Major concrete work completed on Savannah River disposal unit

June 13, 2024, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
All major concrete placements have been completed on Saltstone Disposal Unit 10, the latest megavolume disposal unit being built at the Savannah River Site. This aerial view shows the final roof section being installed on the unit. (Photo: DOE-EM)

With the placement of 25 wall sections, 208 support columns, and 7 roof sections, work crews have completed all major concrete placements for the megavolume Saltstone Disposal Unit (SDU) 10 at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, according to the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management.

Hanford exploring use of cold spray technology to maintain waste tanks

June 13, 2024, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
Stephanie Doll of WRPS poses next to the metal patch applied during the demonstration. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management and its contractor Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) recently demonstrated the use of cold spray technology as a means of refurbishing double-shell waste tanks at the Hanford Site in Washington state. The tanks store liquid radioactive and chemical waste that was created during Hanford’s plutonium production era.

Two ANS certificate courses to be delivered this summer

June 13, 2024, 7:00AMANS News

The American Nuclear Society President’s Special Committee on Certification is continuing to make progress toward launching a nuclear certification program. The program, which was outlined to the ANS Board of Directors in 2023, is being designed to help establish industry standards and bridge workforce gaps in the nuclear sector to address the growing demand for qualified professionals in the nuclear industry.

Australian undergrads take on tokamak project

June 12, 2024, 3:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

A computer rendering of a tokamak device designed by students at the University of New South Wales. (Credit: UNSW)

A recent article on Australia’s ABC News website highlighted the work of undergraduate physics and engineering students at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) to design, build, and operate their own small nuclear fusion reactor. The ambitious work, known as the AtomCraft project, is being led by associate professor Patrick Burr with the objective of producing a student-built tokamak reactor by the end of 2026.

Australia-based HB-11 Energy and U.K.-based Tokamak Energy have partnered with UNSW for the project.

Research goals: The AtomCraft project has the following research goals for participating students, according to its website:

Our team aims [to] make the world’s first fusion reactor entirely designed, built, and operated by students. And [to] do so in 2 years. You will develop innovative solutions to engineering challenges across many engineering disciplines, work closely with industry partners, and be part a vibrant team of enthusiastic and dedicated people who want to push the boundaries of what is possible with fusion energy.

DOE approves safety design strategy for Radiant microreactor test plan

June 12, 2024, 12:01PMNuclear News
Concept art showing the delivery of Radiant’s Kaleidos to the DOME test bed. (Image: Radiant Industries/Ryan Seper)

Radiant Industries announced on June 4 that the safety design strategy (SDS) for a test of its Kaleidos microreactor in the National Reactor Innovation Center’s DOME test bed at Idaho National Laboratory now has approval from the Department of Energy. Radiant hopes to test Kaleidos—a 1-MW high-temperature, gas-cooled reactor—by 2026 and then market portable commercial reactors to power remote locations and provide backup or primary power for critical applications in hospitals or for disaster relief.

Surveys reveal public support for, but some concerns on, nuclear energy

June 12, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News
Trends in percentages of the U.S. public favoring or opposing nuclear energy from 1983 to 2024. (Graphic: Bisconti Research)

Results of two new surveys have shed light on American public opinion regarding nuclear energy. The surveys, which were conducted with very different methods, offer generally encouraging news for the nuclear industry.

UC–Irvine student section does STEM outreach for young women

June 12, 2024, 7:00AMANS News
A student observes the ANS Visualizing Radiation Cloud Chamber at the PPPL Young Women’s Conference. (Photo: ANS Student Section/University of California–Irvine)

The American Nuclear Society Student Section at University of California–Irvine presented ANS STEM learning materials at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory Young Women’s Conference in STEM. Members of the section were on hand at the May 17 conference, held at University of California–San Diego, with Geiger counters, an ANS Visualizing Radiation Cloud Chamber Kit, pellet cards, and more, courtesy of ANS STEM Programs.

California lawmakers, governor at odds over Diablo Canyon funding

June 11, 2024, 3:01PMNuclear News
Gov. Gavin Newsom visits Diablo Canyon in this 2023 photo (Source: Governor’s office)

In budget discussions conducted last week, the California legislature rejected a $400 million budget item to help keep the state’s sole remaining nuclear plant operational.

Diablo Canyon—owned by Pacific Gas & Electric—has been the subject of much debate in California. To meet grid demands during a record hot summer in 2022, Gov. Gavin Newsom had cut a deal to give $1.4 billion to support continued operations at the 2,200-MWe nuclear facility.

Florida mosquitoes targeted by nuclear-derived sterile insect technique

June 11, 2024, 12:01PMNuclear News
Release of sterile mosquitoes on Captiva Island in Lee County, Fla. (Photo: LCMCD)

Sterile mosquitoes are being used to reduce the population of insecticide-resistant Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in Fort Myers, Fla., which can spread viruses including dengue, yellow fever, Zika, and chikungunya.

DOE receives AAR approval of its spent fuel transport railcar

June 11, 2024, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
The Atlas railcar carries a test load simulating a shipment of spent nuclear fuel. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy announced last week that the Association of American Railroads has certified its Atlas railcar system to operate on all major freight railroads in the United States.

Watch a video of the Atlas railcar development here.

TerraPower breaks ground on SMR project in Wyoming

June 11, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear News
Craig Piercy, ANS Executive Director/CEO (third from left), and ANS Board member Jess Gehin, associate laboratory director for nuclear science & technology at Idaho National Laboratory (second from left), join other officials at the ceremonial groundbreaking for TerraPower’s Natrium reactor demonstration project.

