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.

Westinghouse unveils SMR version of AP1000

May 4, 2023, 3:01PMNuclear News
Rendering of a Westinghouse AP300 plant. (Image: Westinghouse)

At a virtual press conference this morning, Westinghouse Electric Company president and chief executive officer Patrick Fragman announced the launch of the AP300 small modular reactor, a 300-MWe, 900-MWth single-loop pressurized water reactor based on the company’s larger AP1000 unit. Fragman was joined at the conference by David Durham, president of energy systems for Westinghouse, and Rita Baranwal, the firm’s chief technology officer. The company also released a short video introducing the AP300 on YouTube.

Holtec deepens relationship with South Korea for SMR deployment

May 4, 2023, 12:01PMNuclear News
From left: Hyundai E&C president and CEO Young-joon Yoon, Holtec president and CEO Kris Singh, South Korean minister of trade, industry and energy Chang-yang Lee, and K-Sure president and chairman Inho Lee. (Photo: Holtec)

Two South Korean financial institutions—the Korea Trade Insurance Corporation (K-Sure) and the Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM)—have signed pacts with Holtec International and Hyundai Engineering & Construction (a Hyundai Motor Group subsidiary) to provide support to Holtec’s SMR-160 projects around the world, the American firm announced on May 2.

From the pages of Nuclear News: Industry update

May 4, 2023, 7:01AMNuclear News

Here is a recap of industry happenings over the past month:


Site selected for Xe-100 SMR deployment

Dow and X-energy have announced that the first commercial deployment of X-energy’s Xe-100 advanced small modular reactor will be at one of Dow’s sites on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Previously, Energy Northwest’s Columbia nuclear power plant in Washington state was the expected location for deployment. Energy Northwest has said it still hopes to deploy an Xe-100 SMR before 2030.

X-energy also announced that it is building a regional fleet management, monitoring, and training facility called the Plant Support Center–East in Frederick, Md., to support the deployment of its SMRs.

Hot functional testing completed at Vogtle-4

May 3, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
The Vogtle-4 turbine building in March. (Photo: Georgia Power)

Georgia Power has announced another key milestone for the Vogtle nuclear expansion project near Waynesboro, Ga.—the completion of hot functional testing at Unit 4. This achievement marks another significant step toward commercial operation for the Generation III+ AP1000 reactor, which is projected to enter service late in the fourth quarter 2023 or in the first quarter 2024.

Savannah River lab qualified to provide safeguards reference materials to IAEA

May 3, 2023, 12:03PMNuclear News

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s Department of Safeguards recently qualified Savannah River National Laboratory to produce microparticle reference materials that can be used to evaluate measurement quality in support of the Network of Analytical Laboratories (NWAL) and the IAEA’s verification mission. SRNL announced the development on April 25.

Framatome turns out one-of-a-kind fuels to extend the life of research reactors

May 3, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
A Framatome operator fabricates U-Mo foils at CERCA. (Photo: Framatome)

Framatome is prepared to manufacture a novel molybdenum-uranium (U-Mo) fuel to extend the life and safe operation of the Forschungsreaktor München II (FRM II) research reactor in Germany. A new fuel supply—one that uses uranium enriched to less than 20 percent U-235—means the FRM II can continue to supply neutrons to industry and the scientific community. The fuel is “Europe’s low-enriched fuel with the highest density ever realized for research reactor operations,” according to Framatome’s April 27 announcement.

Waste Management 2023: Innovation, transformation, and sustainability

May 3, 2023, 7:01AMNuclear News

Attracting more than 2,000 attendees, the 2023 Waste Management Symposia was held February 26–March 2 in Phoenix, Ariz. For many, this year’s conference was a return to business as usual, with a packed exhibit hall and well-­attended technical sessions, as the upheaval brought about by the pandemic that began three years earlier seemed a thing of the past. Not that those who gathered in Phoenix threw any caution to the unseasonably cold and rainy winds that descended across Arizona this year.

The NASEM report: Laying the foundation for a nuclear-powered, low-carbon grid

May 2, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
This slide on the right from the consensus committee’s public briefing identifies 10 core variables that are important to the success of advanced reactor deployments. (Image: NASEM, Laying the Foundation for New and Advanced Nuclear Reactors in the United States)

Richard Meserve, who for more than two years chaired the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) Consensus Committee on Laying the Foundation for New and Advanced Nuclear Reactors in the United States, introduced its 300-page report on April 27 during a public briefing.

DOE-EM to fund minority-serving STEM programs

May 1, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) will offer an estimated $24.5 million to minority-serving institutions to help foster a sustainable and diverse science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce pipeline within the office.

Reliable electricity from nuclear

May 1, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear NewsSteven Arndt

Steven Arndt

In our daily lives, most of us take for granted that electricity will be available. We pull up to our garages in our cars and push the garage door opener and it works. Our refrigerators stay cold. Our houses stay warm. Our lights come on when we flip the switch. But reliable electricity doesn’t happen by accident. One of the most important parts of our industrial infrastructure, a reliable electric grid is achieved through deliberate design that uses a mix of sources that can achieve reliability, low cost, and other specific attributes like low environmental impact. Maintaining a reliable electric grid requires planning, analysis, and understanding of what is happening in the world. Many of the traditional grid reliability standards no longer recognize the reality of today’s constrained electric grids, nor do they account for fuel supply, weather, or the high penetration of renewables.

