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.


Virginia sites targeted as competitive for SMRs

May 30, 2023, 7:01AMANS Nuclear Cafe
The LENOWISCO region of Virginia, being considered for future SMR siting, is in the far southwestern corner of the state. (Image: Virginia.gov )

Seven sites in southwestern Virginia have been identified as “competitive hosting grounds” for small modular reactors by a feasibility study Dominion Engineering, Inc. (DEI) prepared for the LENOWISCO Planning District Commission. (The planning district, based in Duffield, Va., serves the counties of Lee, Wise, and Scott and the city of Norton.) At a May 22 press conference at LENOWISCO’s offices, DEI chemical engineer and principal investigator Chuck Marks said the review represents the “very early stages of, does this region have what it takes to site one of these reactors, successfully deploy and successfully operate. And the answer is overwhelmingly yes,” according to an article in the Cardinal News.

NEI defends eligibility of existing nuclear for clean hydrogen tax credits

May 26, 2023, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The Nuclear Energy Institute—along with Constellation, Energy Harbor, PSEG, and Vistra—submitted a 19-page letter on May 24 to the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service, taking issue with April 10 comments to those agencies from the Clean Air Task Force (CATF) and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) concerning the Inflation Reduction Act’s clean hydrogen production tax credit (Internal Revenue Code sec. 45V). (The Treasury and the IRS released a notice last November requesting public input on the credit’s implementation.)

Pronuclear golf outing a success

May 24, 2023, 12:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe
The Southern Nuclear Plant Vogtle team members showed off their first-prize winnings of golf balls and beer mugs at the banquet held after the CNTA Charity Golf Tournament. (Photo: CNTA)

Thirty teams of players participated in the 21st annual Citizens for Nuclear Technology Awareness (CNTA) Charity Golf Tournament at the Houndslake Country Club in Aiken, S.C. The tournament, held on on May 12, raised net proceeds of about $23,000, which the nonprofit organization will use to educate the public about issues related to nuclear energy. In addition, more than $700 in donations were raised for the group’s community gift card program.

Granholm talks nuclear and other energy issues with WSJ

May 22, 2023, 9:31AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Granholm

Secretary of energy Jennifer Granholm recently discussed the future of clean energy with Christopher M. Matthews, the U.S. energy editor for the Wall Street Journal. The May 15 live Q&A focused on Granholm’s perspective on the Biden administration’s policies for decarbonization and energy security. Granholm, who mentioned nuclear briefly at beginning of her remarks, returned to the issue at the end of the half-hour interview. In her answer to Matthews’s question, she addressed nuclear industry incentives, safety and waste concerns, next-generation technologies, and fusion.

Fossil fuels? Matthews opened the discussion by noting President Biden’s signing of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) last year, allocating “billions of dollars in tax credits and federal loans to boost green energy, including electric vehicles, hydrogen production, and more.” He added, “At the same time, the administration has called on oil and gas producers to increase drilling to slow inflation and to tamp down energy prices.”

Grandson of J. Robert Oppenheimer calls for nuclear cooperation to address energy crisis

May 19, 2023, 11:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Charles Oppenheimer, the grandson of the “father of the atomic bomb,” wants us to save the world with nuclear fission. In “Nuclear Energy’s Moment Has Come,” published in Time last week, Oppenheimer discusses why the public should embrace nuclear energy as a bipartisan solution to the climate crisis.

Dominion Energy exec talks SMRs for Virginia

May 16, 2023, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Avram

At a recent meeting of the Southwest Virginia Energy Research and Development Authority, advanced nuclear was on the docket for discussion. According to an article in the Bristol (Va.) Herald Courier, Dominion Energy vice president for business development Emil Avram discussed Dominion’s plans for developing advanced nuclear facilities featuring small modular reactors in southwestern Virginia, as well as the company’s vision regarding other energy sources.

Avram’s May 9 talk came at a time when Virginia is at the forefront of national efforts to deploy commercial SMRs. Gov. Glenn Youngkin has pledged that the commonwealth will be the first to build and deploy a commercial SMR, with plans to locate it in the coalfield region of southwestern Virginia.

