FIRE: The DOE’s new plan for “building bridges” to fusion energy

June 4, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear News
A slide on the FIRE collaboratives presented during a recent FES webinar. (Graphic: FES)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) wants Fusion Innovation Research Engine (FIRE) collaboratives to be a bridge between FES’s basic science research programs and the growing fusion industry. A funding opportunity announcement released May 22 explains that FIRE will be a “transformative initiative aimed at creating a fusion innovation ecosystem” with virtual, centrally managed collaboratives working on “end-use inspired” fusion science and technology R&D.

Officials celebrate Vogtle-3 and -4, hint at future Unit 5

June 3, 2024, 3:00PMNuclear News
Georgia Gov. Kemp and others visited the Vogtle nuclear power plant. (Photo: Gov. Brian Kemp's Office)

As he joined with other state officials and community stakeholders at a celebration last week marking the completion of Vogtle Units 3 and 4, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said there’s potential for a fifth nuclear reactor at the site.

DOE appoints Candice Robertson to role of EM-1

June 3, 2024, 12:00PMNuclear News



The Department of Energy has selected Candice Robertson to head the department’s Office of Environmental Management as acting assistant secretary (EM-1). Robertson has over 20 years of experience in radioactive waste management and previously served as principal deputy assistant secretary and as an associate principal deputy assistant secretary for DOE-EM.

Robertson replaces William "Ike" White, who was nominated by President Biden on May 23 to serve on the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, the independent agency responsible for ensuring that DOE facilities are protective of public health and safety. White, who has held the position of EM-1 since June 2019, will continue to serve as a senior advisor while he awaits confirmation to the DNFSB.

TerraPower backs metallic HALEU pilot plant at Framatome’s Richland site

June 3, 2024, 7:01AMNuclear News
Framatome’s fuel fabrication facility in Richland, Wash. (Photo: Framatome)

TerraPower announced May 29 that it will work with Framatome North America to fund the high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) metallization pilot plant that Framatome is building at its fuel fabrication facility in Richland, Wash. A successful demonstration of Framatome’s capability of converting enriched uranium oxide to HALEU metal will “support the development of the domestic HALEU supply chain,” both companies say.

Bowman & Smith on NRC security programs

May 31, 2024, 3:04PMNuclear News
The NRC's Greg Bowman (left) and George Smith. (Photos: NRC)

Greg Bowman and George Smith work for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in implementing programs that deal with risk, whether to nuclear power plants or from nuclear materials, such as radiological sabotage and theft or diversion of materials. Bowman is the director of the NRC’s Division of Physical and Cybersecurity Policy in the Office of Nuclear Security and Incident Response. Smith is the senior project manager for security in the Source Management & Protection Branch of the Division of Materials Safety, Security, State, and Tribal Programs in the Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards.

The three initiatives Bowman and Smith discussed with Nuclear News editor-in-chief Rick Michal are the Insider Threat Program, the Cybersecurity Program, and the Domestic Safeguards Program.

Nagra refutes involvement with transmutation tech start-up

May 31, 2024, 11:59AMRadwaste Solutions
Transmutex’s transmutation reactor. (Image: Transmutex)

Switzerland’s national cooperative for the disposal of radioactive waste, Nagra, is distancing itself from recent reports regarding the work of the Geneva-based engineering start-up Transmutex, which claims to have developed a new technology for the transmutation of radioactive waste.

Halil Avci: ANS member since 1978

May 31, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News

. . . and today.

Halil Avci in 1975 . . .

We welcome ANS members who have careered in the community to submit their own Nuclear Legacy stories, so that the personal history of nuclear power can be captured. For information on submitting your stories, contact

For me, going into nuclear engineering was an adventure. In 1968, as a 17-year-old in a small village in western Turkey, I took a government exam designed to select students to send abroad for college. I had to pick a major and a country before the exam, so I picked nuclear engineering and America because they both seemed exciting and full of potential. I came to the United States with the intent to obtain my bachelor’s degree and return to Turkey without delay, because I was told that I was needed to work on the construction of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant starting in 1974. That nuclear plant project did not materialize as planned, nor did I return to Turkey as expected.

Duke partnering with Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Nucor on energy security

May 30, 2024, 3:00PMNuclear News
Photo: Duke Energy

Duke Energy announced agreements yesterday with Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Nucor to accelerate clean energy deployments in the Carolinas through a new rate structure proposal.

The company signed memoradums of understanding this month that include proposed Accelerating Clean Energy (ACE) tariffs that would help offset the long-term costs of investing in clean energy technologies, such as new nuclear and energy storage, through early commitments. Duke announced its partnership with the tech and utility giants at this week’s White House Summit on Domestic Nuclear Deployment aimed at strengthening the U.S. nuclear industry.

