Westinghouse pursues AP300 deployment in Ukraine

September 18, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
Westinghouse president and CEO Patrick Fragman (seated at left) and Energoatom president Petro Kotin (seated at right) sign an MOU on AP300 deployment in Ukraine. Standing behind Fragman and Kotin is Ukrainian energy minister German Galushchenko. (Photo: Energoatom)

Westinghouse Electric Company and Ukraine’s nuclear operator Energoatom have signed a memorandum of understanding on the development and deployment of the American firm’s AP300 small modular reactor in the Eastern European state.

Wyoming invites BWXT to assess microreactors for the state

September 18, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News

Concept art of the BANR microreactor system. (Image: BWXT)

BWX Technologies last week announced a contract with the Wyoming Energy Authority (WEA) to evaluate the viability of deploying microreactors in the state.

The Lynchburg, Va., tech firm said its BWXT Advanced Technologies subsidiary will execute the two-year, two-phase agreement in close consultation with the state government and other Wyoming organizations and companies.

Jumping hurdles: ARPA-E and the path to advanced reactor deployment

September 15, 2023, 3:31PMNuclear NewsJenifer Shafer and Robert Ledoux

The Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E), a branch of the Department of Energy, is tasked with driving the research and development of cutting-edge energy technologies. The agency’s core emphasis is on mitigating emissions, increasing energy efficiency, reducing imports, ensuring energy systems resiliency, and offering transformative solutions for the management of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel (SNF). Its mission is instrumental in ensuring the United States retains its technological superiority in the design and implementation of new energy technologies. Efforts in SNF research also benefit prior investments in ARPA-E’s MEITNER (Modeling-Enhanced Innovations Trailblazing Nuclear Energy Reinvigoration) and GEMINA (Generating Electricity Managed by Intelligent Nuclear Assets) programs, which seek to substantially decrease the capital and operational expenditures associated with advanced reactors (ARs).

Framatome, Hungary extend cooperation on nuclear power

September 15, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
Framatome CEO Bernard Fontana (left) shakes hands with Hungarian energy minister Csaba Lantos. (Photo: Framatome)

France-based Framatome and the Hungary’s Ministry of Energy agreed this week to strengthen their relationship in the field of nuclear energy, including in such areas as fuel supply, education, research and development, implementation of new technologies, and long-term operation.

Bruce-6 connected to grid after refurbishment

September 15, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
Bruce Power operations staff synchronizes Unit 6 to the Ontario electrical grid on September 8. (Photo: Bruce Power)

The ongoing major component replacement (MCR) project at Ontario’s Bruce nuclear power plant reached another milestone last Friday with the reconnection to the grid of the facility’s Unit 6 reactor. According to a release from plant operator Bruce Power, the work was completed ahead of schedule and on budget despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

DOE-supported nuclear data benchmarking will support diverse missions

September 15, 2023, 7:01AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy’s Office of Science announced $5.8 million in funding on September 13 for five projects to benchmark nuclear data for a range of nuclear science investigations and applications, including energy, space exploration, and nonproliferation. Four of the five funded projects include participation from Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Project Pele will “nurture” a second microreactor: X-energy’s Xe-Mobile

September 14, 2023, 3:06PMNuclear News

The Department of Defense announced on September 13 that it has awarded a contract option to X-energy for the “enhanced engineering design” of a microreactor that could serve as the transportable power source envisioned by the Strategic Capabilities Office’s (SCO) Project Pele. The DOD expects the award for one year of work to “allow a thorough analysis of design options,” resulting in a preliminary engineering design and “initiation of a regulatory preapplication process.”

Hanford begins removing Vit Plant startup heaters

September 14, 2023, 12:01PMRadwaste Solutions
A startup heater is removed from a melter in the Vit Plant’s Low-Activity Waste Facility. (Photo: DOE)

Workers at the Hanford Site’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, also known as the Vit Plant, have begun removing the first three of 18 temporary startup heaters, the Department of Energy announced on September 12. The startup heaters were used to raise the first of two 300-ton glass melters in the plant’s Low-Activity Waste Facility to its operating temperature of 2,100°F.

Chubu Electric to invest in NuScale

September 14, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News

Chubu Electric Power Company, owner and operator of the three-unit Hamaoka nuclear power plant in Japan’s Shizuoka Prefecture, has entered into an agreement to acquire issued shares in U.S. small modular reactor firm NuScale Power from Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), the utility announced on September 7. (JBIC bills itself as a government-owned, policy-based financial institution that prioritizes investment in businesses that will protect the global environment.)

