U.K., South Korea form new clean energy partnership

November 28, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
U.K. energy security secretary Claire Coutinho and South Korean minister for trade, industry, and energy Moon Kyu Bang, following the signing of the U.K.-ROK Clean Energy Partnership. (Photo: @ClaireCoutinho/X)

The United Kingdom has announced a new partnership with South Korea to accelerate the clean energy transition by strengthening cooperation on low-carbon technologies, domestic climate policies, and civil nuclear energy.

Signed November 22 in London by British energy security and net zero secretary Claire Coutinho and South Korean minister for trade, industry, and energy Moon Kyu Bang, the partnership promotes U.K.-South Korean business collaboration, addressing barriers to trade and encouraging mutual development of the two nations’ energy sectors.

From the pages of Nuclear News: Industry update November 2023

November 28, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News

Here is a recap of industry happenings from the recent past:


Centrus-Oklo partnership expands

Oklo, a California-based developer of next-generation fission reactors, has expanded its partnership with Centrus Energy, a Maryland-based supplier of nuclear fuel and services. The two companies have been cooperating since 2021 on the development of Centrus’s American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon, Ohio, to produce high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) fuel. According to the companies’ new memorandum of understanding, Centrus will manufacture certain components for Oklo’s Aurora “powerhouse” reactor, a fast neutron reactor designed to generate up to 15 MW of power and operate for at least 10 years without refueling. The Aurora is also designed to produce usable heat. Centrus also has agreed to purchase electricity generated by the Aurora reactors, while Oklo has agreed to purchase HALEU fuel from the Piketon facility. The facility is expected to begin fuel production before the end of the year.

Hearing opportunity opens for Hermes 2 construction permit application

November 27, 2023, 3:09PMNuclear News
Kairos Power’s Hermes 2 demonstration plant (blue-topped building on the left) is planned to be built next to the Hermes demonstration reactor. (Image: Kairos Power)

A notice of opportunity from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was published in the November 22 Federal Register to intervene in an adjudicatory hearing on Kairos Power’s application for a construction permit to build the Hermes 2 test reactor facility in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

WIPP prepares to bring new ventilation system on line

November 27, 2023, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
Electrical circuits are tested during the commissioning of the new ventilation system at WIPP. (Photo: DOE)

Commissioning has begun on a new large-scale ventilation system at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico.

The Safety Significant Confinement Ventilation System (SSCVS) is expected to increase underground airflow from 170,000 cubic feet per minute up to 540,000 cfm. The increased airflow will allow for simultaneous underground waste emplacement, mining, and ground control work. Ground control, including bolting, controls the movement of salt rock—known as salt creep—in the WIPP underground.

The WM Symposia’s 50th year

November 27, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear NewsGary Benda

This spring, Waste Management Symposia will celebrate its 50th anniversary when the conference convenes in Phoenix, Ariz., on March 10–14, 2024. Since the first international conference in 1974, WMS has grown to nearly 3,000 attendees representing more than 30 countries. The conference is an open forum for the exchange of information and discussion of opportunities related to all aspects of radioactive waste and materials management. As a nonprofit organization, all proceeds from the WMS conference go toward providing education and information on global radioactive waste management.

Canadian provinces to share expertise on SMR development

November 27, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News

Dustin Duncan, Saskatchewan’s minister responsible for SaskPower (from left), and Todd Smith, Ontario’s minister of energy, at the master services agreement announcement in Regina, Saskatchewan. (Photo: OPG)

Ontario Power Generation and its Laurentis Energy Partners (LEP) subsidiary have announced details of a master services agreement with SaskPower to further Saskatchewan’s plans for small modular reactor deployment.

The agreement, announced on November 20, runs for up to five years and serves as a foundation for a long-term strategic partnership to streamline SMR development in the province. LEP is tasked in the agreement with program management, licensing, and operational readiness activities.

The design and legacy of Experimental Breeder Reactor-II

November 22, 2023, 4:16PMNuclear NewsJeremy Hampshire
Experimental Breeder Reactor-II (Photo: ANL)

If you head west out of Idaho Falls on U.S. Highway 20 and make your way across the Snake River Plain, it won’t be long before you’ll notice a silver dome in the distance to the north. One of the most recognizable structures in the history of nuclear energy, Experimental Breeder Reactor-II stands out from the desert landscape. The 890-square-mile site on which EBR-II is located is the former National Reactor Testing Station, now known as Idaho National Laboratory.

TAMU doctoral candidate seeks nuclear revival in the Philippines

November 22, 2023, 12:40PMNuclear News
A fuel rod is loaded into the core of PRR-1 SATER in this 2022 photo, in preparation for its operation. (Photo: PNRI)

The Philippines generates none of its electricity from nuclear energy. Until recently, it was even without a functioning research and training reactor. The lack of a nuclear facility has led to a dearth of scientific expertise in nuclear science and nuclear engineering in this nation of roughly 117 million people. Twenty-nine-year-old Ronald Daryll E. Gatchalian is on a mission to change that.