Reuters: India’s nuclear industry may seek foreign investment

May 15, 2023, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe
An Indian postage stamp commemorating the country’s first nuclear reactor at Trombay. (Source: Government of India)

Reuters has reported that India is considering the recommendation of a government panel to overturn the nation’s ban on foreign investment in the domestic nuclear energy industry. The panel—established by think tank Niti Aayog, which is headed by Indian prime minister Narendra Modi—also recommended that policies be revised to allow for greater participation by private Indian companies in the nuclear energy industry, which is currently dominated by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India and Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam, both of which are wholly owned by the government of India. The panel made these recommendations, according to Reuters, so that “both domestic and foreign private companies can complement nuclear power generation by public companies.”

NPR: Fertilizer byproduct roads for Florida?

May 12, 2023, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe
A gypstack in Fort Meade, Fla., the current waste disposal means for phosphogypsum. (Photo: Harvey Henkelmann)

A recent NPR article has reported that Florida legislators have sent a bill to Gov. Ron DeSantis that would require the state’s Department of Transportation to study the use of a radioactive waste material in road paving projects.

Student winners announced in NASA’s RPS contest

May 5, 2023, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe
The three winners of NASA’s Power to Explore Student Writing Challenge, are, left to right, Luca Pollack, Rainelle Yasa, and Audrielle Paige Esma. (Image: NASA/Kristin Jansen and Gayle Dibiasio)

Three winners have been announced in NASA’s Power to Explore Student Writing Challenge, in which U.S. students in kindergarten through 12th grade could participate by writing about imaginary space missions using radioisotope power systems (RPSs). Out of almost 1,600 submitted entries, 45 semifinalists, and nine finalists, Luca Pollack of Carlsbad, Calif. (in the K–4th grade category), Rainelle Yasa of Los Angeles, Calif. (in the grades 5–8 category), and Audrielle Paige Esma of Wildwood, Fl. (in the grades 9–12 category) snagged the top prize in their age groups. The April 25 announcement by NASA includes links to the winning essays.

High school students rewarded for nuclear-themed essays

May 2, 2023, 3:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Citizens for Nuclear Technology Awareness (CNTA), a charitable nuclear educational organization based in Aiken, S.C., has announced the winners of its 17th annual High School Essay Contest. The contest was open to high school juniors and seniors in Aiken, Allendale, and Barnwell counties in South Carolina and Burke, Columbia, and Richmond counties in Georgia, as well as homeschool students in the region and students of CNTA member families.

Gallup poll: Support for nuclear grows

May 1, 2023, 3:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Noted pollster Gallup reports that Americans’ support for nuclear energy is greater now than at any time since 2012, with 55 percent of the U.S. adult population “strongly” or “somewhat” in favor of using nuclear energy to generate electricity. That number is up substantially from the 44 percent who supported nuclear in 2016. Today, 25 percent of U.S. adults strongly favor nuclear, while 30 percent somewhat favor it. Gallup conducted its 2023 survey March 1–23 via landline and cellular telephones with a random sample of 1,009 adults living throughout the United States.

Oliver Stone’s new film Nuclear Now opens

April 28, 2023, 7:01AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Academy Award–winning director Oliver Stone has long courted controversy with such films as Born on the Fourth of July, JFK, Natural Born Killers, and Nixon. His latest release is sure to continue that trend. In Nuclear Now, which opens today in theaters nationwide, Stone “explores the possibility for the global community to overcome the challenges of climate change and energy poverty to reach a brighter future through the power of nuclear energy,” according to the movie’s website.

The documentary’s perspective on nuclear energy is summarized on the site as follows: “In the mid-20th century as societies began the transition to nuclear power and away from fossil fuels, a long-term PR campaign to scare the public began, funded in part by coal and oil interests. This campaign would sow fear about harmless low-level radiation and create confusion between nuclear weapons and nuclear energy. Looking squarely at the problem, Oliver Stone shows us that knowledge is the antidote to fear, and our human ingenuity will allow us to solve the climate crisis if we use it.”

Germany’s “senseless act of folly”

April 20, 2023, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Hill

The recent shutdown of Germany’s three remaining nuclear reactors is “a senseless act of folly, against all the science and available evidence.” So writes Lincoln Hill, director of policy and external affairs at the Nuclear Industry Association, in a strong opinion piece on CapX, a publication of the London-based Centre for Policy Studies.

Illogical: Hill is emphatic is criticizing Germany’s move as an antiscience action that is ideologically driven and harmful to the cause of battling climate change. He calls it “the single worst decision Europe has taken in the fight against climate change, and one for which we all are paying the price.”

