35 years later, Chernobyl continues to warn, inspire

April 26, 2021, 3:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe
The New Safe Confinement in final position over reactor 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 2017. Photo: Tim Porter

On April 26, 1986, reactor No. 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine exploded, sending radioactive material into the environment and across Europe. After 35 years, Ukrainians are looking to the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster “for inspiration, solace, and income,” according to an ABC News report.

Heavy water, light uranium: One sweet contrast

April 26, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News
Artist’s view of heavy water eliciting sweet taste in humans. Graphic design: Tomáš Bello/IOCB Prague

Is isotope science all sweetness and light? Recent headlines on research confirming the sweet taste of heavy water and the creation of the lightest isotope of uranium yet may give that impression. But the serious science behind these separate research findings has implications for human health and for the understanding of the process of alpha decay.

DOE kicks off cybersecurity plan, seeks stakeholder input

April 26, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear News

The Biden administration has launched an initiative to enhance the cybersecurity of U.S. electric utilities’ industrial control systems (ICS) and secure the nation’s energy sector supply chain, the Department of Energy announced on April 20. The 100-day plan is a coordinated effort between the DOE, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and the electricity industry.

Nuclear Power is New Jersey Power

April 25, 2021, 10:00PMNuclear NewsDylan Moon
Salem Nuclear Power Plant as photographed from Delaware Bay.

When a nuclear power plant closes, here is what happens:

Thousands of people lose their jobs. The local economy nosedives. Air pollution increases. Reliance on natural gas, often bought from out-of-state, goes up. Electricity on the grid becomes less reliable with the loss of the most reliable source of power. And electric prices can even rise.

The PRA standard for advanced non-LWRs

April 23, 2021, 2:55PMNuclear NewsKarl Fleming

The ASME/ANS Joint Committee on Nuclear Risk Management (JCNRM) has achieved a significant milestone in the advancement of probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) technology. ANSI/ASME/ANS RA-­S-­1.4–2021 [1], Probabilistic Risk Assessment Standard for Advanced Non-­Light Water Reactor Nuclear Power Plants, has been approved by the JCNRM, the ANS Standards Board, the ASME Board of Nuclear Codes and Standards, and the American Nuclear Standards Institute.

What does Earth Day mean to you?

April 23, 2021, 12:02PMANS News

ANS’s latest webinar on April 22—Earth Day—posed that question to a panel of five young leaders in the nuclear community representing a broad spectrum of environmental, social, and advocacy perspectives. The event was moderated by ANS’s Executive Director/CEO Craig Piercy, who introduced each of the five panelists and the issues they are concerned about. The panelists’ presentations were followed by an engaging Q&A portion with the audience.

The program is available for viewing online.


$163 million contract awarded for WIPP ventilation system

April 23, 2021, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
An illustration of WIPP’s Safety Significant Confinement Ventilation System, expected to be completed in 2025. Image: DOE

Nuclear Waste Partnership (NWP), the management and operations contractor for the Department of Energy’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeastern New Mexico, announced that it has awarded a subcontract valued at approximately $163 million to The Industrial Company (TIC) to complete the construction of the transuranic waste repository’s Safety Significant Confinement Ventilation System (SSCVS).

New ANS professional division officers and Executive Committee members elected

April 23, 2021, 7:01AMANS News

Listed below are the ANS professional divisions’ 2021–2022 officers and newly elected Executive Committee members. All terms begin during the 2021 ANS Virtual Annual Meeting in June. (Executive Committee members whose three-year terms are continuing are not included.)

More information about ANS’s 19 professional divisions and two working groups is available online.

NRC seeks comments on AI’s role in U.S. nuclear power fleet

April 22, 2021, 3:04PMNuclear News

As predictive analytical tools, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) show promise in improving nuclear reactor safety while offering economic savings. To get a better understanding of current usage and future trends in AI and ML in the commercial nuclear power industry, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is seeking comments from the public, the nuclear industry, and other stakeholders, as well as other interested individuals and organizations.

Divers inspect large water tanks at Hanford

April 22, 2021, 12:05PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Diver John Lehto (right) receives final instructions from Carter Thomas before entering a 300,000-gallon water tank at the Hanford Site. Lehto and Thomas are employees of Hanford Site subcontractor Associated Underwater Services. Photos: DOE EM

The Department of Energy’s Richland Operations Office contractors Central Plateau Cleanup Company (CPCCo) and Hanford Mission Integration Solutions (HMIS) teamed up recently to dive into inspection and maintenance activities at the Hanford Site in Washington state.