Jacobs awarded ITER diagnostics and maintenance contract

May 1, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News
Inside the ITER tokamak assembly hall. (Photo: ITER Organization)

The engineering company Jacobs announced last week that it has been awarded a four-year contract to design and engineer remotely operated tools for the ITER fusion project in southern France. The contract, which includes a possible two-year extension, covers work on up to 25 diagnostic ports and systems used for operating and sustaining the ITER experimental machine, which is currently under construction.

U.S. nuclear capacity factors: Credits where due

April 28, 2023, 3:03PMNuclear NewsSusan Gallier

Forty years ago, Nuclear News published an analysis of U.S. nuclear plant operations over the three years that followed the Three Mile Island-2 accident in 1979, scrutinizing capacity factors as a measure of how well a reactor was performing compared to its potential. The purpose: “To call attention to the units that have had the best results, and to explore the question: What have the personnel at these top units been doing right?”

Bill defining nuclear as clean energy passes N.C. Senate

April 28, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News

The North Carolina Senate on April 26 unanimously (48–0) endorsed a measure that, if signed into law, would open the door to new nuclear development in the state—both fission and fusion.

The Promote Clean Energy bill (S.B. 678)—introduced just this month and now with the state’s House for consideration—replaces the term “renewable energy” in statutory language with “clean energy” and adds nuclear to the new term’s definition.

U.S. firms expand collaboration with Korea on advanced reactors

April 27, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News

NuScale Power and TerraPower both signed agreements earlier this week with South Korean entities to support development of the American firms’ respective reactor technologies.

NEXT Lab on target for ACU

April 27, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
A south-facing view of the Dillard Science and Engineering Research Center at Abilene Christian University, scheduled for completion in the summer of 2023. The new facility will provide space for ACU’s NEXT Lab, as well as for research in chemistry, physics, and engineering.

Abilene Christian University’s Nuclear Energy eXperimental Testing (NEXT) Lab continues to make progress toward building a molten salt research reactor (MSRR) on the university’s campus. NEXT Lab submitted an application for a construction permit to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission last August, and in November the agency announced it had docketed the application—the first for a new research reactor in more than 30 years.

Consortium for CMSR-based floating nuclear plants debuts

April 27, 2023, 9:30AMUpdated April 27, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
At table, from left: Navid Samandari, chief executive officer of Seaborg Technologies; Jooho Whang, CEO of KHNP; and Jintaek Jeong, CEO of Samsung Heavy Industries. (Photo: Seaborg Technologies)

Denmark-based Seaborg Technologies, developer of the compact molten salt reactor (CMSR), has teamed with two South Korean firms—shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) and nuclear plant owner and operator Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP)—to form a consortium for the development of floating nuclear plants featuring the CMSR. The consortium agreement was signed in Seoul on April 20.

DOE issues revised consent-based siting document

April 27, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy released an updated version of its consent-based siting process on April 25. The DOE will use the process to engage with willing communities to site one or more consolidated interim storage facilities for commercial spent nuclear fuel, reducing the number of locations where spent fuel is stored and easing the burden on U.S. taxpayers.

Atoms: Space travel plans

April 26, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News

Earthbound air travel can be a hassle, even for careful planners. So if you’re heading to the Moon or beyond, it’s time to shift your planning into hyperdrive. Our advice, when there’s no guidebook, no proven vehicle, and your destination is a moving target? Don’t forget to pack your nuclear power bank.

LLNL’s Annie Kritcher named to TIME100 for her role in fusion breakthrough

April 26, 2023, 12:00PMEdited April 26, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
LLNL design physicist Annie Kritcher is honored as one of the TIME100 Most Influential People. (Photo: Blaise Douros/LLNL)

Physicist Andrea “Annie” Kritcher’s dedication to fusion target design has earned her a spot on the TIME100 Most Influential People list for 2023. Today, Kritcher and 99 other individuals on that list—among them Elon Musk, King Charles, Judy Blume, Patrick Mahomes, Beyoncé, Lionel Messi, Janet Yellen, and MrBeast—are being honored at the TIME100 Summit and Gala at the Lincoln Center in New York City.

Equipped with armor tiles, DIII-D takes “negative triangularity” plasma to new highs

April 26, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News
A side-by-side comparison of a standard plasma configuration (at left) and the plasma created during the negative triangularity campaign at DIII-D, which was made possible by the installation of a temporary divertor region. (Image: General Atomics)

The DIII-D National Fusion Facility in San Diego, Calif., has completed a monthlong research campaign using a negative triangularity plasma configuration inside its fusion tokamak and produced initial data that “appear very encouraging,” according to an April 24 news release from General Atomics (GA), which operates the Office of Science user facility on behalf of the Department of Energy. Full experimental results on “the highest-powered negative triangularity experiments in the history of the U.S. fusion research program” are expected this summer, according to GA.