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.


MSU’s FRIB: Ready to accelerate discoveries in nuclear physics and applications

May 3, 2022, 7:16AMNuclear News
An aerial view of the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams on the Michigan State University campus in East Lansing, Mich. (Photo: FRIB)

Michigan State University’s Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) officially opened yesterday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, elected officials, and guests who had supported the project during its planning and construction, including ANS Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer Craig Piercy. They were there to celebrate the completion—on time and within budget—of the world’s most powerful heavy-ion accelerator and the first accelerator-based Department of Energy Office of Science user facility located on a university campus.

WM Symposia 2022:
COVID, the workforce, and supply chains

May 2, 2022, 2:46PMNuclear NewsTim Gregoire

The Waste Management Symposia, the premier forum on the management and disposition of radioactive waste, took place in person this year March 6–10 in Phoenix, Ariz., after being held virtually in 2021 due to the COVID-­19 pandemic. With more than 2,100 paid participants, the prevailing feeling at the conference was one of getting back to normal after two long years without face-­to-­face contact.

Finding fusion’s place

May 2, 2022, 2:46PMNuclear NewsBart Gordon, Tim Peckinpaugh, Mike O’Neill, and Molly Barker
Artist’s rendering of the U.K.'s STEP fusion reactor. (Image: U.K. Atomic Energy Authority)

Fusion energy is attracting significant interest from governments and private capital markets. The deployment of fusion energy on a timeline that will affect climate change and offer another tool for energy security will require support from stakeholders, regulators, and policymakers around the world. Without broad support, fusion may fail to reach its potential as a “game-­changing” technology to make a meaningful difference in addressing the twin challenges of climate change and geopolitical energy security.

The process of developing the necessary policy and regulatory support is already underway around the world. Leaders in the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, China, and elsewhere are engaging with the key issues and will lead the way in setting the foundation for a global fusion industry.

GOP lawmakers call on Secretary Granholm to secure U.S. nuclear energy sector

May 2, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

Upton

McMorris Rodgers

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wash.), ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Fred Upton (R., Mich.), ranking member of the Subcommittee on Energy, sent a letter to energy secretary Jennifer Granholm on April 27 urging that more be done to secure America’s nuclear energy sector.

Excerpt: “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine exposes the risks of weakening American energy security,” McMorris Rodgers and Upton write. “These risks extend beyond our oil and gas assets to include supply vulnerabilities in our civilian nuclear sector. This sector is essential for national and energy security and for strengthening the geostrategic relationships necessary to compete with Russia, China, and other adversaries.

NuScale signs MOU with Korean companies on SMR deployment in Asia

May 2, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
Kiyoun Na, chief executive officer of Doosan Enerbility’s nuclear business group; John Hopkins, president and CEO of NuScale Power; Yongsoo Huh, president and CEO of GS Energy; and Byung Soo Lee, executive vice president of Samsung C&T, signed an MOU to collaborate on NuScale SMR deployment in Asia.

Small modular reactor developer NuScale Power has signed a memorandum of understanding with three South Korean companies—Doosan Enerbility Company, GS Energy Corporation, and Samsung C&T Corporation—to explore the deployment of NuScale’s VOYGR power plants in Asia.

DOE seeks input on FY 2023 funding opportunity announcement for university research

May 2, 2022, 7:09AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy's Office of Nuclear Energy has issued a request for information regarding the funding of university research for fiscal year 2023. The RFI, issued on April 20, is seeking input from the nuclear energy community, including technical and community colleges, historically black colleges and universities, and other minority-serving institutions, on its competitive Research and Development Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for universities.

Insights from the Three Mile Island accident—Part 1: The accident

April 29, 2022, 3:59PMNuclear NewsWilliam E. Burchill

The accident at Unit 2 of the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant on March 28, 1979, was an extremely complex event. It was produced by numerous preexisting plant conditions, many systemic issues in the industry and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, unanticipated operator actions, previously unrecognized thermal-­hydraulic phenomena in the reactor coolant system (RCS), and the unprecedented challenge of managing a severely degraded core.

Update on Ukraine

April 29, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, thanks IAEA director general Rafael Mariano Grossi for the agency’s support, including its April 26 mission to Chernobyl. (Photo: IAEA)

The director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Mariano Grossi, led a mission to Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear plant this week to address ongoing radiological safety concerns at the shuttered site following five weeks (February 24–March 31) of Russian military occupation.

Bechtel teams up with Polish companies for new nuclear build

April 29, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
Mark Brzezinski, U.S. ambassador to Poland, and John Howanitz, president of Bechtel’s nuclear, security, and environmental global business unit, address representatives of 12 Polish companies that signed memorandums of understanding with Bechtel for the potential development of Poland’s civil nuclear program. (Photo: Bechtel)

Bechtel has signed memorandums of understanding with a dozen Polish companies for the potential development of two nuclear power plants as Poland seeks to lessen its dependence on domestic coal and Russian imports for its energy supply.

The MOUs were signed on April 25 during a ceremony at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Warsaw. Offering services ranging from earthwork and infrastructure construction to concrete, tunneling, electrical installations, and heavy cranes, the 12 Polish firms are BAKS, Budimex, Doraco, Energoprojekt-Katowice, Hitachi Energy Poland, ILF, KB Pomorze, Mostostal Warzsawa, Polimex Mostostal, Protea Group, Vistal Gdynia, and Zarmen.

