Kerry announces more U.S.-backed nuclear plans for Europe

September 11, 2023, 12:01PMNuclear News


During a side event held at last week’s Three Seas Initiative Summit in Bucharest, Romania, special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry announced U.S. actions to further the role of new nuclear technologies in accelerating the clean energy transition in Europe.

These actions, according to a September 7 media note from the U.S. State Department, expand on Romania’s leadership role in deploying the first small modular reactor in Europe and in converting a former Romanian coal plant to an SMR facility.

Building on his rollout of the Project Phoenix initiative at last year’s COP27 climate change conference in Egypt, Kerry said that proposals from the Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovakia have been selected to participate in the project and will receive support for coal-to-SMR feasibility studies.

ACU opens facility designed for advanced nuclear research

September 11, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
ACU’s grand opening event for the Gayle and Max Dillard Science and Engineering Research Center. (Photo: ACU)

Abilene Christian University’s Gayle and Max Dillard Science and Engineering Research Center (SERC) has opened. SERC contains the Nuclear Energy eXperimental Testing Laboratory (NEXT Lab) and is the future home of one of the first advanced reactors in the United States. More than 300 people were on hand to celebrate the opening and tour the facility, including donors, government officials, and scientists from ACU and other research institutions.

NRC dockets application to begin CFPP's construction activities

September 11, 2023, 7:01AMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has accepted for review CFPP LLC’s limited work authorization (LWA) application to permit certain early construction activities at the Carbon Free Power Project site in Idaho prior to the issuance of a combined license. (An LWA, according to 10 CFR 50.10, allows for “the driving of piles, subsurface preparation, placement of backfill, concrete, or permanent retaining walls within an excavation, installation of the foundation, including placement of concrete, any of which are for an SSC [safety-related structures, systems, or components] of the facility for which either a construction permit or combined license is otherwise required.”)


From lab to reactor: Scaling up advanced manufacturing for fuels and more

September 8, 2023, 3:01PMNuclear News



Advanced manufacturing is more than just additive manufacturing, as Jorgen Rufner and Adrian Wagner—both group leads at Idaho National Laboratory—would be quick to point out. Researchers at INL have been working with additive manufacturing (that’s 3D printing, colloquially) for decades. These days, INL boasts the largest industrial-scale electric field -assisted sintering (EFAS) machine of its kind and four other EFAS systems, including one coupled with a glove box for work with radioactive materials. That equipment and more can make samples, fuels, and components for both light water reactors and advanced reactors and for both publicly and privately funded programs.

BWXT announces contract to produce HALEU from scrap material

September 8, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News

BWX Technologies, Inc. has announced the details of a contract with the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration to process thousands of kilograms of government-owned scrap material containing enriched uranium and produce more than two metric tons of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) in an oxide form at an enrichment level of 19.75 percent U-235. That HALEU oxide could supply a fraction of the 22 metric tons the DOE has estimated will be needed by the mid-2020s to fuel advanced reactor demonstrations and meet existing commitments for research reactor fuel.

YouTube journalists offer education on nuclear energy

September 8, 2023, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe



Cleo Abram and Johnny Harris are young, independent video journalists—and friends and colleagues—who have been posting educational and supportive videos about nuclear energy on YouTube.

Abram describes her work as “making optimistic tech explainers.” The name of her show is Huge If True, “an antidote to the doom and gloom, helping its audience decode the world around them and see positive futures they can help build.”

ANS names 2024 Congressional Fellows

September 8, 2023, 6:33AMNuclear News

For the second consecutive year, the American Nuclear Society has selected two of its members to receive the Glenn T. Seaborg Congressional Science and Engineering Fellowship. The 2024 Congressional Fellows, Emily Caffrey and William Murray, will help the Society fulfill its strategic goal of enhancing nuclear policy by working in the halls of Congress, either in a congressional member’s personal office or with a committee, when their fellowship term begins in January.

Additional funding provided for Sizewell C project

September 7, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
A computer-generated rendering of the Sizewell site on the Suffolk coast. Sizewell A and B are to the left and center (respectively) in this image; the section to the right is the Sizewell C area. (Image: EDF Energy)

In the second tranche of planned investment in Britain’s nuclear sector this summer, the U.K. government has made available £341 million (about $426 million) of previously allocated funding for development work on the proposed Sizewell C project in Suffolk, England.

Centrus Energy expects first HALEU production in October

September 7, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News

Centrus Energy’s HALEU demonstration cascade. (Photo: Centrus Energy)

Centrus Energy announced on September 6 that it is conducting final system tests and expects to begin producing high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) in October from its 16-machine gaseous centrifuge enrichment demonstration cascade at the American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon, Ohio. After achieving initial HALEU production, Centrus has specific goals to meet under contract as the company ramps the demonstration cascade to its target annual production rate of 900 kg per year.

Centrus is required under a cost-share contract with the Department of Energy to produce 20 kg of 19.75 percent–enriched HALEU in uranium hexafluoride (UF6) form by the end of this year. That contract, announced in November 2022, replaced an earlier contract signed in October 2019 that called for first production of HALEU by June 2022. The current contract calls for production at an annual rate of 900 kg of HALEU UF6 per year in 2024, with additional options—subject to appropriations—to produce material in future years.

A focus where it is needed

September 7, 2023, 6:57AMNuclear NewsKen Petersen

Ken Petersen

The front end of the fuel cycle is getting a lot of attention lately—and it needs it. The war in Ukraine has disrupted the global supply chain for many products, nuclear fuel being one. Several countries have determined that they no longer want to rely on nuclear fuel from Russia. This can be anything from fabricated fuel including uranium, conversion, and enrichment to just enrichment.

