to the decarbonization energy transition.

A key point made in the paper is that reaching ambitious state and national decarbonization goals will require expansion of the nuclear energy resource base. Despite this, a number of barriers stand in the way of nuclear fleet expansion. Moreover, existing nuclear power plants must continue to deal with challenges, such as those from economic pressures, planned reactor retirements, regulatory issues, and competition with other energy industries.

NNSA reallocates $10 million toward peaceful uses of nuclear technology

August 30, 2022, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe
The NNSA’s Savannah Blalock announces that the agency has reallocated $10 million to support peaceful uses. (Photo: NNSA)

The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration has redirected about $10 million from the International Atomic Energy Agency’s low-enriched uranium fuel bank to efforts supporting the peaceful uses of nuclear technology and to fight cancer.

Japanese PM wants more nuclear restarts, next-generation development

August 25, 2022, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe


Having already declared last month his government’s intention to return to service as many as nine idled power reactors in order to ensure stable supplies of energy this winter, Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida yesterday called for additional restarts and endorsed the development and construction of next-generation nuclear plants, according to reports from various news outlets, including Nikkei Asia, the Washington Examiner, and the Los Angeles Times.

Kishida made the comments at the second meeting of Japan’s GX (Green Transformation) Implementation Council, a new group tasked with helping the country achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.