Granholm makes first visit to Idaho National Laboratory

August 4, 2022, 11:55AMNuclear News
Pictured during a tour of the EBR-II site are, from left, Robert Boston, DOE-ID manager; Rep. Mike Simpson (R., Idaho); Secretary Granholm; Director Wagner; and Marianne Walck, INL deputy laboratory director for science and technology. (Photo: INL)

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm visited Idaho National Laboratory on August 3 to meet with INL staff, including director John Wagner, as she toured key research facilities on INL’s 890-square-mile site and the lab’s campus in Idaho Falls.

NRC okays fuel loading at new Vogtle unit

August 4, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
Unit 3 at the Vogtle site in July 2022. (Photo: Georgia Power)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has authorized Vogtle plant operator Southern Nuclear to load fuel and begin operation at Unit 3—the first reactor to reach this point in the agency’s combined license process. (Prior to 1989, reactors were licensed under a two-step process, requiring both a construction permit and an operating license.)

Atomic Testing Museum opens new exhibit highlighting DOE cleanup work

August 4, 2022, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions
A contamination suit provided by the EM Nevada Program is on display in the new exhibit at the National Atomic Testing Museum. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) celebrated the opening of a new exhibit at the National Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas during a ceremony on August 2.

Created through a partnership between EM and the museum, the permanent exhibit, “Beyond the Manhattan Project: Cleaning up the Legacy of America’s Nuclear Defense and Research Missions,” offers a visual display of EM’s critical work to clean up sites across the country impacted by five decades of nuclear weapons production and government-sponsored nuclear energy research.

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NRC returns to full strength with Caputo, Crowell confirmations

August 3, 2022, 3:06PMNuclear News

Crowell

Caputo

The Senate last evening confirmed by voice vote Annie Caputo and Bradley R. Crowell to seats on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, returning the agency to its full, five-member complement. Caputo’s term expires in June 2026, Crowell’s in June 2027.

Nominated by President Biden in May to serve on the commission, Caputo and Crowell appeared before the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee on June 8 to field questions. On July 27, the EPW Committee unanimously approved both and sent their nominations to the Senate floor.

TikTok nuclear professor takes on new tasks

August 3, 2022, 12:24PMANS News

Hayes

Robert Hayes, the person behind a popular social media account defending nuclear energy to the masses, was named to a joint faculty position by Savannah River National Laboratory and North Carolina State University on August 1.

“Dr. Hayes will help develop and execute SRNL’s vision to advance nonproliferation and global security stewardship by expanding knowledge of and applications in sensing, characterizing, assessing, and deterring nuclear proliferation,” said Tammy Taylor, associate laboratory director for global security. Taylor explained that Hayes will conduct collaborative research to address key gaps identified in the strategic vision for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, while helping develop the workforce that will support future NNSA and national security organization mission needs.

The American Nuclear Society welcomes Senate confirmations of NRC nominees Caputo and Crowell

August 3, 2022, 9:20AMPress Releases

Statement from American Nuclear Society President Steven Arndt and Executive Director and CEO Craig Piercy:

“The American Nuclear Society applauds the Senate for restoring the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to five commissioners with the confirmations of Annie Caputo and Bradley Crowell.

The American Nuclear Society calls for removal of Russian missiles from Ukraine nuclear power plant

August 3, 2022, 7:01AMPress Releases

Statement from American Nuclear Society President Steven Arndt:

"As an organization dedicated to the use of nuclear technology for the societal good, the American Nuclear Society opposes the misuse of nuclear power plants as shields for military operations.

NIST gets confirmatory order 18 months after research reactor fuel failure

August 3, 2022, 7:01AMNuclear News
NIST's Center for Neutron Research in suburban Gaithersburg, Md. (Photo: NIST)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced on August 2 that it had issued a confirmatory order to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for violating NRC requirements during a February 2021 fuel failure at the 20-MWt NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR) research reactor in Gaithersburg, Md. NIST committed to improving its training for fuel handing procedures and related management activities, safety culture program, reactor facility operations staff and management, corrective action program and operational procedures, and emergency response resources and procedures, among other things.

Last Energy signs up for SMR project in Polish industrial zone

August 2, 2022, 2:56PMNuclear News
Signing the letter of agreement, from the left, are Damian Jamroz, Last Energy Polska general manager; Ryszard Wawryniewicz, LSSE vice president; Piotr Danielski, DB Energy vice president; and Dominik Brach, DB Energy CEO. (Photo: LSSE)

Last Energy, a Washington, D.C.–based small modular reactor startup, has signed a letter of intent with Poland’s Legnica Special Economic Zone (LSSE) and DB Energy for a power plant featuring 10 small modular reactors with 200 MWe of capacity to fuel the region’s industrial activities. (Established in 1997, the LSSE covers 18 subzones located in the central part of southwestern Poland’s Dolnośląskie Province and is home to more than 75 companies providing some 16,000 jobs.)

