Nuclear News

Published since 1959, Nuclear News is recognized worldwide as the flagship trade publication for the nuclear community. News reports cover plant operations, maintenance and security; policy and legislation; international developments; waste management and fuel; and business and contract award news.


Exelon files to deactivate the Byron reactors

June 18, 2021, 12:06PMUpdated June 18, 2021, 4:50PMNuclear News
The Byron nuclear power plant.

Exelon on June 16 filed with grid operator PJM Interconnection to deactivate the two Byron reactors in Illinois. The move came one day after the Illinois Senate adjourned without reaching an agreement on a comprehensive energy package that would have provided nearly $700 million to keep Byron’s reactors, as well as Exelon’s Dresden and Braidwood nuclear power plants, in operation. (In August of 2020, Exelon announced that it would close the economically challenged Byron and Dresden facilities in the fall of 2021 without some form of state aid to provide compensation for their clean power.) The state’s House of Representatives also adjourned earlier this week without taking up the bill.

Online monitoring technology to extend calibration intervals of nuclear plant pressure transmitters

June 18, 2021, 1:55PMNuclear NewsH. M. Hashemian

Online monitoring (OLM) technology can be used in nuclear power plants as an analytical tool to measure sensor drift during plant operation and thereby identify the sensors whose calibration must be checked physically during an outage. The technology involves a procedure to (1) retrieve redundant sensor measurements from the process computer or through a separate data acquisition system, (2) calculate the average of these measurements and the deviation of each sensor from the average, and (3) identify any sensor that has deviated beyond its predetermined monitoring limit.

2021 ANS Virtual Annual Meeting: CEO roundtable

June 18, 2021, 9:37AMNuclear News

The 2021 ANS Annual Meeting brought together three leading chief executive officers from the nuclear industry on June 16 for a discussion centered on the future role of nuclear energy deployment and the challenges of portfolio management during a time of net-zero carbon goals.

First ITER central solenoid module ready for transatlantic journey

June 18, 2021, 7:01AMNuclear News
ITER CS Module 1 (shown here at right with the General Atomics fabrication team) is being loaded onto a specialized heavy transport vehicle for shipment to Houston, Texas, where it will be placed on a ship for transit to France. (Photo: General Atomics)

After a decade of design and fabrication, General Atomics (GA) is preparing to ship the first module of the central solenoid—the largest of ITER’s magnets—to the site in southern France where 35 partner countries are collaborating to build the world’s largest tokamak and the first fusion device to produce net energy.

NNSA to host virtual job fair

June 17, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News

A virtual job fair for the Department of Energy’s Nuclear Security Enterprise (NSE) is being held on Wednesday, June 23, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (EDT). The job fair will be hosted by the DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration.

The NSE is looking for the next generation of nuclear security professionals and is planning to hire more than 2,500 new employees in 2021.

Interested candidates are encouraged to register online for the event.

2021 ANS Virtual Annual Meeting: President’s Special Session

June 16, 2021, 3:43PMNuclear News

The current orthodoxy on climate change—that it is an existential threat to global civilization—was challenged on June 15 during the 2021 ANS Virtual Annual Meeting's President’s Special Session, which featured two prominent dissenters from that view, Michael Shellenberger and Mark P. Mills.

The criminalization of nuclear

Mary Lou Dunzik-Gougar

Nuclear energy is the cleanest, safest, densest, and most reliable energy source. The value proposition for nuclear energy is unparalleled. It is the only commercially proven, “dispatchable” clean energy technology that can be scaled up fast enough to meet the demand for electricity in a decarbonizing scenario. It is the answer for governments and nongovernmental organizations worldwide that are clamoring for a reduction in human-generated CO2 emissions. Humans flourish when they have access to plentiful, safe, and reliable energy. Nuclear excels at all of these.

2021 ANS Virtual Annual Meeting: Better TENORM regulations needed

June 15, 2021, 12:04PMNuclear News

When it comes to technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive materials (TENORM) produced by the oil and gas industry, “regulations have not kept up with technology,” said the Environmental Protection Agency’s Philip Egidi during a panel session on the opening day of the 2021 ANS Annual Meeting.

Is nuclear finally getting the credit it deserves?

