Basin added to support Hanford’s tank waste treatment

September 7, 2022, 12:07PMRadwaste Solutions
Retention basins at the Liquid Effluent Retention Facility on the Hanford Site, as seen in September 2021, at top, and recently with the nearly completed Basin 41 on the far left. (Photo: DOE)

Work is nearing completion on a fourth basin needed to ensure adequate storage for wastewater during tank waste treatment on the Department of Energy’s Hanford Site, in Washington state.

According to the DOE, its operations contractor Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) has made significant progress on Basin 41 at the Liquid Effluent Retention Facility (LERF) since concrete was first poured for the perimeter one year ago.

Video: Watch this time-lapse video of the LERF Basin 41 construction.

INL engineers become drone pilots to prepare for waste vault testing

September 7, 2022, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy’s Calcine Retrieval Project (CRP) at the Idaho National Laboratory Site is progressing toward what is likely to be a first: flying a light detection and ranging-equipped drone inside a high-level radioactive waste vault to map its interior.

“We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat”

September 7, 2022, 7:01AMNuclear NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy

Everyone knows the iconic scene in the classic 1975 movie Jaws when Chief Brody, played by Roy Scheider, is chumming the waters off the coast of Cape Cod and finds himself face-to-face with a 25-foot great white shark for the first time. As you will remember, the scene cuts to Brody shuffling into the boat’s cabin, turning to Quint—the salty captain played by Robert Shaw—and saying rather dryly, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

That image, of someone confronting the true scope of their challenge, is the thing that kept creeping into my mind as I walked the expo floor of the 2022 Utility Working Conference held on Marco Island, Fla., last month.

Yes, the excitement was palpable. The Inflation Reduction Act was cruising toward enactment with $30–40 billion in new nuclear-eligible clean energy tax incentives in its berth. Dow had just announced its intention to partner with X-energy to site a high-temperature gas reactor at one of its Gulf Coast manufacturing facilities.

Inaugural group graduates from nuclear operator program for Savannah River

September 6, 2022, 3:06PMRadwaste Solutions
DOE contractor Savannah River Mission Completion strengthened its ties with Aiken Technical College as the school graduated the first class of Nuclear Fundamentals trainees this summer. (Photo: DOE)

The first 36 students graduated this summer from Savannah River Mission Completion’s (SRMC) Nuclear Fundamentals Certificate program. SRMC is the Department of Energy’s liquid waste contractor at the Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina.

The program, which is a partnership between Aiken Technical College (ATC) and SRMC, is in its inaugural year.

Max Carbon Celebration coming to UW–Madison

September 6, 2022, 12:04PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Max Carbon

Join the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Department of Engineering Physics as it honors its founding chair at the upcoming Max Carbon Legacy Celebration. The on-campus event will take place on Friday, October 14, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. CDT at Union South, Varsity Hall 3, 1308 W. Dayton St. in Madison.

What it’s about: In addition to paying tribute to the legacy of the late Professor Emeritus Carbon, who established UW-Madison’s nuclear engineering program more than 60 years ago, the event will honor a number of retiring faculty members. Memories, stories, and photos of Professor Carbon will be shared by attendees.

SONGS videos highlight decommissioning progress

September 6, 2022, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
The San Onofre nuclear power plant.

The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) recently shared a few videos on its YouTube channel, showing recent progress Southern California Edison has made in dismantling the plant’s turbine building. Decommissioning of the nuclear power plant, which permanently ceased operations in 2013, is being conducted by SONGS Decommissioning Solutions, a joint venture of EnergySolutions and AECOM.

Registration open for “Pittsburgh Builds the Future of Nuclear Power”

September 6, 2022, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

An upcoming event organized by North American Young Generation in Nuclear will focus on the ways Pittsburghers are contributing to innovations that will help nuclear energy meet the challenges of the clean energy transition. “Pittsburgh Builds the Future of Nuclear Power,” sponsored by Rizzo International, Westinghouse, Curtiss-Wright, SSM Industries, and Ansys, will be held at The Westin Pittsburgh on Thursday, September 22, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. EDT.

Register now. The event is free, but space is limited, and registration is required. Visit the Eventbrite page to complete your registration.

The Future of Diablo Canyon

September 2, 2022, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
The Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in San Luis Obispo County, Calif. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

The reports of the death of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant may be greatly exaggerated. While Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) announced as early as 2016 that it would be closing California’s last operating nuclear power plant at the end of its current operating license, there has been growing political pressure to keep the plant, and its 2,200 MWe of carbon-free energy, running.

NEUP project to look at offshore nuclear power plants

September 2, 2022, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Core Power, MIT Energy Initiative, and Idaho National Laboratory have secured research funding from the Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP) to conduct a three-year study into the development of offshore floating nuclear power generation. This collaborative research effort is among the 74 nuclear research and infrastructure projects that were awarded more than $61 million by the DOE in June.

SATER returns the Philippines to nuclear research and training

September 2, 2022, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe
The Philippine Research Reactor-1 building at the University of the Philippines. (Photo: PNRI)

The research reactor known as SATER (Subcritical Assembly for Training, Education, and Research), housed in at the Philippine Research Reactor-1 building at the University of the Philippines in Quezon City, has become operational. As recently reported by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the core of SATER was loaded with 44 fuel rods, bringing the Philippines its first operational nuclear reactor in 34 years. Through this event, the country has moved a big step closer to meeting the government’s goal of adding nuclear power to its energy resources. The reactor is expected to become fully operational by 2023.