New bill calls for improvements in NRC oversight practices

August 2, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

Lesko

Rep. Debbie Lesko (R., Ariz.) last week introduced legislation to require the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to assess its nuclear power plant oversight and inspection practices and to implement improvements.

According to a press release from Lesko’s office, the bill—the Advancing Nuclear Regulatory Oversight Act—directs the NRC to report to Congress any policies that it revised or suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic and how these changes impacted the agency’s ability to conduct its oversight duties. In addition, the measure requires the NRC to submit a report identifying improvements to its oversight and inspection programs to maximize efficiency without compromising safety.

The United States Navy: The unsung heroes of nuclear power

August 2, 2022, 7:02AMNuclear NewsJames Conca
America’s nuclear navy presently has 86 nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers. All of them, and their predecessors over the last 60 years, have performed flawlessly, protecting America as well as their crews. Here, the nuclear submarine USS Seawolf leads the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz and the conventionally powered Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer JS Oonami DD 111 during exercises in 2009. (Photo: United States Navy)

Just this last April, President Biden officially commissioned the USS Delaware, a new Virginia-­class nuclear attack submarine, the 18th built in that class and the eighth and final Block III Virginia-­class submarine. (The Delaware was administratively commissioned in April 2020, but the COVID-­19 pandemic caused delay of the ceremony for two years.)

NRC to issue rule certifying NuScale design

August 1, 2022, 12:23PMNuclear News
An artist's rendering of the NuScale plant. (Image: NuScale Power)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has directed its staff to issue a final rule certifying NuScale Power’s small modular reactor design for use in the United States, the agency announced last Friday.

Certification of the Portland, Ore.–based SMR developer’s design will become effective 30 days after publication of the rule in the Federal Register. The design will be incorporated as Appendix G to 10 CFR Part 52, Licenses, Certifications, and Approvals for Nuclear Power Plants.

GOP congressmen criticize Democrats for stalling nuclear innovation

August 1, 2022, 9:31AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Donalds

Duncan

Two Republican congressmen have penned an op-ed for The Hill in which they criticize the Biden administration for offering Americans “a false and misleading choice” between a clean environment or a strong economy, such as with administration policies prioritizing renewable energy sources. Representatives Jeff Duncan (S.C.) and Byron Donalds (Fla.) argue that a greater emphasis on nuclear innovation is needed “to ensure a reliable electricity supply and reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, while fostering our national, economic, and energy security interests.”

DOE’s legal authority to sell depleted uranium uncertain, GAO says

August 1, 2022, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
A DUF6 storage cylinder is moved at the Portsmouth DUF6 conversion facility. (Photo: DOE)

The Government Accountability Office is recommending that Congress clarify the Department of Energy’s legal authority to sell depleted uranium hexafluoride (DUF6) left over from uranium enrichment operations at the department’s Portsmouth Site in Ohio and the Paducah Site in Kentucky.

Floating nuclear power plants

July 29, 2022, 3:25PMNuclear NewsMichael Golay, Jacopo Buongiorno, and Neil Todreas
The offshore plant combines two mature technologies: the floating rig and the nuclear reactor.

In recent years, the rate of building new nuclear power plants has slowed internationally except in some rapidly developing countries. In Western countries that have considerable experience with nuclear power, completion of new projects on time and on budget has become more difficult. Shipyard-fabricated plants may offer a new direction for meeting international needs and responding to requirements for better cost control and safety. In this article we offer an overview of the floating nuclear power plant concept, including experience with it to date and its key engineering and strategic features, along with related uncertainties and needed conditions for future projects to be successful.

Savannah River rebuilds its liquid waste equipment

July 29, 2022, 1:11PMRadwaste Solutions
A worker replaces a manipulator arm at the Savannah River’s SWPF. (Photo: DOE)

Savannah River Mission Completion (SRMC), the radioactive liquid waste contractor at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site, is optimizing some equipment maintenance at the Salt Waste Processing Facility (SWPF). The facility traditionally uses centrifugal contactors in the solvent extraction process, and its laboratory uses manipulators to handle process samples and equipment within its radioactive cell. The equipment requires periodic maintenance and rebuilding.

House sends chip production and scientific R&D bill to Biden

July 29, 2022, 8:55AMNuclear News
The U.S. Capitol. Photo: Wikimedia commons.

In a 243–187 vote, the House of Representatives yesterday passed the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, a $280 billion economic competitiveness package aimed at bolstering U.S. semiconductor manufacturing, as well as scientific research and development, including nuclear energy R&D.

Small and Advanced Reactors with Diverse Fuel Cycles Can Deliver Energy Security

July 29, 2022, 7:08AMNuclear News

Nuclear energy offers a pairing of high capacity factors and low carbon emissions unrivaled by other power sources, and advanced reactors and small modular reactors (SMRs) hold promise to deliver that power with even more efficiency and versatility. Researchers in the public and private sectors, backed by government funding through programs like the Department of Energy’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program and Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E), are bringing that promise closer to fulfillment by engineering solutions to open questions about advanced reactor materials and fuel cycles.