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.

Additional funding provided for Sizewell C project

September 7, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
A computer-generated rendering of the Sizewell site on the Suffolk coast. Sizewell A and B are to the left and center (respectively) in this image; the section to the right is the Sizewell C area. (Image: EDF Energy)

In the second tranche of planned investment in Britain’s nuclear sector this summer, the U.K. government has made available £341 million (about $426 million) of previously allocated funding for development work on the proposed Sizewell C project in Suffolk, England.

Centrus Energy expects first HALEU production in October

September 7, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News

Centrus Energy’s HALEU demonstration cascade. (Photo: Centrus Energy)

Centrus Energy announced on September 6 that it is conducting final system tests and expects to begin producing high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) in October from its 16-machine gaseous centrifuge enrichment demonstration cascade at the American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon, Ohio. After achieving initial HALEU production, Centrus has specific goals to meet under contract as the company ramps the demonstration cascade to its target annual production rate of 900 kg per year.

Centrus is required under a cost-share contract with the Department of Energy to produce 20 kg of 19.75 percent–enriched HALEU in uranium hexafluoride (UF6) form by the end of this year. That contract, announced in November 2022, replaced an earlier contract signed in October 2019 that called for first production of HALEU by June 2022. The current contract calls for production at an annual rate of 900 kg of HALEU UF6 per year in 2024, with additional options—subject to appropriations—to produce material in future years.

A focus where it is needed

September 7, 2023, 6:57AMNuclear NewsKen Petersen

Ken Petersen

The front end of the fuel cycle is getting a lot of attention lately—and it needs it. The war in Ukraine has disrupted the global supply chain for many products, nuclear fuel being one. Several countries have determined that they no longer want to rely on nuclear fuel from Russia. This can be anything from fabricated fuel including uranium, conversion, and enrichment to just enrichment.

Since the Cold War, Russia has been a major supplier of nuclear fuel to the West. Replacing Russia as the main supplier will take both time and money—a fact that has become even more clear as the small modular reactor community grows, and with it, the demand for high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) for fuel.

The American Nuclear Society has been highlighting the immediacy of the fuel supply problem—which will become a crisis without immediate action—for years. In 2021, ANS wrote to Congress, urging swift action. This year, Nuclear News and ANS’s Nuclear Newswire have run a three-part series by energy writer and consultant Matt Wald on the domestic nuclear fuel shortage. The first article, “On the verge of a crisis: The U.S. nuclear fuel Gordian knot,” was published on Newswire on April 14; the second, “The U.S. nuclear fuel Gordian knot: From global supplier to vulnerable customer,” on May 19. The final piece of the series, “The U.S. nuclear fuel Gordian knot: The uncertain path forward,” was posted on September 1.

EDF, JAVYS ink new nuclear pact for Slovakia

September 6, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News

Pavol Štuller, JAVYS chairman and chief executive officer, on the left, and Vakisasai Ramany, EDF senior vice president in charge of new nuclear development, sign an agreement in Paris.

Slovakia’s state-owned nuclear company JAVYS has announced the signing of a framework cooperation agreement (FCA) with France’s EDF for further cooperation “in the field of nuclear energy and in the implementation of projects aimed at development of large power reactors and small modular reactors.” Currently, the Slovakian nuclear fleet consists of two VVER-440/V213 pressurized water reactors at Bohunice, and two at Mochovce (with two more units on their way).

The signing took place on August 25 during an official visit to Paris by Slovakia’s minister of economy Peter Dovhun.

Fate of North Carolina nuclear measure uncertain

September 6, 2023, 9:31AMNuclear News


While a pronuclear energy bill currently under consideration in the North Carolina General Assembly appears to stand a good chance of advancing to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk, its chances of receiving his signature are less clear.

The legislation, S.B. 678, would replace the term “renewable energy” in state statutes with “clean energy” and specify that the new term includes both nuclear fission and fusion. In addition, the bill would eliminate language impeding the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) from issuing Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity for nuclear facilities.

According to S.B. 678, “clean energy resource” includes solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal, biomass, “waste heat derived from a clean energy source and used to produce electricity or useful, measurable thermal energy at a retail electric customer’s facility,” and “nuclear energy resources, including an uprate to a nuclear energy facility, fusion energy, or hydrogen derived from a clean energy resource.”

Hispanic Heritage Month event to showcase Hispanic excellence in the nuclear field

September 6, 2023, 7:01AMNuclear News

The American Nuclear Society will host the online event “Hispanic Excellence in the Nuclear Field” on September 20 at 10:00 a.m. (EDT), featuring a distinguished panel of nuclear experts. The panelists will share unique insights from their careers and discuss opportunities and challenges facing the future nuclear workforce, including what they see as future opportunities for the Hispanic community in the nuclear field.

Lawmakers request info from agencies on NEPA reforms

September 5, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News



McMorris Rodgers

A trio of GOP House lawmakers is asking four federal agencies to report on their progress toward implementing National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reforms included in the 2023 Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA), signed by President Biden in early June.

Last Friday, House Energy and Commerce Committee chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wash.); Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Subcommittee chair Jeff Duncan (R., S.C.); and Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee chair Bill Johnson (R., Ohio) sent letters to the Department of Energy, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Georgia Power, PSC staff reach deal on Vogtle project recovery costs

September 5, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
From left: Vogtle Units 3 and 4 in July. (Photo: Georgia Power)

Georgia Power has signed a proposed agreement with the Georgia Public Service Commission’s (PSC’s) Public Interest Advocacy (PIA) staff and several intervening parties on the total amount the utility should be allowed to recover from ratepayers for the remaining costs associated with the Vogtle-3 and -4 nuclear expansion project. If adopted by the commissioners, the agreement will resolve all issues of the project’s prudency review, according to an August 30 PSC news release.

