Video series focuses on Power, Politics and the Grid

February 16, 2024, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe


Chemist, author, nuclear energy advocate, and ANS member Meredith Angwin recently reached out to David Blackmon about Juice: Power, Politics and the Grid, a series of five short videos that she calls “a splendid resource for people who want to know about the electric grid.” Blackmon, a writer and 40-year veteran of the energy industry who is a fan of both Angwin and the video shorts, reposted her review on his Substack, “Energy Transition Absurdities.”

The videos, produced by Austin, Texas–based filmmakers Robert Bryce and Tyson Culver, feature interviews with Angwin and others as they “expose the perils facing our electric grid [and show] how we can improve the reliability of our most important energy network and address climate change by embracing nuclear energy.”

MARAD decommissioning Savannah : What’s next?

February 16, 2024, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe
The N.S. Savannah. (Photo: N.S. Savannah Association)

What will happen to the retired nuclear-powered merchant ship, the N.S. Savannah? The Maritime Administration (MARAD) of the Department of Transportation is investigating possibilities for the vessel’s future, whether it be in disposition, transportation, or preservation.

Bulgaria, U.S. partner on nuclear program

February 16, 2024, 7:01AMNuclear News
Assistant energy secretary for international affairs Andrew Light (seated, left) and Bulgarian energy minister Rumen Radev (seated, right) sign the new agreement in Bulgaria. (Photo: U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria)

Officials from the United States and Bulgaria inked a deal this week to cooperate as Bulgaria further develops its civil nuclear power program.

A working group will explore plans to design, construct, and commission two new units at Bulgaria’s Kozloduy nuclear power plant. The two countries will also “explore collaboration on research and training programs and developing Bulgaria's nuclear supply chain resilience,” according to reports.

Startup heaters installed in Hanford’s second waste melter

February 15, 2024, 12:04PMRadwaste Solutions
One of 18 startup heaters is installed in Hanford’s second melter, which will be used to vitrify liquid waste. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management announced that crews at the Hanford Site’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, also known as the Vit Plant, recently installed 18 temporary startup heaters in the second of two melters in the plant’s Low-Activity Waste Facility.

Vogtle-4 hits start-up milestone

February 15, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News
Vogtle-4, pictured in August 2023. (Photo: Georgia Power)

Georgia Power’s Vogtle-4, located near Waynesboro, Ga., reached initial criticality this week, hitting a major milestone in the start-up of the reactor.

The company announced the news on February 14. Initial criticality demonstrates that operators have safely started the nuclear reactor, or, in other words, the fission reaction within the unit is now self-sustaining and the nuclear reactor is ready to produce heat.

U.S. must become “world leader in nuclear power” again

February 15, 2024, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe



Two U.S. representatives—Chuck Fleischmann (R., Tenn.) and Byron Donalds (R., Fla.)—have published an op-ed in the Washington Examiner that calls for the United States to seize “the current nuclear economic opportunity worldwide” and “once again be the world leader in nuclear power.” The congressmen emphasize that “it is in the best interest of the United States and the rest of the world for our country, instead of China and Russia, to be the preferred partner for embarking nuclear nations.”

Atoms for Peace: Fleischmann and Donalds argue that President Dwight Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” speech in 1953 established the foundational principles for the domestic and global success of the U.S. civil nuclear energy industry—and they urge the nation to reclaim those principles now. They point to the numerous benefits of nuclear energy, ranging from economic development to desalination to sustainable fuel creation, and note that the “global market is ripe for nuclear technology.”

ANS calls for a public meeting with NRC on RIPB design standard

February 14, 2024, 3:00PMNuclear News

The American Nuclear Society has published the first voluntary consensus standard for nuclear reactor design that formally incorporates risk-informed, performance-based (RIPB) decision-making in July 2022. ANSI/ANS-30.3-2022, Light Water Reactor Risk-Informed, Performance-Based Design, tells reactor designers how they can incorporate RIPB principles and methods to ensure safety in new commercial light water reactor designs, and it includes a spectrum of options using both deterministic and risk-based approaches. As the first such standard, ANSI/ANS-30.3-2022 represents progress toward the adoption of RIPB principles for nuclear regulation and licensing—a shift the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was directed to make in the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act, which became law five years ago.

Still time to submit for NSTOR collections on policy issues

February 14, 2024, 7:00AMANS News

ANS’s fully open research platform Nuclear Science and Technology Open Research (NSTOR) has two collections forming that aim to capture opinions and data on cross-cutting policy topics.

PanTera to supply Ac-225 to Bayer

February 13, 2024, 3:00PMNuclear News

PanTera, a Belgian joint venture created by Ion Beam Applications (IBA) and SCK CEN, has signed a capacity reservation agreement with pharmaceutical giant Bayer for the supply of actinium-225 starting in the second half of 2024. An alpha-emitting radioisotope with a half-life of 10 days, Ac-225 has shown potential for treating various types of cancer through targeted alpha therapy.


