Report describes economic and environmental benefits of Seabrook

March 23, 2023, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Seabrook nuclear power plant, located in southern New Hampshire. (Photo: NextEra Energy)

According to a new study conducted by the economics consulting firm Analysis Group, “Massachusetts utilities could save their customers $880 million to more than $2 billion by 2032 by entering into a long-term power purchase contract with the Seabrook Station nuclear plant.” The study, Economic and Environmental Benefits to Massachusetts from the Operation of the Seabrook Nuclear Plant, also found that operation of the plant through 2032 is expected to contribute as much as $2.9 billion to the state’s economy and reduce regional greenhouse gas emissions by 5 million tons per year.

Shipping Vermont Yankee’s LLW: Lessons for transporting used fuel

March 23, 2023, 9:30AMRadwaste SolutionsJay Thomas, Mike Valenzano, and Nicolas Guibert
A loaded MP197HB cask is prepared for departure from the Vermont Yankee decommissioning site to West Texas. (Photos: Orano TN)

The rapid changes in the nuclear energy industry over the last decade, driven in part by fluctuating energy market prices and an aging fleet of reactors, have led to the closure of multiple reactors in the United States and other countries. These closures have increased the need for larger and more efficient ways to manage low-level radioactive waste processing and transport capacities. The safe transport of radioactive material is a key component of the overall nuclear industry reliability. Though sometimes perceived as a bottleneck and costly, it is necessary to send waste material to disposal.

NRC pushes decision on Holtec CISF to May

March 23, 2023, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has delayed issuing a decision on the licensing of Holtec International’s proposed consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) in New Mexico for at least two more months. In a letter sent to Holtec on March 20, the NRC said the delay was “due to unforeseen resource constraints.”

IAEA launches comic book contest for teens

March 22, 2023, 3:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

The International Atomic Energy Agency is inviting teens aged 14 to 18 to submit original comic book pages depicting a space-based nuclear science experiment on agricultural seeds that the agency is conducting with the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). The contest is offering prizes, including publication of the winning designs on the IAEA website, for the champion and finalists. The deadline for submissions is April 16.

El Salvador picks thorium as part of its energy future

March 22, 2023, 12:04PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Director General Daniel Alvarez, left, and John Kutsch. (Photo: TEA)

Representatives of El Salvador’s government and the Thorium Energy Alliance have signed a memorandum of understanding to promote El Salvador’s plan for renewable energy through thorium.

The document was signed on March 14 by Daniel Alvarez, director general of energy, hydrocarbons, and mines, and John Kutsch, executive director of the Thorium Energy Alliance, at the El Salvador embassy in Washington, D.C. The signing was witnessed by Milena Mayorga, El Salvador’s ambassador to the United States.

WIPP’s Shaft No. 5 project continues

March 22, 2023, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions
The Galloway is lowered into the utility shaft at WIPP. (Photo: DOE)

Progress continues on a new utility shaft at the Department of Energy’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico as shaft-sinking crews recently surpassed the midway point at a depth of 1,076 feet. When complete, the full shaft depth will be 2,275 feet, with the team now halfway to the WIPP repository depth of 2,150 feet.

U.K. and U.S. national laboratories fuse interests in plasma partnership

March 21, 2023, 3:08PMNuclear News
The UKAEA will provide novel fusion materials to be irradiated in ORNL’s HFIR facility over the next four years. Pictured (from left) are Kathy McCarthy, director of the U.S. ITER Project; Jeremy Busby, ORNL’s associate lab director for fusion and fission energy and science; Mickey Wade, ONRL Fusion Energy Division director; Ian Chapman, chief executive officer of the UKAEA; Cynthia Jenks, ORNL’s associate lab director for physical sciences; and Yutai Kato, ORNL Materials Science and Technology Division interim director.

The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the U.K. Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) have formed a strategic research partnership to investigate how different types of materials behave under the influence of high-energy neutron sources. The five-year partnership was announced by ORNL and by the UKAEA on March 13.