DIII-D divertor to test tungsten tiles

April 29, 2022, 7:04AMNuclear News
[CLICK to see entire image] Overview of the SAS-VW program at DIII-D. A research concept map illustrates how intense plasma exhaust power entering the divertor leads to the emergence of impurities that can migrate into the plasma core. After identifying the research requirements for the SAS-VW, a process of engineering design, prototyping, and implementation is performed. (Image: General Atomics)

Researchers at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility (DIII-D) are preparing to test a new method that could enable future fusion power plants to withstand the heat and particle flow created by the fusion reaction, General Atomics reported this week.

In focus: The Three Mile Island special report

April 28, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News

This week’s #ThrowbackThursday post features the special report published by Nuclear News in April 1979—one month after the accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant. Titled “The ordeal at Three Mile Island,” the report provides readers with a quick review of the accident, how it happened (as much as was known at the time), its immediate effects on the general public, and the public discourse that followed. It should come as no surprise that the report covers some negative responses from the public and politicians of the time, but it concludes with the responses of some policy leaders who tried to put the accident into perspective.

NRC seeks public input on Level 3 PRA project

April 28, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is seeking input from the public regarding the first set of results from its multiyear Level 3 Probabilistic Risk Assessment Project to analyze risk at a reference two-reactor nuclear power plant site.

The project, which began in 2012, updates risk insights obtained from work done more than 30 years ago, according to the NRC. The project examines a reference site with two large pressurized water reactors and associated spent fuel. It builds on Level 1 (possible reactor core damage scenarios) and Level 2 (possible radioactive material release scenarios) analyses to estimate potential health effects and economic impacts.

Proposed DOE-EM funding would advance technology development

April 28, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
Savannah River National Laboratory recently oversaw a demonstration of a new radiological inspection technology called iGART, a ground-based robot that conducts radiological and nuclear inspections. The DOE’s Office of Environmental Management used the demonstration at the Savannah River Site to determine if there is an application value for iGART at SRS or other EM sites. (Photos: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management is looking to continue developing technology to aid in site cleanup activities if its fiscal year 2023 budget request is approved. The $7.64 billion budget request includes about $25 million for EM’s Technology Development Office.

DOE seeks nuclear-focused partnerships with communities

April 26, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy has issued a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) aimed at developing partnerships between the Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) and various communities. Partners will work with local energy communities, educational entities, and other constituencies to accomplish the shared mission of utilizing nuclear energy to advance energy, environmental, and economic initiatives, according to the DOE.

University programs: The many areas of research

April 21, 2022, 4:09PMUpdated April 22, 2022, 10:03AMNuclear News

Nuclear News reached out to the Nuclear Engineering Department Heads Organization (NEDHO) to ask for assistance in connecting with nuclear engineering programs at U.S. universities. Our request to the universities was to provide us with updates on their programs and to detail their areas of special interest.

DOE awards grant to Constellation to study direct air capture technology

April 22, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy has awarded a grant worth $2.5 million to Constellation and its project partners to investigate the potential benefits of direct air capture (DAC) technology at its Byron nuclear power plant in Illinois. DAC would remove carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere, a possible next-generation technology to help combat climate change.

University profile: Abilene Christian University

April 21, 2022, 4:55PMNuclear News
The new Science and Engineering Research Center at Abilene Christian University (Photo: Abilene Christian University)

Nuclear News reached out to the Nuclear Engineering Department Heads Organization (NEDHO) to ask for assistance in connecting with nuclear engineering programs at U.S. universities. Our request to universities was to provide us with updates on their programs and to detail their areas of special interest.

NEDHO came through big time. As a result, 20 nuclear engineering programs answered the call. In this series of articles, we will take a close look at university programs around the United States. This time, the focus is on Abilene Christian University, in Abilene, Texas.

University profile: Georgia Institute of Technology

April 21, 2022, 4:55PMNuclear News
Prof. Anna Erickson and Ph.D. student Natalie Cannon discuss a radioxenon detection system with applications in nuclear treaty monitoring and molten salt reactor off-gas monitoring. (Photo: Georgia Tech)

Nuclear News reached out to the Nuclear Engineering Department Heads Organization (NEDHO) to ask for assistance in connecting with nuclear engineering programs at U.S. universities. Our request to universities was to provide us with updates on their programs and to detail their areas of special interest.

NEDHO came through big time. As a result, 20 nuclear engineering programs answered the call. In this series of articles, we will take a close look at university programs around the United States. This time, the focus is on Georgia Institute of Technology, in Atlanta, Georgia.

University profile: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

April 21, 2022, 4:30PMNuclear News
A cutaway rendering of the MIT nuclear battery concept shows important components such as the instrumentation and control module, the reactor, and the power module. (Image: MIT)

Nuclear News reached out to the Nuclear Engineering Department Heads Organization (NEDHO) to ask for assistance in connecting with nuclear engineering programs at U.S. universities. Our request to universities was to provide us with updates on their programs and to detail their areas of special interest.

NEDHO came through big time. As a result, 20 nuclear engineering programs answered the call. In this series of articles, we will take a close look at university programs around the United States. This time, the focus is on Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.