June 15, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy

“Prejudice” is a word we hear often these days. The dictionary defines it as a “preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.” In our current public discourse on race and gender, prejudice hangs in the air like a persistent fog that obscures the path to real progress. But prejudice is also a much broader societal phenomenon—our caveman brains are constantly looking for quick shortcuts (which psychologists call heuristics) to make sense of the world, which often leads us to conclusions that are outdated, unfair, or just plain wrong.

Korean team commits to R&D for marine molten salt reactors

June 14, 2021, 3:02PMNuclear News

Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) has announced that it will develop marine molten salt reactor (MSR) technology with the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI). SHI president Jintaek Jeong and KAERI president Park Won-seok on June 9 signed an agreement to establish a strategic cooperative relationship and conduct joint research.

Meredith Angwin: The electric grid and reliability

June 14, 2021, 1:25PMNuclear NewsRick Michal

In her career as a chemist, Meredith Angwin headed projects that lowered pollution and increased reliability on the electric grid. Her work included pollution control for nitrogen oxides in gas-­fired combustion turbines and corrosion control in geothermal and nuclear systems.

Angwin, an ANS member, was one of the first women to be a project manager at the Electric Power Research Institute, leading projects in nuclear energy and renewables.

In the past decade, Angwin began to study and take part in grid oversight and governance. For four years, she served on the Coordinating Committee for the Consumer Liaison Group associated with ISO New England, her local grid operator. It was during this time that she realized what a maze of confusion surrounded grid rules and grid management.

How the NRC modernized its digital I&C infrastructure and where it goes from here

June 11, 2021, 3:20PMNuclear NewsEric J. Benner and Steven A. Arndt

The Nuclear Regulatory Commissiona first formally developed infrastructure for the review of digital instrumentation and control (I&C) systems in the 1990s. Although the current fleet of nuclear power plants in the United States was originally designed and constructed with analog systems, the U.S. nuclear industry has for more than 30 years been working to upgrade these older systems with modern digital equipment.

China’s Tianwan-6 up and running

June 11, 2021, 12:59PMNuclear News
The Tianwan-6 control room. Photo: CNNC

Unit 6 at the Tianwan nuclear plant has entered commercial operation, China National Nuclear Corporation announced last week. The domestically designed ACPR-1000 pressurized water reactor becomes CNNC’s 24th unit to enter service, raising the company’s installed generating capacity to 22.5 GWe (gross).

Experts predict further delay to commercial start of Vogtle-3

June 11, 2021, 7:02AMNuclear News
Vogtle-3’s containment (right) and turbine building (left) in May. Photo: Georgia Power

Georgia Power recently pushed back its projected commercial operation date for Vogtle-3 from December of this year to January 2022, but now some engineering and financial experts are saying that this revised date is too optimistic.

Support for nuclear energy grows with climate change concerns

June 10, 2021, 3:09PMNuclear NewsAnn S. Bisconti

Public discourse on energy and climate increasingly includes nuclear energy, but how has that affected public opinion? The answer: a lot. A national public opinion survey conducted in May found that support for nuclear energy has rebounded, and politics, in part, may offer a window into why. For example, now Biden and Trump voters support nuclear energy about equally. Trump voters care more about affordable and reliable electricity. Biden voters care more about climate change, and their support is driven by perception of need. Perception of need is boosted by climate change, recent energy supply problems, and Democratic leadership endorsements. The importance of Democratic leadership endorsements is shown in the Obama bump in 2010 and the Biden bump in 2021. In both cases, the increase in overall support for nuclear is largely attributable to increased support among Democrats.

The survey, with 1,000 nationally representative U.S. adults, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points and was conducted by Bisconti Research Inc. with Quest Global Research Mindshare Online Panel. The report includes trend data going back 38 years.

DOE backs U.S. stellarator research at Germany’s Wendelstein 7-X

June 10, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News
The Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics offers an interactive and informative 360-degree panoramic tour of Wendelstein 7-X. (Source: ipp.mpg.de)

U.S. scientists are getting funding to carry out seven research projects at two major stellarator fusion energy facilities located in Germany and Japan, the Department of Energy announced on June 8. A total of $6.4 million has been allocated for seven research projects with terms of up to three years.