Leak of radioactive water at Monticello makes headlines

March 21, 2023, 12:19PMNuclear News
The Monticello nuclear power plant. (Photo: NRC)

An Xcel Energy news release issued last week regarding the leak of some 400,000 gallons of tritium-containing water at Minnesota’s Monticello nuclear power plant in 2022 has sparked a flood of news stories over the past few days—in large part because the general public had previously been unaware of the leak. (A low-level beta emitter, tritium is a common byproduct of nuclear reactor operation.)

New Mexico sets up roadblock to Holtec storage facility

March 21, 2023, 9:43AMRadwaste Solutions
A rendering of Holtec’s proposed HI-STORE CISF in New Mexico. (Image: Holtec)

New Mexico has passed legislation aimed at preventing Holtec International from constructing and operating a consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) for spent nuclear fuel in the state. On March 17, hours after being passed by the New Mexico House on a 35-28 vote, Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed SB 53, which prohibits the storage and disposal of radioactive waste in New Mexico without the state’s consent.

Notes from the 2023 NN Reference Section

March 21, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News

This year marks the 25th year that ANS's Nuclear News magazine has published its Reference Section, which features a world list of nuclear power plants, maps showing worldwide plant locations, tables with information on U.S. plant renewals, and international data tables and graphics. What follows are interesting tidbits that Nuclear Newswire has picked up from this year's Reference Section, which was published in the March NN.

From the Reference Section
Five power reactors started commercial operations around the world in 2022 and five more closed, leaving the total number of operable nuclear power reactors in this 25th Annual Reference Section at 434, the same as the year before. What’s more, that number is just one more than the 433 power reactors listed in the 1st Annual Reference Section back in 1999. But make no mistake, plenty has changed over 25 years. Read on.

Waste Management 2023: Innovation, transformation, and sustainability

March 20, 2023, 3:01PMRadwaste Solutions

Attracting more than 2,000 attendees, the 2023 Waste Management Symposia was held February 26–March 2 in Phoenix, Ariz. For many, this year’s conference was a return to business as usual, with a packed exhibit hall and well-attended technical session, as the upheaval brought about by the pandemic that began three years earlier seemed a thing of the pasts. Not that those who gathered in Phoenix threw any caution to the unseasonably cold and rainy winds that descended across Arizona this year.

Nuclear in a world where nuclear is not

March 20, 2023, 12:01PMNuclear NewsGrace Stanke

Grace Stanke

Despite nuclear power producing 10 percent of energy globally, it seems sometimes that ours is a world in which nuclear does not exist. We all have our own lives, our own passions, and our own separate interests—each of which in turn can feel like a world of its own. For example, I competitively water ski, and rarely does nuclear engineering come up during water skiing tournaments. Nuclear science is a major part of my life and my world—but it is not the only piece. Many of my other worlds have no intersection with nuclear science.

One of my worlds is my involvement in the Miss America Organization. I previously have shared stories about my experience as Miss Wisconsin, including using my platform to talk about nuclear with various individuals. Part of this role was competing for Miss America 2023, a title and position I was honored to win on December 15, 2022.

U.K. to label nuclear “green” and launch SMR competition

March 20, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News


In his spring 2023 budget speech to the House of Commons last Wednesday, U.K. chancellor of the exchequer Jeremy Hunt confirmed that, subject to consultation, nuclear power will be classified as environmentally sustainable in the U.K. green taxonomy, providing potential private investors in nuclear projects access to the same incentives currently enjoyed by investors in renewables. (Last year, the European Union added nuclear and natural gas to the list of green technologies covered by its taxonomy, but only on a transitional basis under what the European Commission termed “clear and strict conditions.”)

“We have increased the proportion of electricity generated from renewables from under 10 percent to nearly 40 percent,” Hunt declared. “But because the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine, we will need another critical source of cheap and reliable energy. And that is nuclear.”

