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.

WM Symposia announces STEM Champions Challenge

February 6, 2023, 3:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Waste Management Symposia (WMS), which hosts the annual Waste Management Conference in Phoenix, Ariz., is launching a new effort along with Longenecker & Associates to support science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education efforts to attract and build the next-generation nuclear workforce. The engineering, environmental, and nuclear services company Spectra Tech is joining the initiative by matching Longenecker & Associates' contributions to the program.

German public supports nuclear power

February 6, 2023, 7:01AMANS Nuclear Cafe

A new survey by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) indicates that 71 percent of the German public supports the continued use of nuclear energy in the country, while 29 percent want it ended. The survey results, which were reported by German news source Bild and elsewhere, come amid ongoing controversy regarding the current plans by the German government to shut down the nation’s three remaining nuclear power plants in mid-April.

Registration is open for NRC’s RIC

February 1, 2023, 3:03PMANS Nuclear Cafe

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has opened registration for its 35th annual Regulatory Information Conference (RIC 2023) The conference, themed “Navigating the Nuclear Future,” will be held March 14–16 in North Bethesda, Md., and will be the first in-person RIC since 2019, although the event will also be accessible virtually.

Register now. Registration, which is required to attend, can be completed by filling out the conference registration online form. The conference is free to the public.

25th anniversary of failure (and a chance at opportunity)

January 30, 2023, 3:00PMANS Nuclear CafeLake Barrett

Silver anniversaries are usually a cause for great celebration, but this one is a cause for regret and a renewed plea for action. January 31, 2023, marks the 25th anniversary of the Department of Energy’s failure under law and contract to start the removal of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) from the country’s 74 commercial nuclear power plant sites in 35 states for disposal per the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982. I personally know the moral and legal responsibility associated with this failure, because in 1998, as the then responsible DOE official, I had to personally announce it. But much has changed since then. There are many new avenues to address these past problems like federal, state, and community partnerships that can be beneficial for all, if there is DOE leadership and congressional action for both disposal and storage.

UM's Fastest Path to Zero Initiative evaluates progress in supporting “Carla”

January 26, 2023, 9:31AMANS Nuclear Cafe

In a follow-up to A Step-by-Step Guide to Nuclear Innovation Policy, which was released by think tank Third Way in 2016, the Fastest Path to Zero Initiative of the University of Michigan has now published “Young Carla,” an eponymous “prequel” about a fictional nuclear engineering student. Carla was introduced in the 2016 report as a graduate nuclear engineering student with an idea for a new type of nuclear energy technology. The report explained how wise policy decisions in the United States could improve government-private partnerships so that Carla’s idea could be commercially demonstrated.

NIA report calls for DOE transformation

January 23, 2023, 3:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe

The Nuclear Innovation Alliance (NIA) released a new report last week titled Transforming the U.S. Department of Energy: Paving the Way to Commercialize Advanced Nuclear Energy, which gives recommendations for how the Department of Energy (DOE) can help advanced nuclear power technologies cross the finish line to commercialization. It calls for a “whole-of-government and whole-of-society effort dependent on successful public-private partnerships.”

The NIA report acknowledges that boosting energy security and meeting decarbonization goals will require at least double the domestic nuclear energy capacity that is on line today. But the nuclear industry is highly complex, and its supply chain is atrophied. The success of advanced nuclear technology will depend on careful collaboration and planning to bolster a new supply chain.

Study favors SMRs for use at future electric truck charging stations

January 23, 2023, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The use of small modular reactors would be an excellent, cost-effective way to recharge electric heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs), such as trucks, according to a recent study published in Applied Energy. The Idaho National Laboratory–funded study was conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan.

Nuclear thermal propulsion may finally take off for space flight

January 19, 2023, 3:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

A “resurgence of interest” in nuclear propulsion for space missions is described in a new article authored by science writer Jon Kelvey for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ (AIAA’s) Aerospace America website. The focus of Kelvey’s article is nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP), which, according to the Department of Energy, “could significantly reduce travel times and carry greater payloads than today’s top chemical rockets­—giving humans a great chance of exploring deep space.”

NAC International acquires Philotechnics

January 17, 2023, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

NAC International Inc. has completed its acquisition of Philotechnics Ltd., a health physics, radiological services, and waste management company headquartered in Oak Ridge, Tenn., with a satellite facility in San Diego, Calif. The company, now under NAC International ownership, has been renamed NAC Philotechnics Ltd.

