More nuclear a good choice for U.K., but costs must fall, report says

A report published last week by Energy Systems Catapult, a U.K.-based clean energy nonprofit, concludes that adding double-digit gigawatts of new nuclear is a “low-regrets option” for the United Kingdom as it strives to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. (Legislation establishing the 2050 target date was signed in June of last year, making the United Kingdom the first of the world’s major economic powers to take that step.) The report also stresses, however, that costs for new nuclear must decrease significantly for the technology to meet its potential.

NextEra sets Duane Arnold D&D at $1 billion

Duane Arnold is to shut down in October. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/AsNuke

NextEra Energy is estimating that it will cost just over $1 billion to decommission its Duane Arnold Energy Center over a period of 60 years, including spent fuel management and site restoration costs, according to a post-shutdown decommissioning activities report (PSDAR) and a decommissioning cost estimate the company submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in April. The NRC, with publication in the June 19 Federal Register, is requesting comments on the Duane Arnold PSDAR until October 19.

Making the case for advanced reactors in Puerto Rico

The ANS Young Members Group and the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) on June 18 presented a webinar on the rapidly developing prospects for advanced nuclear in Puerto Rico. Behind those bright prospects is the Nuclear Alternative Project (NAP), which led a Department of Energy–funded study on the feasibility of using small advanced reactors to meet the island’s power needs.

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DOE awards $350-million contract for Nevada site cleanup

Oak Ridge, Tenn.–based Navarro Research and Engineering has been awarded a 10-year environmental program services contract worth up to $350 million for cleanup services at the Nevada National Security Site, the Department of Energy announced on June 17. The new contract replaces the current NNSS cleanup contract, also held by Navarro Research and Engineering, which expires on July 31.

U.S., Poland to talk nuclear later this week

Duda

Energy, including nuclear energy, will be among the topics discussed at a June 24 meeting in Washington between President Donald Trump and Polish President Andrzej Duda, according to remarks by Duda at a June 18 news conference. “We will definitely talk about cooperation between Polish companies and Polish authorities, and companies and authorities from the United States, over conventional nuclear energy and its use,” he said. The meeting will take place just days before Poland’s June 28 presidential election.

Rosatom, Framatome, and GE partner on proposed Bulgarian nuclear plant

Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned atomic energy corporation, announced on June 18 that it has teamed up with France’s Framatome and General Electric’s GE Steam Power to participate in a tender to construct the Belene nuclear plant in northern Bulgaria. The Belene project would involve the construction of two AES-92 units, similar to the reactors that Rosatom supplied to India.

Piercy discusses wide-ranging topics on Titans of Nuclear podcast

ANS Executive Director/CEO Craig Piercy was a recent guest on the Titans of Nuclear podcast, hosted by Bret Kugelmass. The podcasts feature interviews with experts throughout the nuclear community, covering advanced technology, economics, policy, industry, and more.

The wide-ranging discussion with Piercy tackled diverse subjects—from his Washington, D.C., policymaking background, to ANS’s role in addressing challenging nuclear issues, to waste management and climate change.

State drops objections to Pilgrim’s license transfer

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced on June 17 that the state has agreed to withdraw its petitions with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission against the transfer of Pilgrim’s license to Holtec International for decommissioning. The settlement agreement, signed between Massachusetts and Holtec subsidiaries Holtec Pilgrim and Holtec Decommissioning International (HDI), also resolves two lawsuits the state filed to challenge the NRC’s approval of the license transfer application as well as several administrative challenges Holtec filed to contest conditions in the January 2020 state water permit for the plant.

In return, Holtec has agreed to provide additional decommissioning trust fund obligations along with stricter radiological cleanup limits and additional site monitoring and oversight.

UWC Virtual Summit follows the successful ANS Virtual Annual Meeting

ANS is celebrating the success of its first Virtual Annual Meeting, which drew a record 2,346 registered attendees.

On the heels of that success, ANS has announced that the Utility Working Conference (UWC) will also be converted to a virtual event in 2020. The one-day UWC Virtual Summit, titled, “It’s Go Time: Creating Momentum Toward Transformational Change,” will be held August 11.

Nominations now being accepted for 2020 ANS Winter Meeting awards

For more than 50 years, the ANS Honors and Awards Program has recognized outstanding achievements and meritorious service in the various fields served by our Society.

The recipients of the national awards listed below will be honored on November 16 during the opening plenary of the ANS Winter Meeting. Honorees will be notified of their selection by October.

Feature Article

Utilities Service Alliance’s Material Cost Reduction project

The Utilities Service Alliance’s organizational banners.

The Utilities Service Alliance (USA) was founded in 1996. Current membership stretches from coast-to-coast and includes eight utilities and nine nuclear stations: Energy Northwest, Columbia; Luminant, Comanche Peak; Indiana Michigan Power Company, Cook; Nebraska Public Power District, Cooper; DTE Energy, Fermi; Xcel Energy, Monticello and Prairie Island; STP Nuclear Operating Company, South Texas Project; and Talen Energy, Susquehanna. These plants represent 14 reactors (six boiling water reactors and eight pressurized water reactors) and more than 15,000 MWe of generation.

The USA Material Cost Reduction (MCR) project kicked off in January 2017. The Nuclear Energy Institute’s Delivering the Nuclear Promise initiative was in full swing as the utilities’ chief nuclear officers created multiple focus areas for cost reductions at the plants.

Aurora’s docketing marks dawn for advanced reactor licensing

Artist’s conception of Oklo’s Aurora. (Image: Gensler)

Oklo's 1.5-MWe fast spectrum design known as Aurora is the first advanced non–light-water reactor to be accepted for a licensing review by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Both the reactor’s design and the anticipated licensing process mark a major departure from large light-water reactor design and licensing.

ONR: Improvement needed at Heysham 1

The United Kingdom’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) issued an improvement notice to EDF Energy Nuclear Generation Ltd. earlier this month for a problem involving the pressure systems safety regulations (PSSR) at the two-unit Heysham 1 nuclear power station. The notice was served following an inspection of the Unit 1 pressure vessel at the Lancashire site.

NRC to host webinar on Holtec’s storage site application

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold a webinar on June 23 to discuss Holtec International’s license application to build and operate a consolidated interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel and greater-than-Class C waste in southeastern New Mexico.