GAIN’s Rachel Taow recognized as first C3E awardee from the nuclear field

November 8, 2022, 3:15PMNuclear News


Rachel Taow, who is the process modernization lead for the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) at Idaho National Laboratory, received an award in the category of law and finance during the 11th Annual C3E Women in Clean Energy Symposium and Awards, held on November 2 in Washington, D.C. Taow has 16 years of government contracting experience—the last six spent with GAIN—and was nominated for the award by GAIN director Christine King.

The Clean Energy Education & Empowerment (C3E) Initiative was created in 2010 to close the gender gap in clean energy fields, and since 2012, outstanding mid-career women in clean energy have been recognized at the annual C3E symposium. Nine women received awards this year, including—for the first time in the 11 years of the C3E award program—a woman working to advance nuclear energy.

Terrestrial Energy chosen for coal conversion program

November 8, 2022, 12:05PMNuclear News

Ontario’s advanced nuclear technology firm Terrestrial Energy yesterday announced the signing of a letter of intent (LOI) with TerraPraxis, a U.K.-based nonprofit devoted to climate solutions, to cooperate on the latter’s Repowering Coal initiative—a program aimed at integrating clean heat sources with existing infrastructure at coal-fired power plants in North America and elsewhere.

Seeds in space: IAEA/FAO experiment goes the distance for better crops on earth

November 8, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket, with the Cygnus spacecraft Sally Ride aboard (so named for first American woman to fly in space), launched at 5:32 a.m. EST on November 7, from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The rocket is captured just after liftoff in this still image from NASA’s live broadcast of the event.

Seeds from the joint laboratories of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) are onboard a Cygnus spacecraft launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia early on November 7. Now orbiting the Earth en route to the International Space Station, the seeds are part of a commercial resupply mission with a payload that includes resources to support more than 250 scientific investigations.

Report links U-235 found in Ohio home to Portsmouth

November 8, 2022, 7:02AMRadwaste Solutions
A screenshot from the Local 12 report. (Image: WKRC/Sinclair)

In May 2019, Zahn’s Corner Middle School in Pike County, Ohio, located within four miles of the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PORTS), was closed after local officials reported enriched uranium and transuranic radionuclides were detected inside the school and at outside air monitors.

Now, Cincinnati’s WKRC Local 12, a news affiliate of Sinclair Broadcast Group, is reporting that a private house in Lucasville, Ohio, 10 miles from the PORTS site, has been contaminated with enriched uranium.

ANS President Arndt to speak at COP27

November 7, 2022, 3:04PMANS News
Attendees at the Nuclear for Climate booth during the COP27 conference.

COP27, the 2022 United Nations climate change conference, is under way this week in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. A delegation from the American Nuclear Society has traveled there to participate in Nuclear for Climate’s #NetZeroNeedsNuclear advocacy campaign. Nuclear for Climate, cofounded by ANS, is a grassroots organization made up of nuclear professionals and scientists from over 150 associations worldwide.

November 7: The unofficial day of women in nuclear science?

November 7, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
Curie and Meitner (Photos: Wikicommons)

Marie Curie was born in Warsaw in 1867 on this day, 155 years ago. Exactly 11 years later, in 1878, Lise Meitner was born in Vienna. November 7 is also the date when, in 1911, the Swedish Royal Academy of Science decided to award Curie a second Nobel Prize for her 1898 discovery of the elements radium and polonium (coincidentally, her 44th birthday). Curie, who at age 36 had shared the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics with her husband, Pierre Curie, and Henri Becquerel, later accepted the chemistry prize on December 10, 1911. She remains to this day the only person—man or woman—to receive two Nobel Prizes in two different fields of science. (Linus Pauling was also awarded Nobel Prizes in two categories: chemistry and peace.) On this unofficial day of women in nuclear science, let’s take a moment to acknowledge the fundamental discoveries of both Curie and Meitner.