American Centrifuge Plant the subject of upcoming NRC public meeting

September 5, 2023, 7:01AMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff will hold a hybrid public meeting on September 7 to discuss the agency’s licensing and oversight of Centrus/American Centrifuge Operating’s American Centrifuge Plant, in Piketon, Ohio. The discussion will focus primarily on the company’s enrichment of high-assay low-enriched uranium, or HALEU.

The U.S. nuclear fuel Gordian knot: The uncertain path forward

September 1, 2023, 3:07PMNuclear NewsMatt Wald

In the last few weeks of 2021, when it was clear that the Russian invasion of Ukraine had put this country’s uranium fuel supply in jeopardy, nuclear energy advocates lobbied hard to attach provisions to various pieces of “must-pass” legislation—such as the National Defense Appropriations Act (NDAA), the Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and the CHIPS and Science Act—to have the government get the ball rolling on new domestic uranium fuel production capacity. Four times they thought they had succeeded, that Congress was going to allocate enough money to start the United States on the road to a secure supply of reactor fuel, including the higher-enriched fuel needed for advanced reactors.

Oklo unit tentatively picked to power Air Force base in Alaska

August 31, 2023, 3:11PMNuclear News
Concept art of Oklo's Aurora Powerhouse plant. (Image: Gensler)

The Defense Logistics Agency Energy (DLA Energy) has selected Oklo Inc. as the pending contractor awardee to site a microreactor at Alaska’s Eielson Air Force Base, the advanced reactor firm announced this morning. Eielson is located on 63,195 acres in central Alaska, 26 miles southeast of Fairbanks.

Pritzker defends nuclear bill veto, but leaves an opening

August 30, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News

Speaking at an event last week at the University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign, Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker defended his recent veto of S.B. 76—the bipartisan bill that would have lifted the state’s decades-old moratorium on nuclear plant construction. At the same time, he extolled the promise of small modular reactors and said he would sign an amended version of the legislation.

Workforce policies discussed at ANS diversity committee roundtable

August 30, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News

The American Nuclear Society Diversity and Inclusion in ANS Committee hosted a webinar this summer on the impact of national, state, and local policies on the nuclear workforce. The event addressed the question of how the nuclear sector can become a more supportive work environment and accommodate aspects like identity or disability that make us different and human.

The webinar, DIA Roundtable: The Impact of National, State, and Local Policies on the Nuclear Workforce, is open to all users.

2023 Utility Working Conference: Nuclear and the future of resiliency

August 30, 2023, 8:33AMNuclear News

At the 2023 Utility Working Conference, held August 6–9 on Marco Island in Florida, the second day’s plenary opened with a panel session featuring five nuclear industry executives who discussed the future of nuclear energy and its resiliency in a low-carbon world. Speakers included Tim Rausch, executive vice president and chief nuclear officer with the Tennessee Valley Authority, Robert Schuetz, chief executive officer of Energy Northwest, Sean Sexstone, executive vice president of advanced nuclear at GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, and Pierre Paul Oneid, senior vice president and chief nuclear officer of Holtec International.

Oklo, Centrus reach understanding on fuel, components, and power procurement

August 29, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
The site in Piketon, Ohio, where Oklo plans to deploy two microreactors under an agreement with Southern Ohio Diversification Initiative. (Photo: Oklo)

Oklo Inc. and Centrus Energy announced a new memorandum of understanding on August 28 to support the deployment of Oklo’s microreactor design, dubbed Aurora, near the Piketon, Ohio, site where Centrus plans to operate a high-assay, low-enriched uranium (HALEU) enrichment demonstration under contract to the Department of Energy by the end of the year.

Court shuts down Diablo Canyon shutdown effort

August 29, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. (Photo: PG&E)

A California court has dismissed a lawsuit brought in April by Friends of the Earth (FOE), an inveterate enemy of nuclear power, to derail last year’s state-supported plan to keep the two-unit Diablo Canyon plant running past 2025.

NN Asks: How are universities approaching nuclear workforce issues?

August 29, 2023, 7:01AMNuclear NewsJohn Mobley IV

John Mobley IV

With the release of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pathways to Commercial Liftoff: Advanced Nuclear report this past March, there have been considerable discussions as to the multifaceted roles and responsibilities of universities in this epoch of renewed interest in nuclear energy. In particular, the imperative of securing an estimated 375,000 additional individuals for the construction and operation of 200 gigawatts of advanced nuclear reactors by 2050 is a significant endeavor that is front of mind for educational practitioners and policymakers. An understanding that the challenges in meeting the projected workforce needs of the nuclear community rely on dynamic, responsive, and innovative solutions thus is contingent on enhanced recruitment, retention, and development. To this point, a threefold approach of (1) IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity, accessibility) initiatives, (2) AGI (academia-government-industry) partnerships, and (3) gap analysis offers a promising avenue for addressing these issues.

GAO: NRC needs to do more to prepare for advanced reactor licensing

August 28, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News

A Government Accountability Office report released last week on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s preparedness to review and approve advanced reactor applications finds—to scant surprise from nuclear advocates—room for improvement.

The 48-page report, Nuclear Power: NRC Needs to Take Additional Actions to Prepare to License Advanced Reactors, had been requested in February 2022 by two prominent Capitol Hill supporters of the technology—Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R., W.Va.), ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wash.), chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Project Pele in context: An update on the DOD’s microreactor plans

August 28, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News

Deploying microreactor technology for military applications could have huge impacts on logistics and reliability for the military of the future, and on the commercial use of similar technologies. That’s why the Department of Defense is developing Project Pele—a high-temperature, gas-cooled and TRISO-fueled microreactor, transportable within mobile shipping containers—for testing at Idaho National Laboratory in 2025.