Transformer fire shuts down nuclear reactors in France

February 13, 2024, 12:30PMNuclear News
Chinon nuclear power plant in France. (Photo: Wargus/Wikimapia)

A fire this past weekend at Chinon nuclear power plant in France forced two reactors to be shut down. According to initial reports, a transformer in a nonnuclear sector of Unit 3 caught fire.

The incident occurred February 10 in the early morning hours, local time, and the fire was quickly extinguished.

Cancer-resistant genes in wolf population at Chernobyl?

February 13, 2024, 9:40AMANS Nuclear Cafe


The thriving gray wolf population in the Chernobyl exclusion zone (CEZ) has been the subject of recent media interest. While some sensationalist reports have referred to “mutant wolves” with “superpowers,” other news outlets have offered more sober discussions of the science behind the story.

Cara N. Love, a biologist and postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University, has been following the wolf population. Her research in the Chernobyl exclusion zone (CEZ) in Ukraine and Polesie State Radioecological Reserve in Belarus is helping biologists understand how nature adapts to chronic radiation exposure.

RIPB safety case for TerraPower’s MCRE

February 13, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear News

Last month at the American Nuclear Society’s Risk-informed, Performance-based Principles and Policy Committee’s (RP3C’s) Community of Practice (CoP), Brandon Chisholm presented “Development of a Risk-Informed and Performance-Based Safety Case for TerraPower’s Molten Chloride Reactor Experiment (MCRE).” RP3C holds a CoP on the last Friday of the month from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (ET), and participation is open to all professionals interested in RIPB principles and practices. Chisholm’s January 26 presentation is available to stream on YouTube.

Act now: Comments sought on hydrogen tax credit

February 12, 2024, 4:37PMNuclear News
The U.S. Treasury Department building in Washington, D.C.

Two weeks remain for public comments on the proposed language in the new federal rules proposed for hydrogen production tax credits. A public hearing on the regulations is scheduled for March 25, 2024.

While the federal proposal is largely popular among environmentalists and some pronuclear advocates, there are concerns from others that it would cut out opportunities for existing legacy nuclear plants that are well-equipped to convert part of their operations to hydrogen production. The proposed rules require hydrogen to come from newly built resources—the largest obstacle for legacy nuclear sites but further incentive to deploy new reactors—and would permit using natural gas if employed with carbon capture and sequestration.

Richland critiques “home, safety, [and] whiteness” of proud nuclear company town

February 12, 2024, 12:03PMANS Nuclear Cafe


The documentary film Richland, which won awards at the Tribeca Festival and Sheffield (U.K.) DocFest last year, continues to gain exposure. Directed by Irene Lusztig, a self-described “feminist filmmaker, archival researcher, educator, and seamstress,” the documentary explores the community and “nuclear origin story” of Richland, Washington, a town that was built by the U.S. government to house Hanford Site workers who made the weapons-grade plutonium for the atomic bombs of the Manhattan Project.

Washington State University offered a free screening of the documentary last week at its main Pullman campus, followed by a discussion with the director and Robert Franklin, an assistant professor in history at the university’s Tri-Cities campus and the assistant director and archivist for the Hanford History Project.

Cold War nuclear artifact prompts police call

February 12, 2024, 10:31AMANS Nuclear Cafe

It’s not every day that local police departments find nuclear missiles in garages. But that’s what the bomb squad of the Bellevue, Washington, police department encountered on February 1 when they responded to a call. Fortunately, the missile turned out to be inert. It was a McDonnell Douglas AIR-2A Genie unguided air-to-air rocket (once known as an MB-1), which was designed to carry a 1.5 kiloton W25 nuclear warhead, but there was no warhead on the rusted rocket in the garage.

ANS members encouraged to apply for 2025 Congressional fellowship

February 12, 2024, 7:21AMANS News

On February 5, the application process has officially opened for the Glenn T. Seaborg Congressional Science and Engineering Fellowship. The American Nuclear Society invites its members to apply for the fellowship, which helps the Society fulfill its strategic goal of enhancing nuclear public policy. Fellows work on energy legislation in the halls of Congress as a representative of ANS, either in a congressional member’s personal office or with a committee.

Wayne Newhauser: A study on the professional radiation workforce

February 9, 2024, 1:11PMNuclear News


Wayne Newhauser is a professor and the Charles M. Smith Chair of Medical Physics at Louisiana State University. Newhauser and Georgia Tech’s Shaheen Dewji—both longtime American Nuclear Society members—worked on a multiyear study that looked at workforce issues for six of the most important radiation professions.

An article authored by Newhauser and Dewji that looks in-depth at the study will be published at a later date in Nuclear News.

Newhauser sat down with NN editor-in-chief Rick Michal to talk about the study and its findings, published last year in the Journal of Applied Clinical Medical Physics.