ANS panel discussion focuses on nuclear technologies for space commercialization and exploration

August 8, 2022, 9:30AMANS News
This landscape speckled with glittering stars is the edge of a nearby, young, star-forming region called NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula. Captured in infrared light by NASA’s new James Webb Space Telescope, this image reveals for the first time previously invisible areas of star birth. (Photo: NASA)

ANS’s August 4 online event “The New Space Race is Going Nuclear” featured several expert panelists who discussed the growing importance of nuclear technologies in space commercialization and exploration. Although nuclear energy has long played a role in space missions, participants discussed the latest exciting developments in the space nuclear field and presented their views on how increased application of nuclear technologies could fundamentally transform the ways in which both crewed and uncrewed space missions are carried out.

TVA, GEH advance SMR plans for Clinch River site

August 8, 2022, 7:20AMNuclear News
Rendering of the proposed GEH Nuclear Energy BWRX-300 SMR at the Clinch River site. (Image: GE Hitachi)

The Tennessee Valley Authority and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) have signed an agreement to support planning and preliminary licensing for the potential deployment of a BWRX-300 small modular reactor at the Clinch River site near Oak Ridge, Tenn., the utility’s president and chief executive officer, Jeff Lyash, announced last week.

An evolution of GEH’s 1,520-MWe Generation III+ ESBWR design, the BWRX-300 is a 300-MWe water-cooled, natural-circulation SMR with passive safety systems.

Nuclear power resilience in a changing climate

August 5, 2022, 3:01PMNuclear NewsSusan Gallier

All 92 U.S. power reactors operating today need water—in the right place and at the right time. But extreme weather events, including floods, droughts, hurricanes, and heat waves, upend expectations and demand resilience: the ability to anticipate, accommodate, and recover from adverse impacts.

Resilience was built into today’s nuclear power plants decades ago. Weather data and climate forecasts not available then can be factored into risk analysis now to ensure the plants remain resilient in a changing climate.

Candu Energy performing pre-project work for Qinshan refurbishment

August 5, 2022, 12:10PMNuclear News
The CANDU reactors at Qinshan. (Photo: Wikimedia/Atomic Energy of Canada Limited)

SNC-Lavalin subsidiary Candu Energy recently announced that it is engaged in pre-project design and engineering work at the Qinshan Phase III nuclear power station in China’s Zhejiang Province with Third Qinshan Nuclear Power Company (TQNPC), the plant’s operator.

U.K.’s Hinkley Point B retired

August 5, 2022, 9:26AMNuclear News
EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point B nuclear power station, in Somerset, England. (Photo: EDF Energy)

By all accounts the most productive nuclear power plant in British history, Somerset’s Hinkley Point B station closed for good on August 1, with the shutdown of its B1 unit, a 485-MWe advanced gas-cooled reactor. (The plant’s B2 unit, a 480-MWe AGR, was shuttered early last month.)

The station employed around 500 staff and 250 contractors and contributed approximately £40 million (about $48.7 million) per year to the Somerset economy, according to EDF Energy, owner and operator of the United Kingdom’s power reactor fleet.

Safety concerns grow regarding Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

August 5, 2022, 6:50AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Concerns regarding the safety and security of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in war-torn Ukraine have been heightened in recent weeks, with reports of Russian forces using the gigantic facility as a cover from which to launch artillery attacks on Ukrainian forces. On Tuesday, Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, appealed to both Ukraine and Russia to allow IAEA inspectors to visit the plant to examine its condition, make any necessary repairs, and ensure that its nuclear material is being appropriately safeguarded. Grossi said that the situation at Europe’s largest nuclear plant, in which, according to various reports, either two or three of six reactors are currently operating, is “completely out of control” and that the plant’s equipment supply chain has been interrupted.

Nuclear FOMO

August 4, 2022, 2:49PMNuclear NewsSteven Arndt

Steven Arndt
president@ans.org

At the June ANS Annual Meeting in Anaheim, Calif., our Executive Director/CEO Craig Piercy used an interesting acronym: he said, “This meeting is so exciting we are going to give nuclear professionals FOMO with respect to ANS meetings going forward.” The term “fear of missing out” was common a few years ago, but I had not heard it recently. So when Craig used it, it really caught my attention. Craig was, of course, correct that the Annual Meeting was great: technically interesting, productive, and great fun, as well. It provided a wonderful opportunity to learn, network, and advance both academic and business goals. However, in thinking about this phrase I realized that in a lot of ways, getting people to realize how important nuclear science and technology is for making the world better is a lot like trying to get people to understand that they are truly missing out.


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.)