He points out that Germany’s former chancellor, Angela Merkel, “ostensibly” made the decision to phase out nuclear energy as a reaction to the Fukushima accident in Japan. However, Japan itself is seeking to “restart its 30-GW nuclear fleet, even as Germany finishes shuttering a fleet of 20 GW.”

French, European power analysis for first quarter

April 19, 2023, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Although the first quarter of the year saw some of the French nuclear fleet return to service, it was not at the rate originally anticipated, according to data analysis company EnAppSys. France’s nuclear availability, the company noted, was expected to reach a maximum of 50 GW by the middle of the first quarter, but that goal was not reached due to several reasons, including the need for additional repairs and maintenance when stress corrosion cracking first appeared in several reactors last year. Workforce strikes at nuclear operator Électricité de France also led to widespread employee walkouts from nuclear power plants.

NPR podcast highlights perspectives on nuclear energy

April 14, 2023, 12:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Nuclear energy was the focus of a recent NPR 1A podcast episode, hosted by journalist Jenn White, who welcomed guests to discuss the role of nuclear energy in the future of the United States. The guests—Joe Dominguez, chief executive officer of Constellation Energy; Samantha Gross, director of the Energy Security and Climate Initiative at the Brookings Institution; and Edwin Lyman, director of Nuclear Power Safety for the Union of Concerned Scientists—participated in the episode, titled “Where Does Nuclear Energy Fit in a Carbon-Free Future?”

NRC proposes fine for Urenco violations

April 10, 2023, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission sent a notice dated March 30 to Urenco USA regarding a proposed $70,000 civil penalty for two violations related to the improper implementation of safety controls at the company’s commercial enrichment facility in Eunice, N.M., which is operated by Louisiana Energy Services. The NRC publicly announced the proposed fine on April 3.

New GAO report focuses on fusion

April 7, 2023, 7:02AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The latest advances in nuclear fusion, the remaining challenges, and proposals to overcome those challenges are the focus of a new report, Fusion Energy: Potentially Transformative Technology Still Faces Fundamental Challenges, published by the Government Accountability Office.

DOE hosts Japanese officials from nuclear decommissioning group

April 5, 2023, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe
Pictured at the DOE's EM headquarters, from left, are Ana Han, foreign affairs specialist, EM International Program; Joceline Nahigian, director, EM Office of Intergovernmental and Stakeholder Programs; Scott Whiteford, deputy director, DOE Office of Legacy Management; William “Ike” White, EM senior advisor; Masaki Nakagawa, special advisor to executive directors, NDF; Tokuhiro Yamamoto, executive director, NDF; Shin Morita, managing director, International Affairs Group, NDF; Taro Hokugo, managing director, International Affairs Group, NDF; Jeff Avery, EM principal deputy assistant secretary; Angela Watmore, deputy assistant secretary, EM Office of Acquisition and Project Management; and Ming Zhu, EM senior advisor for laboratory policy. (Photo: DOE)

Representatives from the Japan Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corporation (NDF) recently visited the Department of Energy's Office of Environmental Management (EM) headquarters in Washington, D.C., and the Hanford Site in Washington state to promote collaboration and provide updates on the status and plans to decommission Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011, caused damage to the plant and surrounding communities. The NDF was created in September 2011 to oversee the decommissioning and cleanup of the plant, which is owned by the Tokyo Electric Power Company.

NRC grants made to minority-serving institutions

April 4, 2023, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe
The University of North Texas, one of the NRC grant recipients. (Photo: Michael Barera)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has announced its Minority-Serving Institutions Grants Program (MSIG) awards for fiscal year 2023. Four institutions were granted a total of $997,943: University of North Texas ($400,000 for fellowships), University of Central Florida ($397,943 for fellowships), University of Nevada–Las Vegas ($100,000 for scholarships), and Virginia Commonwealth University ($100,000 for scholarships).

More details about the grants for this year will be posted on the NRC’s grant awards website, where recipients of awards from previous years can also be seen.

NNSA announces progress in Mo-99 production using LEU

April 4, 2023, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

After more than a decade of global efforts led by the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration, all four major medical producers of the radioisotope molybdenum-99 for the U.S. market are now using low-enriched uranium (LEU) in their production processes instead of high-enriched uranium (HEU), the latter of which presents risks of nuclear weapons proliferation.