Two EU reports on nuclear sustainability not entirely on same page

July 7, 2021, 1:00PMNuclear News
The headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium.

Two reports submitted last week to the European Commission to help it decide whether to include nuclear energy in the “EU taxonomy”—a classification system establishing a list of environmentally sustainable economic activities for the European Union—could end up prolonging the decision-making process, as the reports are not in full agreement on the matter.

Basic fusion research accelerates with infusion of DOE funds

July 7, 2021, 9:28AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy’s Office of Science has named seven companies as the recipients of cost-shared funding granted through the Innovation Network for Fusion Energy (INFUSE). A total of $2.1 million in first-round fiscal year 2021 funding was awarded on July 1 across nine collaborative projects between DOE national laboratories and private industry aimed at overcoming challenges in fusion energy development.

Geologists study Ignace, Ontario, as potential site for deep geologic repository

July 7, 2021, 7:17AMRadwaste Solutions
NWMO geologists study rock formations in the Ignace area of Ontario, Canada.

Canada’s Nuclear Waste Management Organization is studying the geology of the Ignace, Ontario, area to confirm its suitability as a site for a deep geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. Ignace is one of two areas the NWMO is investigating as possible host sites for a repository, with South Bruce, Ontario, being the second area.

NRC discontinues consideration of 40-year license renewals

July 6, 2021, 9:34AMNuclear News
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission headquarters (photo: U.S. NRC)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has halted efforts to consider allowing U.S. nuclear power plant owners to request 40-year license renewals for their facilities, the agency announced on Facebook and Twitter on July 2. Currently, the maximum potential operating lifespan for a plant is 80 years: 40 years with the original license, 20 more with an initial license renewal, and another 20 with a second renewal.

Nuclear power as the missing piece of the climate change solution

July 6, 2021, 7:08AMANS Nuclear Cafe
(Image: CNET)

Dietmar Detering, a German entrepreneur and cochair of the advocacy organization Nuclear New York, believes nuclear energy could be the key to solving the climate crisis. He's part of a wave of environmentalists campaigning for more nuclear energy, an idea explored by CNET in the July 1 article, Is nuclear power the missing piece of our climate change puzzle?

A critical shift in low-dose radiation research and communication

July 2, 2021, 2:15PMNuclear NewsSusan Gallier
A hot cell at Argonne National Laboratory was used to demonstrate a process for purifying molybdenum-99, an important diagnostic medical isotope. (Photo: Wes Agresta/ANL)

The biggest impact of radiation in our lives may come not from radiation itself, but from regulations and guidelines intended to control exposures to man-made sources that represent a small fraction of the natural radiation around us.

NRC to consider GE Hitachi’s application to renew the Morris ISFSI license

July 2, 2021, 12:07PMRadwaste Solutions
Aerial view of the Morris Operation in Illinois. (Image: GE Hitachi)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has begun its review of GE Hitachi’s application to renew the license of its Morris Operation, the spent nuclear fuel storage facility in Grundy County, Ill. Notice of the 20-year license renewal application, along with an opportunity to request a hearing or petition for leave to intervene by August 30 was published in the June 30 Federal Register.

Decommissioning of Fort Greely reactor to begin in 2022

July 2, 2021, 7:05AMRadwaste Solutions
Col. John Litz, of the USACE Baltimore District, examines the containment vessel door of the SM-1A deactivated nuclear power plant during a site visit in April 2019.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is set to begin decommissioning SM-1A, the mothballed nuclear power reactor at Fort Greely, in Alaska, beginning next year, a project that is expected to take approximately six years. The USACE said it expects to release a request for proposals soliciting contractor bids for the decommissioning and dismantlement project by late summer.

Argonne celebrates 75 years that began with a nuclear mission

July 1, 2021, 3:05PMNuclear News
Argonne marks its 75th anniversary on July 1. (Image: Argonne)

Seventy-five years ago today, on July 1, 1946, the first U.S. national laboratory was chartered with the singular mission of developing the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Now, the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory is one of the nation’s largest science laboratories, working on diverse challenges in energy, climate, science, medicine, and national security.

