“You’ve got this; we’ve got this”

July 1, 2024, 7:01AMNuclear NewsLisa Marshall

Lisa Marshall
president@ans.org

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your American Nuclear Society president. The support from within the Society, academia, professional organizations, and international partners has been heartwarming. Students have expressed joy about what the future holds, and they are ready, as am I, to be part of keeping the industry moving forward.

The year 2001 was pivotal for me; it represented my start in nuclear engineering. My career has centered around precollege and university students. To be cliché, they are our future, and we must continue to support their maturation in the field and in ANS. My cup is full when students thrive, and the Society has made many gains in this arena. We have a robust K-12 STEM program that continues to be refined, and partners among educators and organizations that strengthen the routes into the discipline.

NRC engineers share their expertise at the University of Puerto Rico

June 28, 2024, 2:56PMNuclear News
Marcos Rolón-Acevedo (left) and Robert Roche-Rivera pose at UPRM at the beginning of their adjunct professorships in August 2023. (Photo: NRC/UPRM)

Robert Roche-Rivera and Marcos Rolón-Acevedo are licensed professional engineers who work at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. They are also alumni of the University of Puerto Rico–Mayagüez (UPRM) and have been sharing their knowledge and experience with students at their alma mater since last year, serving as adjunct professors in the university’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. During the 2023–2024 school year, they each taught two courses: Fundamentals of Nuclear Science and Engineering, and Nuclear Power Plant Engineering.

With $3.4 billion to spend, the DOE opens RFP for low-enriched uranium

June 28, 2024, 12:01PMNuclear News

The Department of Energy released an anticipated request for proposals on June 27 for low-enriched uranium enrichment. “Today’s action will help spur the safe and responsible build-out of uranium enrichment capacity in the United States, promote diversity in the market, and provide a reliable supply of commercial nuclear fuel to support the energy security and resilience of the American people and domestic industries, free from Russian influence,” the DOE declared.

Aptim wins $630 million contract for cleanup of naval reactor sites

June 28, 2024, 9:40AMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management awarded a 10-year contract worth up to $630 million to Louisiana-based Aptim Federal Services for deactivation and decommissioning work at two U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program sites in New York.

House Energy and Water Subcommittee set to mark up FY 2025 appropriations bill

June 28, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear News

A subcommittee markup of the House energy and water fiscal year 2025 appropriations bill is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. (EDT) today. The appropriations package would fund energy and water development and related agencies through Sept. 30, 2025.

“I’m proud that [the bill] continues to build off the work of our FY 2024 bill to strengthen America’s strategic nuclear stockpile, revitalize our ability to enrich uranium domestically, invest in our long-term energy security, and maintain our country’s ports and inland waterways,” said Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R., Tenn.), chair of the energy subcommittee.

ANS Annual Conference: Nuclear waste

June 27, 2024, 3:03PMNuclear News
The waste management panel, from left: moderator Todd Allen, Fred Dilger of Nevada, Katrina McMurrian of the NWSC, the DOE’s Paul Murray, Jenifer Shafer of ARPA-E, and Kuhika Gupta of the University of Oklahoma. (Photo: ANS)

With increasing demand for clean, reliable, and safe sources of energy, the conversation around nuclear energy is changing. And so too is the conversation around nuclear waste, even as the country struggles to find a path for the disposal of its spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. From community engagement, to recycling, to existing success around other forms of nuclear waste management, the conversation around nuclear waste has many different angles, and an executive session of the American Nuclear Society’s 2024 Annual Conference in Las Vegas aimed to delve into some of those discussions.

Seabed mining for critical metals: A brilliant idea, or another environmental catastrophe?

June 27, 2024, 12:00PMNuclear NewsJames Conca
Several-inch-diameter manganese nodules just sit on the ocean floor and can be collected with little to no actual mining, as opposed to severe mining on land. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Regardless of how you power our grid or how you attempt to decarbonize our economy, we will need many various metals to achieve any future, or even to just continue with business as usual. Critical metals like cobalt, lithium, nickel, and neodymium are essential to a low-carbon-energy future if renewables and electric vehicles are to play a large role.1 Even if nuclear provides 100 percent of our power, just operating the grid and electrifying most sectors will take huge amounts of critical metals like copper, notwithstanding the fact that nuclear power requires the least amount of metals and other materials of any energy source.

Durable gallium-based transistors could improve reactor monitoring

June 27, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News
Kyle Reed and Dianne Ezell of ORNL gather data about the performance of a sensor transistor as it is tested against the radiation within the reactor pool behind them at Ohio State University’s Nuclear Reactor Laboratory. (Photo: Michael Huson/The Ohio State University)

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory want to make the sensors in nuclear power plants more accurate by linking them to electronics that can withstand the intense radiation inside a reactor. Electronics containing transistors made with gallium nitride, a wide-bandgap semiconductor, have been tested in the ionizing radiation environment of space. Now, according to a June 24 article from ORNL, tests carried out in the research reactor at Ohio State University indicate they could withstand neutron bombardment within a nuclear fission reactor.

GAIN vouchers tackle LWR risk modeling and advanced reactor fuel salts

June 27, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear News
Entergy’s River Bend in St. Francisville, La., a boiling water reactor and one of five Entergy nuclear power reactors. (Photo: Entergy)

The Department of Energy’s Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) announced June 20 that two companies—one power plant operator and one advanced reactor developer—are getting vouchers to access the extensive nuclear research capabilities and expertise available across the DOE national laboratories in the third round of GAIN vouchers awarded for fiscal year 2024. 

