The right side of the cooling tower of MIT’s reactor has the new system installed, eliminating its plume of vapor, while the untreated left side continues to produce a steady vapor stream. (Image: MIT/courtesy of the researchers)
The white plumes of steam billowing from the cooling towers of nuclear power plants and other thermal power plants represent an opportunity to some—the opportunity to collect a valued resource, purified water, that is now lost to the atmosphere. A small company called Infinite Cooling is looking to commercialize a technology recently developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology by the Varanasi Research Group, whose work is described in an article written by David L. Chandler, of the MIT News Office, and published on August 3.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Kathryn Huff (at left) and the U.S. Embassy in Romania’s Chargé d’Affaires David Muniz (at right), met with Virgil Popescu, Romania’s minister of energy, on July 29.
A delegation from the Department of Energy arrived in Romania in late July to discuss bilateral energy cooperation and Romania’s expansion plans for its sole nuclear power plant, Cernavoda. The delegation was led by Kathryn Huff, acting assistant secretary and principal deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Nuclear Energy.
Chemist Kevin Gaddis has adapted components of a high-pressure ion chromatography system to withstand the extreme conditions of a hot cell. (Photo: ORNL/Carlos Jones)
An Oak Ridge National Laboratory researcher has built a device that can speed up the separation of the medical radioisotope actinium-225 from irradiated thorium targets and withstand the high-radiation environment of a hot cell. In July, ORNL announced that Kevin Gaddis, a chemistry technician at the lab, had built and tested a prototype and was working to secure a patent for a device that cut separations time by 75 percent.
Irradiated lead test rods are delivered to Oak Ridge National Laboratory for examination. (Photo: ORNL)
Several lead test rods of Westinghouse’s EnCore accident tolerant fuel recently arrived at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for post-irradiation examination over the next year in support of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s licensing process. The rods were installed in 2019 in Exelon’s Byron-2, a 1,158-MWe pressurized water reactor, and were removed in fall 2020 and prepared for shipment to ORNL.
Workers in the control room of the newly operational Honghanye-5 reactor. (Photo: Liaoning Hongyanhe Nuclear Power Company)
China continues its relentless march toward the top of the list of nations with the most power reactors. On July 31, China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) announced that Unit 5 at the Hongyanhe plant in Liaoning Province has begun commercial operation, giving China 51 commercial-scale power reactors, only five fewer than France, which currently sits at the number-two spot on the list with 56 operating reactors.
A rendering of Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation’s micro modular reactor as proposed for construction on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus. (Graphic: USNC)
A bipartisan group of legislators has introduced a bill to invest in university nuclear science and engineering infrastructure, establish regional consortia to promote collaboration with industry and national laboratories, and support the development of advanced reactor technology. The National Nuclear University Research Infrastructure Reinvestment Act of 2021 (H.R. 4819) was introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Anthony Gonzalez (R., Ohio), Sean Casten (D., Ill.), Peter Meijer (R., Mich.), and Bill Foster (D., Ill).
A rendering of the VTR facility. (Image: INL)
Kathryn Huff, the Department of Energy’s acting assistant secretary for nuclear energy, asserted in an article published online by the Office of Nuclear Energy (DOE-NE) on July 30 that demonstration reactors, such as the Natrium and Xe-100 reactors being built as full-size power producers with cost-shared funding from the DOE, and test reactors, such as the Versatile Test Reactor, are both necessary for nuclear innovation. Both are also line items in the DOE budget request, and Huff’s article sends a clear message to appropriators about the need to fund both the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP) and the VTR.
The Taishan nuclear power plant, in China’s Guangdong Province. Photo: EDF Group
Unit 1 at the Taishan nuclear power plant in China has been shut down to examine fuel rod damage and conduct maintenance, China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) reported last Friday.
Left: The University of Texas at Austin SBD Challenge team: from left, Michael Butero, Matthew Frangos, Daniel Gutierrez, and John (Jack) Whelan. Right: The University of Rhode Island team: from left, Jay Macchia, Sean Babin, and Peter Tillinghast. (Photo: NNSA)
The National Nuclear Security Administration's Office of Nonproliferation and Arms Control has been partnering with national laboratories and universities to introduce engineering students to the field of international safeguards. Safeguards ensure that nuclear material and facilities are not used to illicitly manufacture nuclear weapons, the NNSA noted in a July 27 article.