Autonomous operation of small reactors: Economy of automation in lieu of economy of scale

July 1, 2021, 12:01PMNuclear NewsRichard Wood

Wood

As indicated in the April issue of Nuclear News, development of advanced reactor concepts heavily emphasizes small modular reactors and microreactors. Promised features, such as capital cost savings, plant system simplification, implementation flexibility, and favorable operational responsiveness with passive safety behavior, all promote small reactors as desirable, non-­­carbon-­­emitting power sources to help satisfy future energy needs. In spite of the favorable up-­­front economics compared to large nuclear reactors, SMRs and microreactors do not provide the benefit of economy of scale that typically compensates for the high staffing demands associated with traditional, labor-intensive operations and maintenance (O&M) practices in the nuclear industry. To avoid the prospect that high staffing levels relative to unit power production will lead to unsustainable O&M costs for small reactors, a significantly higher degree of automation, to the point of near autonomy, is necessary. Essentially, the economy of automation is needed to offset the loss of economy of scale.

EDF and ENEC to partner on nuclear R&D

July 1, 2021, 9:34AMNuclear News
Laurent Clement, EDF Middle East chief executive officer (seated, left), and Ahmed Al Mazrouei, ENEC vice president of R&D (seated, right), sign a letter of intent on June 30 to cooperate on nuclear R&D. Looking on are Hervé Maillart, head coordinator of the French nuclear industry at EDF (left), and ENEC CEO Mohamed Al Hammadi. (Photo: ENEC)

Électricité de France has signed a letter of intent with the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation to develop a memorandum of understanding for cooperation on research and development in the nuclear energy sector.

Unit 5 construction begins at Kudankulam

July 1, 2021, 7:03AMNuclear News
India’s Kudankulam plant, during the June 29 Unit 5 construction launch ceremony. Photo: Rosatom

Work on the third phase of the multi-reactor project at India’s Kudankulam nuclear power plant formally commenced earlier this week with the first pouring of concrete into the foundation plate of the Unit 5 reactor building.

ANS to Congress: Don’t prohibit civil nuclear cooperation with China

June 30, 2021, 3:00PMANS News

The American Nuclear Society sent a letter this morning to the chairman and the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, urging them to oppose any amendments to H.R. 3524, the Ensuring American Global Leadership and Engagement Act, that would disallow U.S. cooperation with China in the field of civil nuclear energy.

The bill, introduced on May 25 by the Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D., N.Y.), was scheduled for markup by the committee this afternoon at 1:00 (EDT).

U of Illinois plans to integrate research and power with advanced microreactor

June 30, 2021, 12:18PMNuclear News
A rendering of Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation’s micro modular reactor as proposed for construction on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus. (Graphic: USNC)

The U.S. state with more nuclear power plants than any other—Illinois—has no operating university research reactors. A team at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) intends to reverse that situation and construct a high-temperature gas-cooled microreactor. If the team's plans go ahead, the first new U.S. university research reactor deployment in about 30 years could also support commercial advanced reactor deployment.

Featured speakers announced for upcoming UWC

June 30, 2021, 9:29AMANS News
Featured speakers: From left, Elnitsky, Tsipursky, Baranwal, and Cullen.

Attend the 2021 ANS Utility Working Conference and Vendor Technology Expo, being held August 8–11 in Marco Island, Fla., and hear from some of the leading executives in the nuclear energy field.

Registration details: Register now for the UWC. Sign up by July 15 to save $150. Members save an additional $200. Not a member? Join today.

ISO deems Savannah River’s environmental program ‘robust’

June 30, 2021, 7:18AMRadwaste Solutions
From left, SRNS mechanic Todd Cockrell, engineer John Bradley, and project manager Joao Cardoso-Neto plan the removal of a vapor extraction unit at the Savannah River Site. (Photo: DOE)

Department of Energy site contractors Savannah River Nuclear Solutions and Savannah River Remediation received high marks from a recent independent audit of their environmental management work at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.

PSEG quickens pace to net zero

June 29, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News
The Hope Creek nuclear power plant

New Jersey’s Public Service Enterprise Group has announced its intention to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030, shaving two decades off its previously announced target date of 2050. PSEG is owner of the Hope Creek nuclear plant and is co-owner, with Exelon, of the Salem plant.