Centrus Energy gets more time and money to complete HALEU demo

November 15, 2022, 12:08PMNuclear News
Centrifuge casings arrive in Piketon, Ohio. (Photo: Centrus Energy)

The Department of Energy announced a cost-shared award on November 10 valued at about $150 million for American Centrifuge Operating, a subsidiary of Centrus Energy, to complete the high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) demonstration project it began in 2019. After delays that Centrus attributes in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company now has until the end of 2023 to produce the first 20 kilograms of HALEU enriched to 19.75 percent U-235 from the 16-centrifuge cascade it has installed in a DOE-owned Piketon, Ohio, facility—the only U.S. facility currently licensed to produce HALEU.

Exporting American nuclear excellence

November 15, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear NewsSteven Arndt

Steven Arndt
president@ans.org

As I write, I am reflecting on my time at the International Atomic Energy Agency General Conference, held in Vienna during the last week of September. At the GC, I was able to meet with a number of U.S. companies that are actively doing business overseas, as well as a number of representatives from countries throughout the world that are using nuclear technology or hoping to do so. This experience—coupled with several other opportunities I have had since becoming ANS president to discuss the nuclear industry’s challenges and opportunities at national and international forums—has led me to conclude that despite the challenges our country faces, the world is still very interested in what the United States is doing in nuclear. What struck me in each of these interactions is the thirst for information about what the U.S. is doing—and what we can do for them. I think the reason for this is the enduring excellence the U.S. has always brought to the nuclear industry.

Crews demolish first reactor in Oak Ridge’s central campus

November 15, 2022, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
Crews completed the teardown of Oak Ridge’s Bulk Shielding Reactor (Building 3010), once used for research as part of the federal Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion Program. (Photos: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) said its cleanup contractor UCOR recently completed the first-ever demolition of a reactor in the central campus area at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

The Decommissioning of Portsmouth’s X-326

November 14, 2022, 3:00PMRadwaste SolutionsGuest Contributor

In the 1950s, the U.S. Department of Energy constructed the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in rural southern Ohio to enrich uranium, alongside two other federally owned and managed facilities in Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Paducah, Ky. The Cold War-era plant was built as a self-sufficient industrial city with more than 400 buildings and facilities centered around three massive gaseous diffusion process buildings that could enrich the level of the uranium-235 isotope for nuclear fuel in the defense and energy sectors.

Watts Bar-2 steam generator project completed

November 14, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
A steam generator is lifted into Watts Bar Unit 2. (Photo: Framatome)

The Steam Generating Team (SGT)—a joint venture of Framatome and United Engineers & Constructors Inc.—has completed a project to replace the Unit 2 steam generators at the Watts Bar nuclear plant, Framatome announced last week.

Watts Barr’s owner and operator, the Tennessee Valley Authority, awarded Framatome the contract for the work in early 2020.

Panel on nuclear energy and climate change to be livestreamed from COP27

November 14, 2022, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe
Scheduled to appear at the Energy Security panel session at COP27: from left, moderator Sweta Chakraborty and speakers Kathryn Huff, Seth Grae, and Bonnie Jenkins.

The United Nations’ COP27 conference, held this year in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, from November 6 to 18, will feature the panel discussion “Energy Security” on Tuesday, November 15, at 9:00 a.m. EST (4:00 p.m. local time). The discussion is being sponsored by the review platform We Don’t Have Time; the live stream will be available to viewers on their COP27 Climate Hub website.