Project video: View this video for sights and sounds from this unique project.

A first: TRISO fuel made in Canada

April 22, 2021, 9:29AMNuclear News
Fully ceramic microencapsulated fuel. Image: USNC

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) announced last week that it has fabricated fully ceramic microencapsulated (FCM) fuel pellets, a proprietary reactor fuel designed by Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC) for its Micro Modular Reactor (MMR). The FCM project, funded through the Canadian Nuclear Research Initiative (CNRI), represents the first time that tristructural isotropic (TRISO) fuel has been manufactured in Canada, according to CNL.

ANS elects new VP/president-elect, treasurer, and Board members

April 22, 2021, 7:01AMANS News



The results are in. Steven Arndt, ANS Fellow and member since 1981, has been elected the next ANS vice president/president-elect, and W.A. “Art” Wharton III, ANS member since 2004, was elected for a second two-year term as treasurer.

Four candidates were elected to serve three-year terms as at-large members of the Board of Directors.

NuScale’s Reyes spreads word on SMRs

April 21, 2021, 3:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe


José Reyes, cofounder and chief technology officer at small modular reactor developer NuScale Power, touted the potential of the firm’s technology to help solve the nuclear industry’s cost-overrun issues in an interview yesterday with Yahoo Finance. (At up to 77 MWe gross, the NuScale Power Module is the smallest of the light-water SMRs in development.)

Speaking with journalist Akiko Fujita, Reyes, an ANS member since 1977, also touched on nuclear’s role in addressing the issue of climate change.

The eight-minute discussion is available online, along with the interview transcript.

Kurzgesagt YouTube channel asks: Do we need nuclear energy to stop climate change?

April 21, 2021, 12:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe
A screenshot from the Kurzgesagt YouTube video

The German animation studio Kurzgesagt released a new video to its English YouTube channel last week to answer the question, “Do we need nuclear energy to stop climate change?” The studio’s channel on YouTube is self-described as a small team working to make science look beautiful. Its videos discuss a variety of scientific, technological, philosophical, and psychological questions, and it has more than 14 million subscribers. The channel recently discussed the question of deaths caused by radiation—spoiler alert, nuclear is among the safest of all energy production.

Shipments of TRU waste to WIPP resume

April 21, 2021, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
Waste handlers take radiological readings as a crane lifts containers from a TRUPACT-II cask in the contact-handled waste bay at WIPP. Photo: DOE

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeastern New Mexico is once again accepting shipments and processing transuranic waste following a two-month annual maintenance outage. According to the Department of Energy, WIPP is back to accepting five waste shipments per week, with post-pandemic plans to increase shipments to 10 per week.

Deadline to apply for 2022 ANS Congressional Fellowship is May 2

April 21, 2021, 7:02AMANS News

To fulfill the strategic goal of enhancing nuclear public policy, the American Nuclear Society invites its members to apply for the Glenn T. Seaborg Congressional Science and Engineering Fellowship. Applications and supporting documents for the 2022 fellowship are due to ANS no later than 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Sunday, May 2. The one-year fellowship term begins on January 1, 2022.

Sen. Manchin urges Biden to preserve U.S. nuclear fleet

April 20, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News


Highlighting nuclear’s role in providing reliable power, reducing emissions, and addressing climate change, Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) sent a letter to President Biden, urging him to support the continued operation of the United States’ civil nuclear fleet and prevent further plant closures. Manchin, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said that preventing the closure of existing nuclear power plants is critical to achieving emission reduction goals while ensuring a reliable grid.

Another Canadian province signs on for SMR development

April 20, 2021, 9:31AMNuclear News
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney at an online event on April 14, after signing an agreement on small modular reactor development. Photo: Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has added his signature to a memorandum of understanding on small modular reactor development that was signed in 2019 by the premiers of New Brunswick, Ontario, and Saskatchewan. Kenney signed the document last week at a virtual event that also promoted the release of Feasibility of Small Modular Reactor Development and Deployment in Canada—a study formally requested as part of the MOU.

GA’s Christina Back: U.S. “absolutely needs to be in cislunar space”

April 20, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear News
Image: DARPA

The U.S. Department of Defense is aiming to demonstrate a novel nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) system above low Earth orbit by 2025. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced on April 12 that following a competitive solicitation process, it has awarded a contract to General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) for the design of the nuclear reactor that will power the Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations (DRACO). Blue Origin and Lockheed Martin will work on a parallel track to design a spacecraft tailor-made to demonstrate the NTP system.