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.


IPCC opens registration for expert review of draft report

January 20, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—the United Nations body established to assess the science related to climate change—is offering experts an opportunity to review the draft version of its Sixth Assessment Synthesis Report.

IPCC assessment reports are published every six to seven years. The Fifth Assessment Report, completed in 2014, provided the main scientific input to the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Interested experts can register for participation in the review here. Registration is open through March 13. The review period ends on March 20.

Rita Baranwal joins Westinghouse as chief technology officer

January 20, 2022, 7:02AMNuclear News

Baranwal

Westinghouse Electric Company has appointed ANS member and Fellow Rita Baranwal chief technology officer to drive next-generation solutions for existing and new markets that align with the company’s strategy.

Baranwal’s appointment marks her return to Westinghouse, where she worked for nearly a decade in leadership positions in the global technology development, fuel engineering, and product engineering groups.

Huff nominated to fill role of assistant secretary of energy for DOE-NE

January 19, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

Huff

Kathryn “Katy” Huff, who is currently serving as the Department of Energy's principal deputy assistant secretary of nuclear energy, has been nominated by President Joe Biden to head the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy as assistant secretary of energy. The role has been vacant since Rita Baranwal announced she was leaving the position on January 8, 2021.

Sustained commitment: Since Huff was named principal deputy assistant secretary of nuclear energy in May 2021, she has also served as acting assistant secretary of energy for nuclear energy.

Huff is on unpaid leave from her role as assistant professor in the Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she led the Advanced Reactors and Fuel Cycles Research Group. Huff was also a Blue Waters assistant professor with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. Prior to joining the NPRE faculty at UIUC, Huff was a postdoctoral fellow in the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Nuclear Science and Security Consortium and the Berkeley Institute for Data Science at the University of California–Berkeley. Huff received her Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2013, and her undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Chicago.

U.K. government lauds progress at Hinkley Point C

January 19, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
From left: Nigel Cann, delivery director at Hinkley Point C, Helen Whately MP, Kwasi Kwarteng MP, and Jean-Bernard Lévy, chairman and chief executive officer of EDF. (Photo: EDF)

Despite last year’s announcement from EDF Energy that the startup of Unit 1 at Hinkley Point C would likely be delayed (from late 2025 to June 2026), current progress at the site is receiving praise from the U.K. government.

On January 13, Kwasi Kwarteng, secretary of state for business, energy, and industrial strategy, and Helen Whately, exchequer secretary of the treasury, toured the nuclear new-build project, accompanied by Jean Bernard Lévy, EDF’s chairman and chief executive.

IEA to Canadian government: Step up support for nuclear

January 18, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News

The International Energy Agency’s newly published in-depth review of Canada’s energy policies, the first since 2015, urges the nation’s government to take more action in support of nuclear energy.

The 261-page report, Canada 2022 Energy Policy Review, released on January 13, features a 17-page section devoted to nuclear that includes four specific recommendations for Canada’s federal government:

Westinghouse partners with Czech companies for Dukovany project

January 18, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
Czech government officials and company representatives at the January 13 signing. (Photo: Czech Republic Ministry of Industry and Trade)

Westinghouse Electric Company has signed memorandums of understanding with seven companies in the Czech Republic. The MOUs, signed on January 13 at the Ministry of Industry and Trade in Prague, cover cooperation on the potential deployment of a Westinghouse AP1000 reactor at the Dukovany nuclear plant, as well as other potential AP1000 projects in Central Europe.

Nuclear technique for mosquito control breeds success in Cuba

January 18, 2022, 7:02AMNuclear News
Schools distributed information about the pilot trial in their communities, and schoolchildren participated in the biweekly release of sterilized male mosquitoes. (Photo: Manuel Fernández, Cuban Agency of Nuclear Energy)

Cuba’s plan to use the sterile insect technique to tackle the spread of dengue—a viral, mosquito-borne disease—relies on expertise and technology from the International Atomic Energy Agency. The technique is not new, having been used to control different insect-vector diseases in diverse regions of the world.

A call to action

January 17, 2022, 3:01PMNuclear NewsJohn C. Wagner

John C. Wagner

Like many of you, I have dedicated my career to the advancement of nuclear energy. We chose this path because clean energy changes lives. If we want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, end energy poverty, develop a U.S. power grid that is secure and resilient, and ensure national security, nuclear must be a significant part of the mix.

But let us acknowledge the reality of our situation. Nuclear power plants continue to close. New reactor projects are too often delayed by cost overruns and red tape. Not having solved the politics for a permanent repository, spent fuel sits at shut-down reactor sites.

We find ourselves perpetually running the hamster wheel, building paper reactors, and grinding our teeth as critics cloud public discourse by regurgitating old fears and clinging to the tired tropes of a bygone era.

Laws and sausages*—10 CFR Part 53

January 17, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear NewsSteven P. Nesbit

Steven P. Nesbit
president@ans.org

Interested parties are watching the real-­time development of 10 CFR Part 53—a new Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulation for constructing and operating advanced nuclear power reactors in the United States. In January 2019, the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act (NEIMA) required, among other things, that for commercial advanced nuclear reactors, the NRC must increase the use of risk-­informed, performance-­based licensing evaluation techniques and establish by the end of 2027 a technology-­inclusive regulatory framework that encourages greater technological innovation.

* “If you like laws and sausages, you should never watch either one being made.” – Otto von Bismarck.