Since the Cold War, Russia has been a major supplier of nuclear fuel to the West. Replacing Russia as the main supplier will take both time and money—a fact that has become even more clear as the small modular reactor community grows, and with it, the demand for high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) for fuel.

The American Nuclear Society has been highlighting the immediacy of the fuel supply problem—which will become a crisis without immediate action—for years. In 2021, ANS wrote to Congress, urging swift action. This year, Nuclear News and ANS’s Nuclear Newswire have run a three-part series by energy writer and consultant Matt Wald on the domestic nuclear fuel shortage. The first article, “On the verge of a crisis: The U.S. nuclear fuel Gordian knot,” was published on Newswire on April 14; the second, “The U.S. nuclear fuel Gordian knot: From global supplier to vulnerable customer,” on May 19. The final piece of the series, “The U.S. nuclear fuel Gordian knot: The uncertain path forward,” was posted on September 1.

EDF, JAVYS ink new nuclear pact for Slovakia

September 6, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News

Pavol Štuller, JAVYS chairman and chief executive officer, on the left, and Vakisasai Ramany, EDF senior vice president in charge of new nuclear development, sign an agreement in Paris.

Slovakia’s state-owned nuclear company JAVYS has announced the signing of a framework cooperation agreement (FCA) with France’s EDF for further cooperation “in the field of nuclear energy and in the implementation of projects aimed at development of large power reactors and small modular reactors.” Currently, the Slovakian nuclear fleet consists of two VVER-440/V213 pressurized water reactors at Bohunice, and two at Mochovce (with two more units on their way).

The signing took place on August 25 during an official visit to Paris by Slovakia’s minister of economy Peter Dovhun.

Hungary’s ATOMKI orders 3D printer for nuclear research

September 6, 2023, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

The Freemelt ONE 3D printer.

Hungary’s Institute for Nuclear Research (ATOMKI) is set to take delivery this year of a 4.6 million Swedish krona ($414,300) electron-beam 3D printer for nuclear material science research.

The printer—the Freemelt ONE model—is manufactured by Freemelt, a Swedish company.

Research plans: ATOMKI intends to use the printer for “research in surface science [and] surface topology, which means creation of new surface structures and composite materials via non-adiabatic [not occurring without heat loss or heat gain] alloying,” according to Kalman Vad, a senior research associate at ATOMKI. “The open architecture and free parametrization of the properties of the [electron] beam makes Freemelt ONE an ideal tool for research purposes.”

Fate of North Carolina nuclear measure uncertain

September 6, 2023, 9:31AMNuclear News


While a pronuclear energy bill currently under consideration in the North Carolina General Assembly appears to stand a good chance of advancing to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk, its chances of receiving his signature are less clear.

The legislation, S.B. 678, would replace the term “renewable energy” in state statutes with “clean energy” and specify that the new term includes both nuclear fission and fusion. In addition, the bill would eliminate language impeding the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) from issuing Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity for nuclear facilities.

According to S.B. 678, “clean energy resource” includes solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal, biomass, “waste heat derived from a clean energy source and used to produce electricity or useful, measurable thermal energy at a retail electric customer’s facility,” and “nuclear energy resources, including an uprate to a nuclear energy facility, fusion energy, or hydrogen derived from a clean energy resource.”

Hispanic Heritage Month event to showcase Hispanic excellence in the nuclear field

September 6, 2023, 7:01AMNuclear News

The American Nuclear Society will host the online event “Hispanic Excellence in the Nuclear Field” on September 20 at 10:00 a.m. (EDT), featuring a distinguished panel of nuclear experts. The panelists will share unique insights from their careers and discuss opportunities and challenges facing the future nuclear workforce, including what they see as future opportunities for the Hispanic community in the nuclear field.

Prepping for the 2023 nuclear PE exam with ANS guides

September 5, 2023, 3:02PMANS News

The next opportunity to earn professional engineer (P.E.) licensure in nuclear engineering will be this fall when the exam is administered nationwide on October 24, 2023. If you haven't yet done so, you can brush up for the exam by obtaining the various preparation materials made available by the American Nuclear Society.

According to Joshua Vajda, chair of the ANS Professional Engineering Examination Committee (PEEC), it is important for ANS as a scientific society to continue to encourage professional licensure: “Emphasizing the importance of obtaining nuclear credentials is a Society initiative to maintain high ethical standards in the industry and to provide career advancement for the next generation of young practicing nuclear engineers.”

Lawmakers request info from agencies on NEPA reforms

September 5, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News



McMorris Rodgers

A trio of GOP House lawmakers is asking four federal agencies to report on their progress toward implementing National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reforms included in the 2023 Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA), signed by President Biden in early June.

Last Friday, House Energy and Commerce Committee chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wash.); Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Subcommittee chair Jeff Duncan (R., S.C.); and Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee chair Bill Johnson (R., Ohio) sent letters to the Department of Energy, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Georgia Power, PSC staff reach deal on Vogtle project recovery costs

September 5, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
From left: Vogtle Units 3 and 4 in July. (Photo: Georgia Power)

Georgia Power has signed a proposed agreement with the Georgia Public Service Commission’s (PSC’s) Public Interest Advocacy (PIA) staff and several intervening parties on the total amount the utility should be allowed to recover from ratepayers for the remaining costs associated with the Vogtle-3 and -4 nuclear expansion project. If adopted by the commissioners, the agreement will resolve all issues of the project’s prudency review, according to an August 30 PSC news release.

American Centrifuge Plant the subject of upcoming NRC public meeting

September 5, 2023, 7:01AMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff will hold a hybrid public meeting on September 7 to discuss the agency’s licensing and oversight of Centrus/American Centrifuge Operating’s American Centrifuge Plant, in Piketon, Ohio. The discussion will focus primarily on the company’s enrichment of high-assay low-enriched uranium, or HALEU.