A ceremony in Wyoming yesterday marked the official start of construction of TerraPower’s planned Natrium reactor demonstration project.

While currently awaiting final review from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, TerraPower is moving forward with nonnuclear construction work at a retired coal plant near Kemmerer, Wyo. The groundbreaking brought together TerraPower leaders, government officials, Natrium project partners, industry advocates, and community supporters.

Past DOE officials reflect on their tenures and future of nuclear industry

June 10, 2024, 3:04PMANS News

At the “Past Department of Energy Nuclear Energy Officials Roundtable” webinar on May 20, the American Nuclear Society gathered six past assistant secretaries for the Office of Nuclear Energy for a very special discussion. The group of stellar leaders, who have shaped the current state of innovation and growth around nuclear energy, shared insights from their time as NE-1 and their perspectives about where we must go from here.

New fusion energy strategies and partnerships announced at White House event

June 10, 2024, 12:00PMNuclear News

Just one week after the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy hosted a summit on domestic nuclear deployment, they filled a room again on June 6 for a livestreamed event cohosted with the Department of Energy to announce a new DOE fusion energy strategy and new public-private partnership programs, and to hear directly from stakeholders—including scientists, private fusion companies, investors, and end users—during panel discussions on fusion science and technology progress and the path to fusion energy commercialization.

DOE announces first clean energy project for INL

June 10, 2024, 9:31AMRadwaste Solutions
The Materials and Fuels Complex at INL. (Photo: INL)

The Department of Energy will enter into lease negotiations with two solar energy developers for 400 megawatts of solar electricity generation within the Idaho National Laboratory site. Announced on June 5, the projects are the first proposed projects selected under the department’s Cleanup to Clean Energy initiative, an effort to repurpose parts of DOE-owned lands—portions of which were previously used in the nation’s nuclear weapons program—into sites of clean-energy generation, including for solar, geothermal, wind, and nuclear.

Oklo’s Diané presents at Community of Practice

June 10, 2024, 7:00AMANS News

The American Nuclear Society’s Risk-informed, Performance-based Principles and Policy Committee (RP3C) held another Community of Practice (CoP) on April 26. For this event, the committee welcomed Mory Diané of Oklo. RP3C chair N. Prasad Kadambi led with a brief introduction before Diané shared Oklo's risk-informed, performance-based (RIPB) approach to seismic design categorization and seismic siting characterization.

Diané, a licensing manager with Oklo, is a structural engineer with a background in civil engineering

Words from Westinghouse: The nuclear supply chain impacts and challenges

June 7, 2024, 3:04PMNuclear NewsGuest Contributor
A cut-away view of Westinghouse’s AP300 reactor. (Image: Westinghouse)

Power generation from nuclear fission as a clean and stable source of electricity has secured the interest of policymakers and industry leaders around the globe. Last fall, the United States spearheaded a pledge at COP28 to get countries to agree to triple nuclear capacity worldwide, and recently the members of the Group of 7 (G7) nations that currently use nuclear power have reaffirmed their pledges to invest in that power source to cut carbon emissions.

As of this writing, U.S. policymakers are trying to make good on that promise by passing legislation to support nuclear power, funding the domestic fuel supply chain, and working to pass the ADVANCE Act. On top of the support from Washington, D.C., power-hungry industries like data centers and chemical engineering are looking to secure stable, carbon-free power directly from power plants.

Curtiss-Wright acquires Ultra Energy

June 7, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News

North Carolina-based Curtiss-Wright has entered into an agreement to acquire Ultra Energy, a subsidiary of the U.K.-headquartered Ultra Electronics Holdings. Ultra Energy is a designer and manufacturer of reactor protection systems, neutron monitoring systems, radiation monitoring systems, and temperature and pressure sensors. The $200 million deal is expected to close this year in the third quarter, subject to U.K. regulatory approval.

Sometimes when the earth moves, not everyone notices

June 7, 2024, 7:01AMNuclear NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy

On August 23, 2011, at 1:51 p.m., I was standing next to Matt Milazzo, a former ANS Congressional Fellow, on the sidewalk of a high-traffic D.C. street. We were saying goodbye after a pleasant lunch. At that exact moment, a seismic wave from a 5.9 magnitude earthquake in Mineral, Va.—one that would be felt as far away as Canada and cause hundreds of millions of dollars in damage—rippled under my feet. Perhaps it felt too familiar, like a heavy truck passing by, or maybe the oscillation peaked just as I was turning to walk back to my office. Either way, I didn’t feel a thing. The largest East Coast earthquake in 100 years, and I missed it. Completely. It wasn’t until I saw the stunned faces of my colleagues and a few picture frames scattered on the floor of my office that I understood the gravity of the moment.

Today, as I wrap my head around the stunningly large amount of energy that will be required to support advanced data center and AI functions in the coming years, I get the same feeling—that something big and consequential has happened in my larger world and I have been slow to perceive the magnitude of it.

Xcimer raises $100 million to invest in inertial fusion laser tech

June 6, 2024, 3:00PMNuclear News
Xcimer Energy’s headquarters in Denver, Colo. (Photo: Xcimer Energy)

Xcimer Energy announced June 4 that it has raised $100 million in Series A financing for a new facility in Denver, Colo., that will host a prototype laser system with “the world’s largest nonlinear optical pulse compression system.” As a private fusion developer, Xcimer wants to “extend the proven science of inertial fusion to industrial scale” with the help of that laser system and “key technologies and innovations from multiple fields.”