New Miss Wisconsin is nuclear energy advocate

June 27, 2022, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Nuclear energy will have an unusually prominent platform in December, when the new Miss Wisconsin, Grace Stanke, competes in the Miss America 2023 competition at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Stanke, who is a nuclear engineering student at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and an ANS student member, was crowned on June 18. For her social impact initiative speech, Stanke, expressed a desire to advocate for the use of green energy—especially nuclear energy—during her one-year reign as Miss Wisconsin.

Growing and sustaining a nuclear team

June 27, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear NewsTanya Hamilton

Tanya Hamilton

How do you grow a nuclear team? At Duke Energy, we do it by being reliable, innovative, and forward looking. Since 1967, we’ve been growing our nuclear generation to produce life-essential, carbon-free electricity for millions of customers in our communities. Safe, reliable, cost-effective nuclear generation.

Nuclear generation is an essential component of Duke Energy’s overall climate strategy, with the goal of net-zero carbon emissions from electric generation by midcentury. Net zero is achieved when greenhouse gas emissions are counterbalanced and removed from the atmosphere, achieving “climate neutrality.” Duke’s nuclear fleet produces more than 50 percent of the electricity consumed by our Carolinas customers and more than 80 percent of the carbon-free electricity generated company-wide. In 2021, our nuclear fleet matched its record capacity factor of 95.7 percent and avoided the release of 50 million tons of carbon dioxide.

Groups prod G7 to support nuclear for climate, security

June 27, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News

A group of six organizations have issued a statement to world leaders currently gathered at the G7 summit in Germany that highlights nuclear energy’s strengths in addressing the current global challenges of environmental sustainability and energy security and urges additional support.

Carbon value: Lifetime extensions of nuclear reactors could save billions in climate mitigation costs

June 24, 2022, 2:49PMNuclear NewsBeth Burmahl

On the road to achieving net-zero by midcentury, low- or no-carbon energy sources that slash carbon dioxide emissions are critical weapons. Nevertheless, the role of nuclear energy—the single largest source of carbon-free electricity—remains uncertain.

Nuclear energy, which provides 20 percent of the electricity in the United States, has been a constant, reliable, carbon-free source for nearly 50 years. But our fleet of nuclear reactors is aging, with more than half of the 92 operating reactors across 29 states at or over 40 years old—the length of the original operating licenses issued to the power plants. While some reactors have been retired prematurely, there are two options for those that remain: retire them or renew their license.

Bruce Power announces milestone in medical Lu-177 production

June 24, 2022, 12:01PMNuclear News
The new IPS installed in Bruce Power’s Unit 7 will produce Lu-177 for treating cancer. (Photo: Bruce Power)

An international collaboration between Bruce Power, Isogen (a joint venture of Kinectrics and Framatome), and ITM Isotope Technologies Munich SE, announced a milestone marking the first time that lutetium-177, a short-lived medical radioisotope, has been produced in a commercial nuclear power reactor.

Georgia Power sued by Vogtle co-owners

June 24, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
Vogtle Units 3 and 4, with Units 1 and 2 in the background. (Photo: Georgia Power)

Both Oglethorpe Power Corporation and the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG), two co-owners of the Vogtle nuclear plant, have filed lawsuits against Southern Company subsidiary Georgia Power, the facility’s primary owner.

Oglethorpe and MEAG are 30 percent and 22.7 percent owners, respectively, of Vogtle. Georgia Power holds a 45.7 percent share. (Dalton Utilities, which owns 1.6 percent of the plant, is not involved in the suits.)

FPL files report, asks NRC to reinstate Turkey Point’s 20-year subsequent renewal term

June 24, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News
Turkey Point nuclear plant. (Image: FPL)

Florida Power & Light (FPL) has submitted a supplemental environmental report to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in support of the subsequent renewed licenses for Turkey Point Units 3 and 4. According to a June 22 NRC press release, FPL’s report was submitted on June 10 to satisfy a “deficiency” in subsequent license renewal applications (SLRA) that rely on the generic environmental impact statement (GEIS) on license renewal and is being reviewed prior to docketing. William D. Maher, director of nuclear licensing projects at FPL, submitted the report, noting that “FPL’s review did not identify any information materially changing the impact assessments” in the NRC’s supplemental GEIS for the Turkey Point licenses.

Nuclear museum to host virtual event on gay Manhattan Project scientist

June 23, 2022, 3:03PMANS Nuclear Cafe

John Ibson

In an era where being openly gay could get you blacklisted, how was one scientist able to keep his high-security clearance level with the Manhattan Project and beyond? To find out, attend the virtual event “A ‘Lavender Lad’ with a Security Clearance: A Gay Scientist and Homophobia in Midcentury America” on June 24 at 4:00 p.m. (EDT). The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History is sponsoring the event and the featured speaker is John Ibson, professor emeritus of American studies at California State University–Fullerton.

The webinar, which requires advance registration, is free for members of the museum. Members can obtain a promo code by emailing the museum’s membership associate, Jennifer Thompson. For others, the registration fee is $10.

Orano, TerraPower get vouchers to study LEU+ transport and chlorine chemistry

June 23, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
A rendering of the MCRE. (Image: Southern Company)

The Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) awarded vouchers to Orano Federal Services and TerraPower on June 22, giving them access to specialized facilities and expertise at Department of Energy national laboratories. Orano is partnering with Oak Ridge National Laboratory on a new technical study that updates the physical chemistry limits for the safe transport of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas enriched up to 10 percent in existing shipping containers, and TerraPower is turning to Los Alamos National Laboratory’s neutron testing capabilities to measure the properties of chlorine isotopes and determine how they will behave in the Molten Chloride Reactor Experiment (MCRE).