Hanford restarts liquid waste treatment after maintenance outage

March 20, 2023, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions

Workers change out spent 27,000-pound TSCR filter columns and place them on a nearby storage pad during a planned outage. (Photo: DOE)

Following a second planned maintenance outage, the Tank-Side Cesium Removal (TSCR) system at the Hanford Site in Washington state has resumed processing liquid tank waste, the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) announced on March 14.

According to EM, its Office of River Protection (ORP) and contractor Washington River Protection Solutions processed more than 25,000 gallons of waste during the previous week and has treated a total of 406,000 gallons of radioactive liquid waste since TSCR began operations early last year.

A key component in Hanford’s Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste program for treating tank waste, TSCR removes radioactive cesium and solids from tank waste and delivers low-activity waste to a nearby million-gallon tank, where it is staged until it can be fed to the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant for vitrification.

Outage improvements: During outages, workers change out filter columns that remove radioactive solids during waste processing, perform maintenance, and apply lessons learned from operations. According to EM, many improvements to the treatment system during outages over the past year came from recommendations made by workers and contractor and federal staff on the project team.

Plans for Africa’s nuclear-powered future

March 17, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear NewsZaf Coelho

The African continent is made up of 54 countries and can be broadly divided into North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. For global power, Africa is an emerging frontier that holds much promise and could potentially be a new sphere of influence. It has a larger land mass than India, China, the contiguous United States, and Eastern Europe combined, but it can be easy for those unfamiliar with the continent to underestimate its size, influence, and diversity. In the coming years, Africa will play a growing role in global economics and demographics.

With Kuosheng shut down, Taiwan has only two nuclear reactors left

March 17, 2023, 12:26PMNuclear News


The antinuclear energy policies of Taiwanese president Ing-wen Tsai, of Taiwan’s republic’s Democratic Progressive Party, stoked controversy on March 14 when the nation’s Kuosheng-2 nuclear power plant was taken off line to be decommissioned. Minister of economic affairs Mei-hua Wang, who oversees the state-run Taiwan Power Company (Taipower), claimed that the shutdown will not affect power supply because it will be offset by hydroelectric power, as well as gas- and coal-fired power plants. However, objectors to the shutdown claim the possibility of electricity blackouts, with opposition legislator I-ding Wu, of the Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist) Party, countering that renewable energy would be insufficient to meet Taiwan’s energy needs and that fossil fuels are “dirtier” and “more expensive.”

Nuclear-free homeland: Tsai came to office in 2016, promising to make Taiwan a “nuclear-free homeland” by 2025 by decommissioning all six of its operable nuclear reactors when their 40-year operating licenses expired.

Bill to foster civil nuclear export strategy debuts

March 17, 2023, 9:29AMNuclear News
The U.S. Capitol building.

Further building on their already secure reputations as nuclear energy supporters, Sens. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) and Jim Risch (R., Idaho) yesterday reintroduced the International Nuclear Energy Act (INEA). (The lawmakers are also cosponsors of two recently debuted nuclear-themed bills: February’s Nuclear Fuel Security Act and last week’s Reduce Russian Uranium Imports Act.)

Westinghouse’s ADOPT 6-percent enriched U fuel nears U.S. deployment

March 17, 2023, 7:01AMNuclear News
(Photo: Westinghouse)

Westinghouse Electric Company announced on March 14 that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved the use of the company’s Advanced Doped Pellet Technology (ADOPT) fuel pellets in U.S. pressurized water reactors. That approval brings the company closer to loading lead test assemblies containing ADOPT accident tolerant fuel pellets in Unit 2 of Southern Nuclear’s Vogtle plant.

GE Hitachi SMR reaches prelicensing milestone in Canada

March 16, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
A rendering of the BWRX-300 small modular reactor. (Image: NRC)

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy’s (GEH’s) BWRX-300 technology has completed phases 1 and 2 of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s vendor design review (VDR) process, the Wilmington, N.C.–based company announced yesterday.