During the week-long mission, the IAEA team is carrying out practical NDT training with specialized equipment. (Photo: Abel Domato/BAC)
In the aftermath of a devastating explosion in the port of Beirut, Lebanon, in August 2020, an International Atomic Energy Agency team visited the country at the government’s request and found no evidence of artificial radionuclides and no increase in radiation levels. The powerful blast, which was caused by an explosion of improperly stored ammonium nitrate, killed more than 200 people and leveled numerous buildings while leaving other buildings standing with possible structural damage. The IAEA recently announced that a different team of experts has traveled to Lebanon with a new mission: to assist the nation in the use of non-destructive testing (NDT) to check the structural soundness of buildings that were impacted by the explosion.
A graphic representation of the tendons encircling the San Onofre containment domes. (Image: SCE)
A nearly yearlong effort to de-tension and remove more than 400 steel cables, known as tendons, from the two containment domes of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) was recently completed, with only one minor first aid incident recorded, according to Southern California Edison.
Energy Harbor’s Beaver Valley nuclear plant in Shippingport, Pa.
In an action that could make Pennsylvania’s nuclear plants more cost-competitive in power markets, the state’s Independent Regulatory Review Commission has approved a regulation that would allow Pennsylvania to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cooperative effort of Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states designed to cap and reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuel–fired power plants.
An aerial view of the Hanford reservation and Columbia River that shows the N (nearest), KE/KW (center), and B (top right) reactors. (Photo: U.S. DOE )
In March 1972, Stephen Hanauer, a technical advisor with the Atomic Energy Commission, met with Norman Rasmussen, a nuclear engineering professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The AEC had recruited Rasmussen to develop a report, The Reactor Safety Study (WASH-1400), to estimate the probabilities and consequences of a major nuclear power plant accident. With thousands of safety components in a modern reactor, the task was mind-boggling. Rasmussen proposed a novel approach based on more powerful computers, “fault tree” methodology, and an expanding body of operational data. By calculating and aggregating probabilities for innumerable failure chains of components, he believed he could develop a meaningful estimate of overall accident risk. WASH-1400 would be a first-of-its-kind probabilistic risk assessment (PRA).
The Byron (left) and Dresden generating stations.
Exelon’s Byron nuclear plant will be permanently shuttered in 10 days unless the Illinois House of Representatives passes the clean energy bill approved by the state’s Senate on September 1. And as the lower chamber is expected to convene for a special session sometime next week to consider the measure, ANS is encouraging members of Illinois’s nuclear community to make their position on the matter clear via ANS engage.
A NuScale representative conducts training on the nuclear power plant control room simulator for students and faculty at CAES. (Photo: CAES)
The Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES) has announced the opening of the Small Modular Reactor Simulator Laboratory, featuring NuScale Power’s Energy Exploration Center, at its headquarters in Idaho Falls, Idaho. The new lab will increase CAES’s capabilities to train future scientists, engineers, and members of the energy workforce and will be used to educate the public about nuclear energy and reactor technology, according to an August 31 CAES press release.
Participants in a site evaluation of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. (Photo: Steve Maheras/PNNL)
Over the past decade, the Department of Energy has been collecting data on nuclear power plants to help plan for the eventual removal of spent nuclear fuel from the sites, performing site evaluations to assess transportation infrastructure and the transportability of spent fuel.
The Dresden nuclear power plant
With essentially no time to spare, the Illinois Senate early this morning passed a clean energy omnibus package that includes $694 million in assistance to three of the state’s financially troubled nuclear plants: Braidwood, Byron, and Dresden. The vote was 39–16. (Both the Senate and House had returned to the capital on Tuesday for a one-day special session to consider legislative redistricting.)
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Quad Cities Generating Station. Image: Exelon.
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Hurricane Ida knocked out all transmission lines into New Orleans, leaving more than a million people without power. (Photo: Entergy)
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it was monitoring events at three nuclear power reactors in Louisiana and Mississippi after Hurricane Ida made landfall on August 29. With winds of 150 miles per hour, the Category 4 storm left more than 1 million people without power in the two states. Ida has since weakened to a tropical storm.
Taken from above, this photo of the subassembly tool shows the complex system of alignment units used to slowly swing two toroidal field coils (bottom left and right) into position around the vacuum vessel sector. In the background, poloidal field coil #5 sits on the floor of the Assembly Hall, awaiting installation in the assembly pit in mid-September. (Photo: ITER)
Inside the ITER Assembly Hall, aided by a 20-meter-tall sector subassembly tool known as SSAT-2, the first of nine 40-degree wedge-shaped subassemblies that will make up the device’s tokamak is taking shape. On August 30, the ITER Organization announced that all the components of the first subassembly were in place on the SSAT-2. After the wings of the subassembly tool slowly close, locking two vertical coils in place around the outside of a vacuum vessel section that is already wrapped in thermal shielding, the completed subassembly will be ready for positioning in the ITER assembly pit in late October.
The North Anna nuclear power plant. Photo: Dominion Energy
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s draft environmental impact statement on Dominion Energy’s application for a subsequent license renewal (SLR) for North Anna’s nuclear units is now open for public comment.
Vogtle-3 (left) and -4 in June. (Photo: Georgia Power)
Oversight of the Vogtle nuclear new-build project will be increased if the preliminary conclusions in an August 26 Nuclear Regulatory Commission special inspection report are finalized.
Conducted from June 21 to July 2, the inspection looked into the cause and extent of construction-quality issues in the safety-related electrical cable raceway system at Vogtle-3.
The TRIGA II research reactor at Slovenia’s Josef Stefan Institute. (Photo: Josef Stefan Institute)
The Berkeley, Calif.-based startup Deep Isolation has contracted with Slovenia’s radioactive waste management organization ARAO to conduct a feasibility study on the use of deep boreholes to dispose of the country’s spent research reactor fuel.