U.S. Supreme Court rules against Hanford workers’ comp law

June 23, 2022, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
An aerial view of Hanford’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant in 2021. (Photo: Bechtel National)

The U.S. Supreme Court on June 21 struck down a Washington state workers’ compensation law that was designed to make it easier for workers at the Department of Energy’s Hanford Site to receive compensation benefits. The court, by unanimous decision, found that the law violates the U.S. Supremacy Clause and discriminates against the federal government and its contractors.

Located near Richland, Wash., the Hanford Site produced plutonium for the U.S. weapons program for more than 40 years and is currently undergoing a massive radiological cleanup mission involving around 10,000 workers.

U.K. fusion energy projects get regulatory clarity to speed deployment

June 23, 2022, 7:01AMNuclear News
The Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP), shown here, is a government-backed prototype fusion energy plant planned for operation in the U.K. in the early 2040s. (Image: UKAEA)

Future fusion energy facilities will continue to be regulated by the Environment Agency (EA) and Health & Safety Executive (HSE), the U.K. government announced June 20, and existing law on nuclear regulations will be amended to exclude fusion energy facilities from nuclear fission regulatory and licensing requirements. The move was announced by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) with the expectation it would provide “clarity to developers of prototype/demonstration fusion facilities currently being planned to support rapid commercialization.”

House Appropriations panel approves $56 billion energy spending bill

June 22, 2022, 3:01PMNuclear News

A draft fiscal year 2023 Energy and Water Development bill, released Monday by the House Appropriations Committee, received the imprimatur of the Energy and Water Development (EWD) Subcommittee yesterday and now moves to the full committee for consideration.

The measure, totaling $56.275 billion—$3.4 billion more than the FY 2022 enacted level—includes funding for the Department of Energy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, and a number of independent agencies, including the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Nuclear power’s moonshot: Three teams have one year to design a lunar power reactor

June 22, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
A conceptual illustration of a fission surface power system. (Image: NASA)

Three teams have been picked to design a fission surface power system that NASA could deploy on the moon by the end of the decade, NASA and Idaho National Laboratory announced today. A fission surface power project sponsored by NASA in collaboration with the Department of Energy and INL is targeting the demonstration of a 40-kWe reactor built to operate for at least 10 years on the moon, enabling lunar exploration under NASA’s Artemis program. Twelve-month contracts valued at $5 million each are going to Lockheed Martin (partnered with BWX Technologies and Creare), Westinghouse (partnered with Aerojet Rocketdyne), and IX (a joint venture of Intuitive Machines and X-energy, partnered with Maxar and Boeing).

Tuberville’s legislation would stop destruction of thorium stockpiles

June 22, 2022, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe
Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama.

Legislation known as the Thorium Energy Security Act, introduced in Congress last month by U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R., Ala.), would put a halt to the destruction of U.S. stockpiles of uranium-233 and instead would foster its integration into the development of thorium molten salt–cooled reactors, Newsweek reported last week. The act has been referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

CAST awarded WIPP transportation contract

June 21, 2022, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
A CAST Specialty Transportation truck loaded with TRUPACT-II shipping containers at WIPP. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) has awarded CAST Specialty Transportation a contract to provide transportation services for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, the DOE’s repository for defense-generated transuranic (TRU) waste near Carlsbad, N.M.

Barakah-3 license issued; fuel loading starts

June 21, 2022, 12:01PMNuclear News
Barakah-3 (Photo: Nawah Energy Company)

The United Arab Emirates’ Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) has issued the operating license for the Barakah nuclear plant’s Unit 3 reactor, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation announced yesterday. In addition, following receipt of the license, ENEC subsidiary Nawah Energy Company began the process of loading fuel assemblies into the unit, according to the announcement.

To aid Diablo Canyon, feds propose changes to nuclear credit program

June 21, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy has issued a proposed guidance amendment for its $6 billion Civil Nuclear Credit (CNC) Program in response to a letter last month from California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration suggesting “a few minor adjustments” to the program’s guidance to address “the unique circumstances” of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. (Previously a supporter of the premature 2025 closure of the Avila Beach, Calif., facility, Newsom told the Los Angeles Times in late April that his office would look into using the CNC Program to keep the plant in operation beyond its scheduled closure date, citing climate change and the threat of power shortages in the state.)

The ATR will test thorium-HALEU fuel pellets: What’s involved?

June 21, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News
(Photo: Clean Core Thorium Energy)

The Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) at Idaho National Laboratory will soon be irradiating fuel pellets containing thorium and high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) developed by Clean Core Thorium Energy for use in pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs). Clean Core announced on June 14 that it will proceed with irradiation testing and qualification under an agreement with the Department of Energy; the plans have been in the works since at least 2020, when the DOE filed a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) disclosure for the work.

Olkiluoto-3 start pushed to end of year

June 20, 2022, 3:05PMNuclear News
Finland’s Olkiluoto-3. (Photo: TVO)

Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO), owner and operator of Finland’s Olkiluoto nuclear power plant, has announced a further delay to the start of regular electricity generation at Unit 3. Commercial operation is now projected to begin this December, rather than the previously announced September. A report from Reuters puts the date at December 10.

According to TVO, material that had detached from the steam guide plates was found in the turbine’s steam reheater last month, requiring inspection and repair work.