Paragon, Thermo Fisher reach licensing agreement on neutron flux monitoring systems

January 16, 2023, 3:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Paragon Energy Solutions and Thermo Fisher Scientific have entered into a definitive agreement that grants Paragon a long-term license for the product line of Thermo Fisher’s Gamma-Metrics neutron flux monitoring systems (NFMS). The agreement allows the legacy nuclear reactor customers of service provider Thermo Fisher to more easily purchase spare parts, upgrades, services, and new systems from Paragon, a leading supplier of safety-related products and components for the nuclear industry. This enhanced purchasing ability reduces the risk of obsolete products being used in the operating nuclear fleet.

The mystery of the hidden uranium: Elementary, my dear Watson?

January 13, 2023, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

The discovery of a small amount of uranium inside a package of scrap metal bars at Heathrow Airport in London has raised a number of puzzling questions that are being investigated by Scotland Yard, headquarters of the London Metropolitan Police (the Met). Investigators said that the uranium, which was found by Border Force staff during routine screening at the airport on December 29, originated in Pakistan, though it arrived at Heathrow on a passenger flight from Oman and, according to a January 11 report in the Guardian, was bound for an Iranian-owned business with offices in the United Kingdom.

Kairos makes list of 100 most promising cleantech companies

January 13, 2023, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Kairos Power, an Alameda, Calif.–based advanced reactor developer, announced yesterday that it has been named to Cleantech Group’s list of the 100 most innovative and promising private companies in the cleantech sector for 2023. Cleantech Group is a research and consulting services firm headquartered in San Francisco.

Southern Company makes executive appointments

January 12, 2023, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe
From left: Womack, Greene, and Sena. (Photos: Southern Company)

Southern Company has appointed Chris Womack chief operating officer effective immediately and president as of March 31. Tom Fanning will relinquish the role of president upon Womack's assumption of the role in March and is to assume the role of executive chairman of the board of directors.

Womack has served as president of Georgia Power since 2020 and chairman, president, and CEO since 2021. Prior to his current roles, he served as executive vice president and president of external affairs for Southern Company.

"Chris's leadership, vision, and integrity during his career with Southern Company have uniquely prepared him to guide Southern Company into a new era," said Fanning. "With our recent progress at Plant Vogtle and continued conversion of our operations towards net zero emissions, I believe that now is an ideal time to transition to new leadership."

The moves were announced by the company's board on January 5.

Tokamak Energy and Furukawa Electric sign agreement to advance commercial fusion energy

January 11, 2023, 3:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Tokamak Energy announced today that it has signed an agreement with Furukawa Electric Co., of Tokyo, Japan, and the Furukawa Electric Group's SuperPower Inc, of New York, for supply of several hundred kilometers of specialist high temperature superconducting (HTS) tape for Tokamak's new advanced prototype fusion device, ST80-HTS.

NNSA's minority serving institution program looks to strengthen skilled workforce

January 10, 2023, 12:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe

The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration’s Minority Serving Institution Partnership Program (MSIPP) has issued a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) titled "Community and Junior College Trade Occupation Program." The FOA encourages grant applications from tribal and minority serving community and junior colleges that diversify student and faculty populations, enhance training programs in trade and skilled labors, and increase the capacity of the NNSA's nuclear security enterprise workforce.

Eligible tribal and minority serving community and junior colleges have until February 17, 2023, 11:50 p.m. EST to respond to the FOA with proposals.

NEDHO's academic program fact sheets

January 9, 2023, 3:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

The Nuclear Engineering Department Heads Organization has made its members' academic fact sheets available for 2022.

Each year, NEDHO's academic institutions share information about their programs through the use of concise summaries that provide a brief overview of each program and include important statistics such as faculty and student numbers, research expenditures, and more.

National labs targeted in Russia-based phishing scheme, Reuters reports

January 9, 2023, 12:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Reuters broke an “exclusive” story on January 6 that, “according to Internet records reviewed by Reuters and five cyber security experts, a Russian hacking team known as Cold River targeted three Department of Energy laboratoriesArgonne, Brookhaven, and Lawrence Livermore—with a phishing scheme in the summer of 2022.

AI and advanced nuclear reactors

January 3, 2023, 6:55AMANS Nuclear Cafe
Researchers are looking for the ideal characteristics of molten salt, which can serve as both coolant and fuel in advanced nuclear reactors. (Photo: Argonne National Laboratory)

Scientists are searching for new materials to advance the next generation of nuclear power plants. In a recent study, researchers at the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory showed how artificial intelligence could help pinpoint the right types of molten salts, a key component for advanced nuclear reactors.