If we don’t decarbonize in time, do we have a Plan B?

November 22, 2023, 10:31AMNuclear NewsJames Conca
Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, as it began its cataclysmic eruption in 1991. Millions of tons of particulates were blown into the stratosphere, causing global cooling, similar to what solar geoengineering would do in a controlled way. (Photo: U.S. Geological Survey)

We’re failing.

We’re failing to decarbonize the world in any significant way. Global greenhouse gas emissions are still rising and appear on track to continue rising until at least 2040—the result of energizing the developing world.

Letting go

November 22, 2023, 8:09AMNuclear NewsCraig Piercy

Dear Nevada,

I hope you are doing well. We haven’t talked in a long time. I know you’ve moved on. But you know it’s been harder for me to do that.

Look, I’m sorry. I was forceful at times, and I know that made you feel trapped and caused you to question our relationship—pretty much from the beginning. But you also said some mean and untrue things about me. Your family still HATES me, which stinks, because we have a lot of history together.

Anyhow, just wanted to let you know that, while I might always hold out hope for a chance encounter with you that rekindles that old spark—and I will never part with our memory box—I am finally ready to move on to the next chapter of my life, and I understand that means letting go of you.

Nucleus RadioPharma to receive Lu-177 under agreement with SHINE

November 21, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News

Wisconsin-based fusion technology company SHINE Technologies has signed a long-term supply agreement with Nucleus RadioPharma for the supply of lutetium-177, a radioisotope used in cancer treatment therapies, including those in development for the treatment of neuroendocrine tumors, prostate cancer, and other solid tumors.

Contractors share Paducah job opportunities with students

November 21, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
Data analyst Emily Coriell (right) demonstrates a pipe crawling robot at the career opportunities event. (Photo: DOE)

Contractors at the Department of Energy’s Paducah Site teamed up recently to highlight career opportunities available at the site during the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce WKY (West Kentucky) Launch Experience.

How is consent-based siting changing the prospects for used fuel management?

November 21, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News

Patrick O’Brien

As someone who grew up in a community with an operating nuclear plant—Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, in Plymouth, Mass., on Cape Cod Bay—I had the luxury of a more thorough education on what nuclear power was (and what it wasn’t) from an early age. Unfortunately, growing up in the 1980s and ’90s, many of my contemporaries were not as lucky; their education on nuclear power came from The Simpsons.

While it is a show that influenced a generation in many ways, its portrayal of the nuclear industry had no basis in reality. Nuclear workers are among the most professional and highly trained people in the world. The standards by which used fuel and waste are handled and stored are some of the strictest of any industry. I have found, after nearly a decade in the nuclear industry, that the first thing I must help the public, media, and even elected officials understand is that used nuclear fuel is not green goo in a barrel, but a solid pellet stored safely in robust dry storage casks. Providing the facts—the science and technology—is the key to helping people understand a complex industry. Doing so in simple terms can help demystify nuclear power.

Plans for TerraPower’s “test and fill” sodium facility covered in draft EA

November 20, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
Image from the DOE’s draft EA showing a rendering of the TFF building. (Image: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations issued a draft environmental assessment (EA) in early November for a test and fill facility (TFF) that TerraPower plans to build in Kemmerer, Wyo.—the town selected two years ago to host the company’s first Natrium sodium fast reactor. The draft EA, open for comment through December 1, describes TerraPower’s plans to construct a nonnuclear facility that would safely store about 400,000 gallons of sodium to test coolant system designs and ultimately fill the planned reactor.

U.S., Philippines ink civil nuclear pact

November 20, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
Lotilla (seated, at left) and Blinken (seated, at right) sign the 123 Agreement in San Francisco. Looking on (left to right) are Ann Ganzer, principal deputy assistant secretary, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, U.S. State Department; Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Philippine president; and Daniel Kritenbrink, assistant secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, U.S. State Department. (Photo: @SecBlinken/X)

The United States and the Philippines last week signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement—known in policy wonk jargon as a 123 Agreement.

IAEA holds its annual nuclear law training program

November 20, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
IAEA director general Rafael Mariano Grossi welcomes participants at the annual session of the IAEA’s Nuclear Law Institute. (Photo: Dean Calma/IAEA)

As countries increasingly plan to adopt or expand nuclear energy to their energy grids, the importance of national and international nuclear law was underscored in recent remarks by Rafael Mariano Grossi, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s director general.

Tank waste disposal

November 17, 2023, 3:01PMNuclear NewsChris O’Neil
The 2F Evaporator at SRS. (Photo: Savannah River Site Photography)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management is responsible for roughly 90 million gallons of radioactive liquid waste at Idaho National Laboratory, the Hanford Site in Washington state, and the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. About 900,000 gallons of waste are stored at INL, 56 million gallons at Hanford, and roughly 36 million at SRS. A further 400,000 gallons of waste from various operations are being stored at the Oak Ridge Site in Tennessee.