Savannah River Site's one-of-a-kind transporter makes pit stop

May 30, 2024, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
The Savannah River Site’s shielded canister transporter. (Photo: DOE)

The large vehicle used to transport highly radioactive canisters at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site has completed a pit stop to ensure the continued movement of the site’s radioactive liquid waste work.

Dirty bombs: The terror and the truth

May 30, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear NewsJames Conca

James Conca

The term “dirty bomb” surfaces occasionally, usually in the context of nuclear waste, which, while understandable, is incorrect.

Dirty bombs, or radiation dispersal devices (RDDs), use conventional methods like car bombs to disperse radioactive materials in populated economic districts, such as lower Manhattan. The point is to cause great economic and social disruption disproportionate to the actual radiological effects—and well beyond the physical destruction from the conventional bomb components.

Society’s irrational fear of radiation makes the dirty bomb an ultimate weapon of terror. But it is a psychological weapon, not a nuclear one. The public should not be any more afraid of a dirty bomb than they are of an ordinary car bomb.


Biden launches nuclear power projects working group in push to deployment

May 29, 2024, 3:00PMNuclear News

Nuclear energy advocates attended a White House summit today on domestic nuclear deployment and will help advise a new federal initiative to support building new grid-scale nuclear reactors.

The event showcased recent policy developments and new industry investments that have changed the playing field—for the better—for nuclear during the past few years. The White House is calling it “the largest sustained push to accelerate civil nuclear deployment in the United States in nearly five decades.”

Oklo, Wyoming Hyperscale partner for data center energy

May 29, 2024, 12:01PMNuclear News
Oklo’s Aurora Powerhouse (Image: Gensler)

California-based Oklo is partnering with Wyoming Hyperscale to power a state-of-the-art data center campus.

The companies, which announced the partnership last week, signed a nonbinding letter of intent to provide 100 megawatts of carbon-free energy for a 20-year power purchase agreement. Wyoming Hyperscale is building a data center on 58 acres of land on Aspen Mountain, a remote site southeast of Evanston, Wyo., and plans to use Oklo’s Aurora Powerhouse units to provide clean energy at the site.

Framatome to install new pipe liner at U.S. plant

May 29, 2024, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe
Framatome’s spray liner rehabilitates buried piping and underground components. (Photo: Framatome)

Framatome was recently awarded a multimillion-dollar contract to perform mitigation of buried condenser feed pipes at a three-unit nuclear power plant in the United States.

The France-based nuclear company plans to install spray-in-place structural pipe liner to mitigate more than one mile of large diameter underground piping connected to plant condenser boxes. The project will be performed during nine outages over eight years, with the first application planned for fall 2025.

DOE ready to consider Russian U ban waivers

May 29, 2024, 7:01AMNuclear News

Utilities need to know months ahead of a scheduled refueling outage that fresh fuel will be on-site and ready to load. Now that the Prohibiting Russian Uranium Imports Act has been signed into law, U.S. utilities with plans to use Russian-origin low-enriched uranium also need to know if they can secure a waiver for imports through December 31, 2027—subject to specific annual limits—if “no alternative viable source of [LEU] is available to sustain the continued operation of a nuclear reactor or a United States nuclear energy company” or if LEU imports from Russia are “in the national interest.”

Retirees and older pros return to the nuclear industry

May 28, 2024, 2:58PMANS Nuclear Cafe

The U.K.-based Financial Times recently featured an article focusing on the return of retirees and the extending of professional careers in the nuclear industry in Western countries. According to the article, “the nuclear power industry is seeking to lure back thousands of retired engineers and older professionals as Western companies try to fill a skills gap to deliver the biggest wave of new projects in decades.”

U.K. announces new site for mega-nuclear power station

May 28, 2024, 12:00PMNuclear News

The United Kingdom has announced a northern Wales site as its preferred location for a third mega-nuclear power station as the nation aims to support long-term energy security.

Following its plans to build nuclear facilities at Hinkley in Somerset and Sizewell in Suffolk, both in England, U.K. officials hope to revive the nuclear history of Wylfa, in Wales, and bring thousands of jobs and major investment to the area. The government is kickstarting talks with global energy firms in hopes of building a nuclear plant in Wylfa that could provide enough energy to power 6 million homes for 60 years.

Americium-241 heat source planned for Mars rover in a space exploration first

May 28, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News
Concept art of ESA’s Rosalind Franklin rover. (Image: ESA/ATG medialab)

Europe’s first Mars rover—named Rosalind Franklin—was months away from a planned September launch when the European Space Agency (ESA) convened a meeting a few weeks after Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine. The ESA Council unanimously agreed on “the present impossibility” of working with Roscosmos as its launch partner and later decided to reboot its ExoMars mission with a new lander, new partners, and a new launch date.