Morris, Lorson named to new leadership positions with NRC

November 7, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News



The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has appointed two longtime employees to key leadership positions. Scott A. Morris was named as the new deputy executive director for reactor and preparedness programs, and Raymond K. Lorson was named as the new Region I administrator. Morris and Lorson will assume their new roles upon the end-of-year retirements of the current deputy executive director, Darrell J. Roberts, and administrator, David C. Law.

NRC executive director for operations Daniel H. Dorman announced the two appointments on October 31, calling Morris and Lorson “extremely talented individuals committed to NRC’s complex and important mission.”

SRS workers meet Pu downblending goals ahead of schedule

November 7, 2022, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
A view of Savannah River’s K Area, where employees began downblending plutonium in 2016. (Photo: DOE)

Contractor employees at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site in South Carolina recently exceeded their plutonium downblending goal for 2022 ahead of schedule as part of the ongoing activities to remove Pu from the state, the DOE’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) announced.

HALEU and the promise of nuclear energy: An interview with the DOE’s Kathryn Huff

November 4, 2022, 3:01PMNuclear News

Kathryn Huff

Deploying a fleet of advanced reactors in the 2030s means deploying high-assay low- enriched uranium (HALEU) infrastructure now.

The future fleet will need more than 40 metric tons of HALEU by 2030, according to Department of Energy projections. Getting to the 5–20 percent fissile uranium-235 content of HALEU involves either enriching natural or low-enriched uranium (LEU) or downblending high-enriched uranium (HEU).

Because downblending the limited stocks of HEU held at the DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory and Savannah River Site is a short-term option at best, the Energy Act of 2020 authorized a HALEU Availability Program to build a sustainable enrichment infrastructure by the time advanced reactors are ready for commercial deployment.

Comments on a request for information reached the DOE in February 2022, just before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine amplified global energy security concerns. While the war in Ukraine didn’t change the DOE’s plans, it “accelerated everything,” said Kathryn Huff, who leads the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy (DOE-NE) as assistant secretary. “Our attention is now laser-focused on this issue in a way that it wouldn’t have been in the past.”

Entergy names new chief nuclear officer

November 4, 2022, 12:05PMNuclear News
From left: Kimberly Cook-Nelson, John Dinelli, and Bill Maguire. (Photos: Entergy)

New Orleans-based Entergy Corporation yesterday announced changes to its senior leadership, including the selection of Kimberly Cook-Nelson as executive vice president and chief nuclear officer, replacing Chris Bakken.

Cook-Nelson, Entergy’s first female CNO, will be based in Jackson, Miss., the company’s nuclear operations headquarters. She joined Entergy in 1996 as a design engineer at the Waterford nuclear plant in Killona, La., rising to general manager of plant operations in 2011. Most recently, she held the position of chief operating officer, nuclear operations. (In addition to the Waterford facility, Entergy owns and operates Arkansas Nuclear One in Russellville, Ark., Grand Gulf in Port Gibson, Miss., and River Bend in St. Francisville, La.)

Co-locating the ANS NPIC&HMIT and PSA Meetings: Double the content, double the fun

November 4, 2022, 9:05AMANS News

Knoxville, Tenn., next July 15-21 will be the place to be for the nuclear community, with two ANS-sponsored meetings being held together. This is a first for ANS-sponsored meetings and will prove to be a can't-miss event. That said, the call for abstracts for the 2023 Nuclear Plant Instrumentation, Control & Human-Machine Interface Technologies (NPIC&HMIT) and Probabilistic Safety Assessment and Analysis (PSA) meetings is now open and is set to close soon—submissions will be accepted until November 18.

DOE evaluates wearable robotic devices to aid cleanup workforce

November 4, 2022, 7:09AMRadwaste Solutions
Nicholas Spivey, left, an SRNL mechanical engineer, and Kurt Gerdes, director of EM’s Office of Technology Development, use virtual reality simulation of an EM worksite during meetings held at the IHMC in Pensacola, Fla. (Photo: DOE)

For the first time since forming in 2020, more than 40 members of a Department of Energy team met in person to evaluate technologies, including exoskeletons and wearable robotic devices, that could be adapted to the cleanup mission of department’s Office of Environmental Management (EM), helping improve the safety and well-being of its workers.