Recap of UT Baker School's forum on nuclear energy's future

September 14, 2023, 7:01AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The Baker School of Public Policy and Public Affairs at the University of Tennessee—Knoxville hosted a presentation titled “A Conversation of the Future of Nuclear Energy in the United States” on Tuesday, September 5. Panelists were ANS member Jamie Coble, associate professor of nuclear engineering at UTK and associate editor of the American Nuclear Society journal Nuclear Technology; ANS member Scott Hunnewell, vice president for new nuclear at the Tennessee Valley Authority; and ANS member Andrew Nelson, section head for nuclear fuel development at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The discussion was moderated by Charles Sims, director of the Center for Energy, Transportation, and Environmental Policy at the Baker School.

In split from Euratom, U.K. will spend nearly $812 million on domestic fusion R&D

September 13, 2023, 12:06PMNuclear News

Having decided “to not associate to the Euratom Research and Training program (Euratom R&T) and, by extension, the Fusion for Energy Program,” the government of the United Kingdom announced plans on September 7 to support its homegrown UK Fusion Strategy by investing up to £650 million (about $811.8 million) through 2027 in a suite of research and development programs to support the country’s fusion sector and strengthen international collaboration. The funds are in addition to the £126 million (about $157.3 million) announced in November 2022 to support U.K. fusion R&D.

NRC issues new EIS for Turkey Point SLR, seeks public input

September 13, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
The Turkey Point nuclear power plant. (Photo: FPL)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has released for public comment a draft site-specific environmental impact statement concerning subsequent license renewal for the two reactors at Florida’s Turkey Point power plant. The EIS’s preliminary conclusion is that any environmental impacts from the continued operation of the units for a period of 20 years beyond their current expiration dates “are not so great that preserving the option of SLR for energy-planning decision-makers would be unreasonable.”

EPA adds Oklahoma’s Fansteel Metals site to National Priorities List

September 13, 2023, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions

The Environmental Protection Agency announced last week that it is adding Oklahoma’s Fansteel Metals/FMRI Superfund site to the National Priorities List. The list includes the nation’s most serious uncontrolled or abandoned releases of contamination and serves as the basis for prioritizing EPA Superfund cleanup funding and enforcement actions.

Holtec, Wolverine ink power purchase agreement for Palisades

September 12, 2023, 3:27PMNuclear News
The Palisades nuclear power plant.

Holtec International’s ongoing effort to repower Michigan’s closed Palisades nuclear plant made progress this week with the signing of a power purchase agreement (PPA) between the firm’s Holtec Palisades Energy LLC subsidiary and Wolverine Power Cooperative, a not-for-profit energy provider to the rural communities across Michigan.

New WNA report sees greater needs for fuel and power

September 12, 2023, 12:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe

According to the World Nuclear Association’s newly released Nuclear Fuel Report: Global Scenarios for Demand and Supply Availability 2023–2040, there will be more of an increased demand than previously anticipated for nuclear fuel services and nuclear power capacity over the next several years. The report notes that the increased need for nuclear energy is associated with government efforts to decarbonize energy supplies and achieve energy security as well as growing interest in deploying new large nuclear reactors and small modular reactors (SMRs). The report is available to order now.

New research funding will leverage machine learning and AI for fusion energy

September 12, 2023, 9:27AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy announced $29 million in funding for seven team awards for research in machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data resources for fusion energy sciences on August 31. In all, 19 institutions will build algorithms to address high-priority research opportunities in fusion and plasma sciences using interdisciplinary collaborations of fusion and plasma researchers teamed with data and computational scientists.

Time and nuclear technology

September 12, 2023, 7:08AMNuclear NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy

Hi friends, I hope you had a good summer. Like many of you, I took a break from my summer vacation to watch Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer. I’m an unabashed Nolan fan—Inception and Interstellar rank among my top 10 favorite movies—but I’ll admit that Oppenheimer required more time for me to digest.

The film itself is first-rate: powered by a taut screenplay, its stripped-down elemental cinematography largely validates the director’s decision not to use any computer-generated imagery (although a couple of quick CGI scenes from the K-25 enrichment facility or the X-10 graphite reactor would have been really cool). The result is a historically faithful, largely accurate celebration of the brilliant minds that enabled one of the most daring engineering feats of all time.

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.