Abilene Christian’s NEXT Lab reaches milestone in molten salt reactor research

November 14, 2022, 7:02AMNuclear News
Research engineers take a sample of molten salt for the NEXT Lab. (Photo: Jeremy Enlow/Steelshutter)

The Nuclear Energy eXperimental Testing (NEXT) Laboratory at Abilene Christian University in Texas created quite a bit of buzz within the nuclear community in August when it submitted the first application for a new U.S. research reactor in more than 30 years. The construction permit application submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is for a molten salt research reactor (MSRR)—the first-ever university application for an advanced research reactor. Assuming NRC acceptance of the application, which could happen this year, a formal technical review of the lab’s MSRR plan will then begin, and construction of the MSRR could be completed by 2025. The Abilene campus’s new Science and Engineering Research Center—a 28,000-square-foot multiuse facility for chemistry, physics, and engineering research and education—is expected to be completed by July 2023 and will house the advanced reactor. The final step is to obtain the NRC operating license for the MSRR and commence operation.

Building human capacity and maintaining trust in radioactive waste management

November 11, 2022, 3:05PMNuclear NewsMorgan Packer
The opening session of ICGR-6. (Photo: OECD NEA)

While deep geological repositories (DGRs) are the globally preferred and scientifically proven solution to store high-level radioactive waste, societal challenges remain. Given the long time frames associated with DGR development and implementation, and a rise in global interest in nuclear energy to meet urgent climate mitigation targets, building and maintaining human capacity is now even more of a priority.

Reactor head removed from decommissioned Indian Point-3

November 11, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
On the left, equipment being installed at Indian Point-3 on April 26, 1971. Unit 3 began operation in August 1976. On the right, some of the same equipment being removed as part of the decommissioning process, November 2022. (Photo: Indian Point Energy Center)

Holtec continues the decommissioning work at Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan, N.Y.

Unit 2, a 1,028-MWe pressurized water reactor, was shut down in April 2020; Unit 3, a 1,041-MWe PWR, was closed one year later. (Unit 1 was decommissioned in 1974.)

Wisconsin: Producing more than just dairy

November 11, 2022, 7:04AMANS NewsGrace Stanke

Stanke

Being Miss Wisconsin has provided me with some unique experiences. I’ve met with community members from recognizable Wisconsin cities like Madison and Milwaukee, but I’ve also met individuals from smaller communities that might not be familiar to most readers—like Kendall, and Nekoosa. This connection with places and people across the state is expected in my role. It didn’t surprise me, and it is one of my favorite aspects of this position.

Through my partnership with the American Nuclear Society, I have had the opportunity to see some incredible facilities in Wisconsin. I first saw two fusion research labs, and created a two-part video on fusion that can be seen on the Miss Wisconsin 2022 and ANS Instagram accounts. It has sparked several conversations at my various appearances—including at those small towns. Hearing people talk about nuclear science and the potential it holds truly fills my soul.

Fusion is prioritized in net-zero R&D initiative and IRA funds, but fission factors in too

November 10, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News
The U.S. ITER Project Office in Oak Ridge, Tenn. U.S. ITER has received $256 million in Inflation Reduction Act funding. (Photo: U.S. ITER)

Just days before COP27 and the U.S. midterm elections, the White House announced $1.55 billion in Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) funding for national laboratories and the launch of a Net-Zero Game Changers Initiative based on a new report, U.S. Innovation to Meet 2050 Climate Goals. Out of 37 research and development opportunities identified, fusion energy was selected as one of just five near-term priorities for the new cross-agency initiative. Together, the announcements signal policy and infrastructure support for fusion energy—the biggest chunk of Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC) IRA funding went to ITER, via Oak Ridge National Laboratory—and for advanced nuclear technologies to power the grid and provide process heat to hard-to-decarbonize industrial sectors.

Coal-to-nuclear conversion: Opportunities and challenges

November 10, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
ANS's “Powering Our Future: The Coal to Nuclear Opportunity” panel discussion featured (top left, clockwise) Jessica Lovering, Patrick Burke, Kenya Stump, Andrew Griffith, Christine King, and Carol Lane. (ANS screenshot)

Since at least June of last year—when TerraPower and PacifiCorp announced plans to site the Natrium reactor demonstration project at one of Wyoming’s retiring coal plants—the concept of repurposing those plants to host nuclear reactors has been a popular topic of conversation among the energy cognoscenti.