2023 ANS Winter Meeting presidential citations announced

November 3, 2022, 3:02PMANS News

Part of being the president of the American Nuclear Society is having the honor of awarding Presidential Citations to individuals who, in the opinion of the president, have demonstrated outstanding effort in some manner for the benefit of ANS and/or the nuclear community. ANS President Steven Arndt has named the recipients of this year’s awards, which will be presented at the upcoming Winter Meeting.

“There’s going to be a cliff”: Preparing an international SMR supply chain

November 3, 2022, 12:32PMNuclear News
Participating in the forum were (from left) John Hopkins (NuScale Power), Renaud Crassous (EDF), Daniel Poneman (Centrus Energy), Adriana Cristina Serquis (CNEA), and Boris Schucht (Urenco).

The nuclear industry leaders assembled in Washington, D.C., last week to discuss small modular reactor supply chains agreed that lost generation capacity from the expected retirement of hundreds or thousands of coal power plants over the next decade—a cliff, in one panelist’s words—represents an opportunity that developers of SMRs and advanced reactors are competing to meet.

“I think in total 80 projects are ongoing,” said Boris Schucht, panel moderator and chief executive officer of Urenco Group, as he opened the forum. “Of course not all of them will win, and we will discuss today what is needed so that they can be successful.”

University of Tennessee hosts inaugural NEDHO Diversity Panel

November 3, 2022, 6:47AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The University of Tennessee–Knoxville Department of Nuclear Engineering hosted the inaugural Nuclear Engineering Department Heads Organization (NEDHO) Diversity Panel on October 27. The panel featured three African American speakers who discussed overcoming challenges in their engineering education and careers to find success. A common theme that emerged from the conversation was that, in addition to their own determination to succeed, all the panelists benefited from caring adult guidance during their youth, as well as from strong support from friends, family, and colleagues as they pursued their goals.

Candidates announced for the 2023 ANS national election

November 2, 2022, 3:00PMANS News

With the national midterms coming to a close, the last word members want to hear is "election"—but at least the annual ANS election won't result in unending political adverts on our televisions. As one election cycle ends, so another begins. The candidates for the ANS 2023 election have been named to fill eight open positions, with terms beginning in June 2023, following the Annual Meeting. The national positions open are for vice president/president-elect, treasurer, four directors, one student director, and one non-U.S. director.

Can "sea purslane" flora near nuclear facilities remove cesium from soil?

November 2, 2022, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Sesuvium portulacastrum (Photo: David Eickhoff/Wikicommoms)

The authors of a study that was recently published in Advances in Agriculture have recommended that the plant Sesuvium portulacastrum, commonly known as sea purslane, “be cultivated in [cesium]-contaminated soils and near nuclear power plants for phytoremediation.” The researchers found that S. portulacastrum is a “hyper-accumulator” of radioactive cesium isotopes, which are byproducts of nuclear fission reactions in nuclear reactors. The study results suggested that these plants could efficiently remove the toxic metallic chemicals from contaminated soil around nuclear facilities.

Constellation planning license renewals for Clinton, Dresden

November 2, 2022, 9:33AMNuclear News
Constellation Energy's Clinton nuclear power plant. (Photo: NRC)

Constellation Energy, owner and operator of the nation’s largest reactor fleet, will ask the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to extend the operating licenses of the Clinton and Dresden reactors by 20 years, the company announced Monday, adding that it expects to file license applications with the agency in 2024.

Collectables on tour from an earlier nuclear era

November 2, 2022, 7:04AMANS News
One of two cases that display the impressive belt-buckle collection.

Collecting belt buckles from nearly every nuclear power plant in the U.S. wasn’t the goal for Don Hildebrant when he obtained his first one. Over time, it just turned out that way.

One day years ago, Hildebrant came across a buckle from the nuclear plant where he worked, and it seemed before he knew it, he had collected more than 250 of them—some from plants that were never even completed. “When you look at the collection, you will see an interesting story of where nuclear power has been, and how far it has come,” he said.