Female students awarded IAEA scholarships under Sklodowska-Curie program

January 17, 2022, 7:02AMNuclear News
Xiaoluo Wang (right), a fellow under the IAEA Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Program, graduated last year with a master’s degree in nuclear engineering and is getting work experience at the IAEA's Division of Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Waste Technology. (Photo: A. Tarhi/IAEA)

The International Atomic Energy Agency has selected more than 110 female students from around the world to receive scholarships under its Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Program.

Launched in 2020 by the IAEA's director general, Rafael Mariano Grossi, the program offers young women an opportunity to pursue studies toward a master’s in the nuclear field by providing financial support and practical experience. Its aim is to help close the gender gap in the traditionally male-dominated nuclear sector, where women make up less than a quarter of the workforce globally, according to data from the World Nuclear Association.

Ultra Safe Nuclear and ORNL strengthen bonds with 3D printing technology

January 14, 2022, 11:58AMNuclear News
Kurt Terrani observing a chemical vapor infiltration furnace at ORNL during densification of additively manufactured nuclear-grade silicon carbide. (Photo: Carlos Jones/ORNL/DOE)

Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC), a Seattle-based reactor developer, has licensed an additive manufacturing technique developed at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory to print refractory materials into structural and core components for the company’s microreactor designs.

Shadow corrosion is reproduced in University of Michigan lab

January 14, 2022, 9:36AMNuclear News
[CLICK TO VIEW FULL IMAGE] The diagram at left illustrates the experimental setup and the resulting zirconium oxide layer of varying thickness. The second diagram shows the circular zirconium alloy sample that is affected by the band of nickel alloy and radiation. Finally, the electron image at right shows a band of oxidation on the zirconium alloy sample. (Images: Peng Wang, Michigan Ion Beam Laboratory)

A longstanding issue in boiling water reactors—shadow corrosion on zirconium alloy fuel rods and fuel channels—has been reproduced in the Michigan Ion Beam Laboratory as part of an effort to understand and prevent the phenomenon. Research led by Peng Wang, a University of Michigan assistant research scientist in nuclear engineering and radiological sciences, was published in the January 2022 issue of the Journal of Nuclear Materials and described in a recent university news article.

Omar Hurricane: Scientific proof of principle at the NIF

January 14, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News

Hurricane

In 2012, Omar Hurricane, a distinguished member of the technical staff at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, was asked by the laboratory director to lead a team to delve into studying the physics and engineering obstacles preventing fusion ignition at the National Ignition Facility (NIF). The team’s efforts led to a new exploratory “basecamp” strategy and the creation of several pivotal experiments that revealed some of the underlying problems with the ignition point design, while also delivering improved fusion performance and the first evidence of significant alpha particle self-heating.

Hurricane was appointed chief scientist of the Inertial Confinement Fusion Program in 2014, a position he has held ever since. He was named a Fellow of the American Physical Society’s Division of Plasma Physics in 2016 and was recently awarded the Edward Teller Medal from the American Nuclear Society for his work on inertial confinement fusion physics.

Another delay, cost bump, for Flamanville-3

January 13, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News
The Flamanville nuclear power plant in France.

France’s Flamanville-3 project, plagued by schedule setbacks and cost overruns for well over a decade (construction of the unit commenced in December 2007), will be delayed a bit longer and cost a bit more.

Électricité de France announced yesterday that fuel loading at the 1,600-MWe EPR has been pushed back from the end of this year to the second quarter of 2023. The delay increases the project’s cost at completion from €12.4 billion (about $14.2 billion) to €12.7 billion (about $14.5 billion), more than four times the initial estimate of €3.3 billion, according to EDF.

Oak Ridge project team honored with Achievement Award

January 13, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
Oak Ridge before-and-after views: At left is the Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant when it was closed in the late 1980s, and at right is a view of the site today, known as the East Tennessee Technology Park. (Photo: DOE)

Energy secretary Jennifer Granholm honored a Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management (EM) team from Oak Ridge with the Secretary of Energy’s Achievement Award during a virtual ceremony yesterday for successfully removing a former uranium enrichment complex. The project cleared 13 million square feet of deteriorated, contaminated structures from the site.

Foratom offers advice on improving EU taxonomy proposal

January 12, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

Foratom, the Brussels-based trade association for the European nuclear industry, wrote a letter yesterday to the European Commission welcoming the EC’s recent proposal to include nuclear in the EU taxonomy (under certain conditions), but also offering some suggestions for the proposal’s improvement.

The taxonomy is the European Union’s classification system for directing investments toward environmentally sustainable economic projects. On December 31, the EC’s nuclear-inclusive proposal was sent to expert panels from EU member states, with a response deadline of today. At a news briefing yesterday, however, an EC spokesperson announced an extended deadline of January 21.

How can nuclear energy deliver a clean energy future?

January 12, 2022, 7:03AMNuclear NewsLauren Lathem

One of the things that motivates and inspires me is the impact that access to electricity has on a society. Did you know that 15 percent of the world’s population does not have access to electricity? When I first learned that, I thought, “15 percent, that’s lower than I expected.” But then I realized that 15 percent translates to 1.1 billion people who do not have access to electricity.

Czech Republic’s energy future includes nuclear, renewables, says new government

January 11, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
The Temelin nuclear power plant in Czech Republic.

In a wide-ranging “program statement” laying out its policy priorities, the Czech Republic’s new, center-right government has endorsed nuclear energy and renewables and called for power generation from coal to be phased out by 2033.

The final version of the statement was released on January 7 by the five-party coalition government, sworn into office last month and led by Prime Minister Petr Fiala, head of the Civic Democratic Party.