GA’s delivery of DRACO nuclear rocket design supports FY 2026 in-orbit demo goal

November 10, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
(Image: General Atomics)

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) has completed the baseline design of a reactor and engine for a nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) rocket and has successfully tested key reactor components under contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the company announced on November 7. The work was performed under a Track A, Phase 1 contract for the Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations (DRACO) program; Phases 2 and 3 of DRACO could culminate in a demonstration of the nuclear-propelled spacecraft in cislunar space (the region between the Earth and the Moon) during fiscal year 2026.

From the pages of Nuclear News : Industry update

November 10, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News

Here is a recap of industry happenings over the past month:


ADVANCED REACTOR MARKETPLACE

U.S. and Canadian regulators formalize relationship on advanced reactors

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) have reached a charter agreement that formally establishes a collaborative relationship on small modular reactors and other advanced reactor technologies. The two agencies have been cooperating on these technologies for several years, but the formal agreement is designed to better harmonize the American and Canadian regulatory processes to achieve safe, successful deployment. The charter specifically focuses on regulatory and safety issues regarding the licensing review of GE--Hitachi’s BWRX--300 SMRs, which Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has selected for deployment at its Darlington site and which the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) plans to build at Clinch River. OPG and TVA announced plans earlier this year to work together on the development and deployment these SMRs.

U.S.-Mexico civil nuclear pact enters into force

November 9, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News
Mexico's Laguna Verde nuclear power plant, on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico in the state of Veracruz.

An agreement between the United States and Mexico on civil nuclear cooperation has entered into force, the U.S. State Department announced last week. While first proposed in 2016 and finalized and signed in 2018, the pact only received approval from the Mexican Senate this March.

The American Nuclear Society commits to open research publishing

November 9, 2022, 12:00PMPress Releases

The American Nuclear Society is launching an open research publishing platform with open research publisher F1000 Research Ltd., a subsidiary of Taylor & Francis Group.

After more than a year of discussion and planning, ANS Executive Director/CEO Craig Piercy recently signed an agreement with F1000 to create a new publishing platform that adopts the publisher’s innovative open research methodology and technology.

A generous, sustaining donation from ANS member Sushil C. Jain, P.E., will allow ANS to bring this plan from idea to reality. All content published on the new ANS F1000 platform will be free and open to the public. Both organizations are excited to begin this critical step forward, bringing ANS scholarly publications into the future.

Zack Pate remembered as statesman in nuclear energy industry

November 9, 2022, 9:30AMANS News

Pate

Zack T. Pate, the former chief executive officer of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) and chair of the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO), passed away recently at the age of 86. Pate will be remembered for his many important contributions to the global nuclear energy industry, especially regarding nuclear plant performance and safety, as well as his lengthy service in the U.S. Navy. He was a longtime member of the American Nuclear Society.

Navy: Pate was originally from Leesburg, Ga. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1958 and continued to serve with distinction in the navy for 22 years, working on several nuclear submarines and reaching the rank of captain. He was executive officer of the USS Thomas Jefferson and commander of the USS Sunfish.

USS Rickover crew visits Chicago’s Naval Academy

November 9, 2022, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe
The USS Rickover (SSN 795). (Photo: USS Hyman G. Rickover Commissioning Committee)

NBC Chicago featured a story last week about a visit to the Windy City by the commander and crew of the USS Hyman G. Rickover (SSN-795), the navy’s newest nuclear submarine. The submarine was christened in July 2021 and is currently undergoing trials out of Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn., before its expected commissioning in 2023. Reporter Charlie Wojciechowski described the sailors’ meetings with students from Chicago’s Rickover Naval Academy, along with the sailors’ visits to the Museum of Science and Industry and other city landmarks. He also interviewed Commander Matthew H. Beach.

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

November 8, 2022, 3:15PMNuclear News

Taow

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.