Southern plans second license renewal for Hatch

September 2, 2022, 7:04AMNuclear News
The twin-unit Hatch plant (Image: Southern Nuclear)

Southern Nuclear, operator of the two-unit Hatch nuclear plant, announced yesterday that it will seek subsequent license renewals (SLR) for both reactors.

Get to know the board

September 1, 2022, 3:08PMANS News

The five new members of the ANS Board of Directors began their terms at the end of the 2022 ANS Annual Meeting in Anaheim, Calif. The four U.S. members elected to three-year terms are Jamie Coble, of the University of Tennessee–Knoxville; Shaheen Dewji, of the Georgia Institute of Technology; Christina Leggett, of Booz Allen Hamilton; and Daniel Stout, of the Tennessee Valley Authority. Carlos Gho, vice president of Conuar S.A. (Argentine Nuclear Fuels), was elected to a two-year term as the non-U.S. member of the Board. Keep reading to learn more about the new directors.

California lawmakers see the light, vote to extend Diablo Canyon operation

September 1, 2022, 12:16PMNuclear News
The Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

Bowing at last to the unflagging efforts of nuclear advocates over the past few years—as well as to more recent pressure from a former nuclear opponent, Gov. Gavin Newsom—the California legislature late last night approved S.B. 846, a measure that provides the option of extending operations at the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant for five years beyond its scheduled 2025 closure date.

Pacific Gas and Electric, Diablo Canyon’s owner and operator, had agreed in June 2016 to an early shuttering of the facility, following discussions with organized labor and environmental organizations. PG&E’s application to close the plant was approved by the California Public Utilities Commission in January 2018.

The bill passed easily through both legislative chambers: 67–3 in the General Assembly and 31–1 in the Senate.

ANS welcomes WISE interns back to Washington, D.C.

September 1, 2022, 9:30AMANS News
Tiara Carrasquillo Pérez (far left) and Matt Hageman (far right) are pictured with five other WISE interns and FMR Gil Brown (center front).

For the first time since 2019, student interns were welcomed to Washington, D.C., for the summer to participate in the Washington Internships for Students of Engineering (WISE) program. Among them were two students sponsored by ANS—Tiara Carrasquillo Pérez and Matt Hageman.

Mexico’s Laguna Verde-2 receives 30-year life extension

September 1, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News
The Laguna Verde nuclear power plant. (Photo: HFStudio)

Unit 2 at Mexico’s Laguna Verde nuclear plant has been given the go-ahead to operate into the 2050s, plant owner and operator Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) announced last week.

Mexico’s secretary of energy, Norma Rocío Nahle García, approved a 30-year extension to the unit’s operating license on August 25, following a review by the country’s National Commission for Nuclear Safety and Safeguards. The reactor, one of two at the plant, is now authorized to run until April 10, 2055.

NARUC white paper examines nuclear’s role in advancing decarbonization

August 31, 2022, 3:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) has published Nuclear Energy as a Keystone Clean Energy Resource, a white paper that examines the role of nuclear power in providing carbon-free energy in the United States. The 57-page paper, prepared by Energy Ventures Analysis, includes a review of considerations for regulators to boost nuclear power’s contribution to the decarbonization energy transition.

A key point made in the paper is that reaching ambitious state and national decarbonization goals will require expansion of the nuclear energy resource base. Despite this, a number of barriers stand in the way of nuclear fleet expansion. Moreover, existing nuclear power plants must continue to deal with challenges, such as those from economic pressures, planned reactor retirements, regulatory issues, and competition with other energy industries.

Report sizes up nuclear new-build financing from five top exporters

August 31, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

As energy security and environmental concerns prompt some countries to increase their reliance on nuclear energy or become first-time adopters of the technology, the U.S. government must decide whether it will offer financing for reactor exports—a move that poses financial risks but could create jobs, address global climate and energy security challenges, and limit Chinese and Russian influence. A new report released on August 25 by the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, Comparing Government Financing of Reactor Exports: Considerations for U.S. Policy Makers, digs into the history of nuclear reactor financing and delivers recommendations for U.S. policymakers.

Matt Bowen, research scholar at the center and the report’s lead author, told Nuclear News, “Given how important financing is to countries considering new reactor construction, as well as the competition that U.S. vendors face from foreign state-owned entities, Congress and the White House should both focus attention on the issue, including policy options to increase U.S. competitiveness.”

Subcontracts awarded in support of Savannah River’s liquid waste mission

August 31, 2022, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions

Department of Energy contractor Savannah River Mission Completion (SRMC) announced it has awarded four subcontracts worth a total of approximately $20 million to perform key engineering support for the liquid radioactive waste mission at the department’s Savannah River Site near Aiken, S.C. Among the awardees are locally owned businesses and a woman-owned small business.

KHNP wins turbine island construction contract for Egyptian plant

August 31, 2022, 7:05AMNuclear News
A digital rendering of Egypt’s El Dabaa plant. (Image: Nuclear Power Plants Authority)

Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP) has signed a contract with Atomstroyexport JSC—the engineering division of Russia’s Rosatom—to build the turbine islands for Egypt’s El Dabaa nuclear power plant, construction of which commenced just last month with the pouring of first concrete.

Hanford tests vitrification bubblers

August 30, 2022, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
A worker watches test bubblers in operation at the Hanford Site. (Photo: DOE)

Crews at the Department of Energy’s Hanford Site in Washington state recently finished testing “bubblers” at the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant. Bubblers are used to transform radiological and chemical tank waste into a glass form for safe disposal.