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.

Radiation myths continue

May 13, 2021, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe


Atomic fission can provide all the world’s people with as much emission-free electricity as they need for prosperity, but the cost of nuclear energy has risen due to excessive regulations that have been enacted in reaction to the general public's excessive fear of radiation. That’s according to Robert Hargraves, who teaches energy policy at Dartmouth’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and is a cofounder of nuclear engineering company ThorCon International.

In an article published by RealClearEnergy, Radiation: More Terrifying Than Night Air?, Hargraves posits that many people fear radiation because they don’t understand it, much like Americans who believed until the 20th century that night air was poisonous.

One small step for nuclear waste?

May 12, 2021, 5:55AMANS Nuclear CafeSteven Nesbit
The underground Exploratory Studies Facility at Yucca Mountain in Nevada built by the Department of Energy to determine whether the location was suitable as a deep geological nuclear waste repository. Courtesy of the Department of Energy.

It is no secret that the U.S. government’s program to manage and dispose of used nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste is in a deep ditch. Private companies continue to safely store used fuel at U.S. nuclear reactor sites, some of which ceased power operations decades ago. Other countries, such as Finland, Sweden, France, Canada, Switzerland, Russia, and China, are moving forward on permanent disposal, while for the past 11 years, the U.S. government has done nothing constructive to discharge its HLW disposal responsibilities. Rather than taking action, successive Congresses and administrations have sat on their collective hands.

Granholm eyes federal assistance for at-risk reactors

May 10, 2021, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe


Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told lawmakers that she is open to offering federal subsidies to prop up struggling nuclear plants. Granholm spoke during a meeting of the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, called to discuss the Biden administration’s proposal for the Department of Energy’s fiscal year 2022 budget.

What she said: “The DOE has not historically subsidized plants, but I think this is a moment to consider—and perhaps it is in the American Jobs Plan or somewhere—to make sure that we keep the current fleet active,” Granholm said on May 6, according to E&E News.

Exelon on governor’s plan to save Byron, Dresden: “not adequate”

May 10, 2021, 7:03AMANS Nuclear Cafe
The Byron nuclear power plant

Illinois governor J. B. Pritzker’s proposal to subsidize the state’s Byron and Dresden nuclear plants, introduced in legislative form last week, falls short, Exelon Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer Chris Crane said on May 5 during the company’s first-quarter earnings call.

“From what we’ve heard, it’s open to negotiation, but just going from the street analyst opinion and what we’ve seen, its starting point is not adequate to keep the plants’ continued operations going,” Crane stated.

National Geographic looks at the future of nuclear power in the United States

May 6, 2021, 12:03PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Unit 3 of the Vogtle plant under construction (Photo: Georgia Power)

To reach President Biden’s goal of cutting U.S. carbon emissions in half by 2030 and to have a net-zero carbon economy by 2050, some environmentalists are reconsidering their opposition to nuclear energy’s role as a climate crisis solution. According to the article, The controversial future of nuclear power in the U.S., from National Geographic, nuclear power has a lot going for it. Its carbon footprint is equivalent to wind, less than solar, and orders of magnitude less than coal. Nuclear power plants take up far less space on the landscape than solar or wind farms, and they produce power even at night or on calm days.

NYISO issues 2021 power trends report

May 6, 2021, 10:02AMANS Nuclear Cafe
The above figure provides NYISO's projected mix of resource capacity expected to be available for the 2021 Summer Capability Period. The figure below shows the vast difference in 2020 between clean energy provided to upstate New York and to downstate New York. With the recent closure of Indian Point-3, the difference will widen for downstate New York in 2021.

NYISO released its 2021 power trends report for the state of New York. As noted by many in the energy community prior to the closure of Indian Point nuclear power plant's Unit 2 and Unit 3 in 2020 and 2021, respectively, the projected mix of resource capacity expected for downstate New York's energy generation will be heavily reliant on fossil fuels.

Federal subsidies for nuclear plants?

May 5, 2021, 3:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe

The Biden administration has indicated to lawmakers that it supports federal subsidies for struggling nuclear power plants, Reuters reported this morning, citing sources familiar with the discussions.

The subsidies would be in the form of production tax credits, according to the report, and would likely become part of the president’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan.

Groups call for funding boost to DOE energy programs

May 5, 2021, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

More than 100 organizations, including the American Nuclear Society, have signed a letter to congressional leaders asking for a multi-billion dollar increase in the Department of Energy’s innovation funding to increase American competitiveness. The letter, dated May 4, was conceived by Third Way, a national think tank that champions modern center-left ideas.

Grid cybersecurity bill reintroduced in Senate

May 4, 2021, 12:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe


Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) last week reintroduced legislation from 2019 to enhance the security of the U.S. electric grid. According to Murkowski, the Protecting Resources on the Electric Grid with Cybersecurity Technology (PROTECT) Act would enhance electric grid security by incentivizing electric utilities to make cybersecurity investments.

Introduced in the Senate on April 28 as S. 1400, the bill would also establish a Department of Energy grant and technical assistance program to deploy advanced cybersecurity technology for utilities that are not regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Cosponsors of the PROTECT Act include Sens. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), Jim Risch (R., Idaho), Angus King (I., Maine), and Jacky Rosen (D., Nev.).

Southern targets December for Vogtle-3 startup

May 3, 2021, 6:54AMANS Nuclear Cafe
Vogtle-3 turbine generator. Photo: Georgia Power

Southern Company is targeting December for placing Vogtle-3 in service, according to Tom Fanning, the company’s chairman, president, and chief executive officer, who spoke with financial analysts on April 29 in its first-quarter earnings call. “The site work plan now targets fuel load in the third quarter and late December 2021 in-service date for Unit 3,” Fanning said. “Of course, any delays could result in a first-quarter 2022 Unit 3 in-service date.”

Energy innovation tax credit proposal released

April 29, 2021, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe



Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.) and Mike Crapo (R., Idaho), both members of the Senate Finance Committee, have released a discussion draft of the Energy Sector Innovation Credit (ESIC) Act, a technology-inclusive energy tax proposal to encourage innovation in the clean energy sector. (A one-pager on the proposal is available online.)

YouTube video: Facts are on nuclear’s side

April 28, 2021, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Author Joshua Goldstein, from the video "The Nuclear Option"

Climate activists rarely mention nuclear power as a tool in the battle against climate change, consumer reporter John Stossel comments during the video "The Nuclear Option" on his YouTube channel.

Accelerators delivered to NorthStar medical isotope facility

April 27, 2021, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe
NorthStar is capable of producing Mo-99 using non-uranium-based processes. Photo: NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes

Completing a 5,700-mile journey from Belgium, two 24-ton particle accelerators were delivered to NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes’ facility in Beloit, Wis., on April 22, the Wisconsin State Journal reported. Photos and a video of the accelerators being received at the facility are included in the report.

35 years later, Chernobyl continues to warn, inspire

April 26, 2021, 3:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe
The New Safe Confinement in final position over reactor 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 2017. Photo: Tim Porter

On April 26, 1986, reactor No. 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine exploded, sending radioactive material into the environment and across Europe. After 35 years, Ukrainians are looking to the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster “for inspiration, solace, and income,” according to an ABC News report.

Divers inspect large water tanks at Hanford

April 22, 2021, 12:05PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Diver John Lehto (right) receives final instructions from Carter Thomas before entering a 300,000-gallon water tank at the Hanford Site. Lehto and Thomas are employees of Hanford Site subcontractor Associated Underwater Services. Photos: DOE EM

The Department of Energy’s Richland Operations Office contractors Central Plateau Cleanup Company (CPCCo) and Hanford Mission Integration Solutions (HMIS) teamed up recently to dive into inspection and maintenance activities at the Hanford Site in Washington state.

Project video: View this video for sights and sounds from this unique project.

NuScale’s Reyes spreads word on SMRs

April 21, 2021, 3:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe


José Reyes, cofounder and chief technology officer at small modular reactor developer NuScale Power, touted the potential of the firm’s technology to help solve the nuclear industry’s cost-overrun issues in an interview yesterday with Yahoo Finance. (At up to 77 MWe gross, the NuScale Power Module is the smallest of the light-water SMRs in development.)

Speaking with journalist Akiko Fujita, Reyes, an ANS member since 1977, also touched on nuclear’s role in addressing the issue of climate change.

The eight-minute discussion is available online, along with the interview transcript.

Kurzgesagt YouTube channel asks: Do we need nuclear energy to stop climate change?

April 21, 2021, 12:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe
A screenshot from the Kurzgesagt YouTube video

The German animation studio Kurzgesagt released a new video to its English YouTube channel last week to answer the question, “Do we need nuclear energy to stop climate change?” The studio’s channel on YouTube is self-described as a small team working to make science look beautiful. Its videos discuss a variety of scientific, technological, philosophical, and psychological questions, and it has more than 14 million subscribers. The channel recently discussed the question of deaths caused by radiation—spoiler alert, nuclear is among the safest of all energy production.

Missouri mulls nuclear development measure

April 19, 2021, 7:01AMANS Nuclear Cafe


Missouri has only one nuclear power plant, Ameren Missouri’s single-unit Callaway facility. State Rep. John Black (R., 137th Dist.) doesn’t think that’s enough.

Black’s H.B. 261, introduced earlier this year after a similar version failed to make headway in 2020, would create the Missouri Nuclear Clean Power Act, aimed at fostering the development of nuclear power in the state. Under the bill, companies that build clean baseload generating plants or renewable-source generating plants rated at 200 MW or more would no longer be prohibited from charging for construction costs before beginning operation.