Simulated radiological release tests SRS response teams

June 26, 2024, 3:00PMNuclear News
SRS firefighters responded to a staged scene outside of K Area’s Criticality Control Overpack pad. The firefighters followed an Incident Action Plan to maximize the safety of responders and role-playing victims for effective extraction. (Photo: DOE/SRNS)

Earlier this month, nearly 250 personnel at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site in South Carolina took part in an annual exercise to test preparedness for a radiological release and contamination emergency.

ACU and Natura expect molten salt research reactor construction permit this fall

June 26, 2024, 12:01PMNuclear News
Concept art of ACU’s NEXT Lab. (Image: ACU)

Natura Resources, which is supporting the construction of a molten salt research reactor on the campus of Texas’s Abilene Christian University, announced in mid-June that it expects the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to complete its safety assessment and issue a permit for the nonpower test reactor in September.

Arnold Fritsch: ANS member since 1957

June 26, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News

. . . and today.

Fritsch in 1969 . . .

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 nucnews@ans.org.

It was a summer day in 1956 in Berkeley, Calif., when I, a freshly minted Ph.D., left Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to travel to Pittsburgh, Pa., to join Westinghouse’s Commercial Atomic Power (CAPA) program. We were going to develop a large homogeneous power reactor—the future of energy. A year later, my efforts were diverted to lead what may have been one of the first nuclear safeguards equipment development programs funded by the Atomic Energy Commission.

Argonne National Laboratory’s thermal reactor program in Idaho

June 26, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear NewsR. N. Blomquist

In May’s Nuclear News (p. 86), we reviewed Argonne National Laboratory’s comprehensive work on fast reactors in Idaho. In this article, we summarize the light water reactor work there.1

In the early days, there were few data on the behavior of reactor materials under severe neutron bombardment. In collaboration, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory developed the Materials Testing Reactor (MTR) for the National Reactor Testing Station (NRTS) in Idaho. The materials tested in it over the course of 15,000 experiments were reactor fuel materials, structures, cooling systems, and shields. It operated from 1952 to 1970.

NNSA grants nonproliferation-related funds to two university consortia

June 25, 2024, 3:01PMNuclear News

The National Nuclear Security Administration’s Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation has awarded a total of $50 million in cooperative agreements to the Consortium for Enabling Technologies and Innovation and the Enabling Capabilities in Technology Consortium. These two university/national lab consortia are each to receive as much as $5 million per year for five years to help support their basic and applied science research, which, in turn, will support the nuclear security and nonproliferation missions of the NNSA and workforce development for the Department of Energy’s national laboratories.

How can SMRs revolutionize industrial decarbonization?

June 25, 2024, 12:04PMNuclear NewsJosé Reyes

José Reyes

Innovations with small modular reactors, which offer a compact, efficient alternative to traditional baseload power plants, are at the forefront of a new era of nuclear energy production that can reshape how we approach industrial decarbonization.

As global energy transition efforts progress, it is essential to examine the potential these advancements hold for reducing carbon emissions. Nuclear energy has long been recognized for its ability to generate vast amounts of electricity without emitting greenhouse gases. The introduction of SMR technology represents a pivotal shift, addressing many previous challenges to nuclear deployment and opening new pathways for the integration of nuclear energy into industrial sectors.

The innovative yet simple design of NuScale’s SMR technology provides a cost-competitive, safe, and scalable solution for a wide range of energy needs.

Political leader ignites nuclear energy controversy in Australia

June 25, 2024, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Dutton

The only nuclear reactor in Australia is a small one in the Sydney suburb of Lucas Heights, which has been used to produce medical radioisotopes since 1958. Recently, the Hon. Peter Dutton, Parliament’s leader of the opposition to the Labor-led government, announced his plan to get the country into the nuclear energy business by building five large reactors and two small modular reactors by 2050.

Criticizing the government’s “renewables-only” energy policy, Dutton promised to have the first nuclear reactor operating by the mid-2030s, should his Liberal–National Coalition win power in the next federal election (to be held on or before September 27, 2025). That promise, which would require overturns of existing federal and state bans on nuclear energy, has generated a great deal of controversy in Australia among government officials, political activists, and nuclear engineers.

ANS issues standard for nuclear power plant applications

June 25, 2024, 6:56AMANS News

ANSI/ASME/ANS RA-S-1.2-2024, Severe Accident Progression and Radiological Release (Level 2) PRA Standard for Nuclear Power Plant Applications for Light Water Reactors (LWRs), received the approval of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) on May 31, 2024, and was issued on June 17, 2024.

ANSI/ASME/ANS RA-S-1.2-2024 is available in the ANS Online Store.

ITER leaders propose a decade of work before D-D operations in 2035

June 24, 2024, 3:03PMNuclear News
Member delegates, their experts and interpreters, and representatives of the ITER Organization and the ITER domestic agencies convened for the 34th ITER Council. (Photo: ITER)

At the 34th ITER Council Meeting, held June 19–20, ITER director general Pietro Barabaschi reported on ITER’s progress and presented an updated baseline proposal that would “prioritize the start of substantial research operations as rapidly as possible.”

ANS Annual Conference: Workforce issues highlighted

June 24, 2024, 12:00PMNuclear News
The workforce development panel, from left, moderator Amanda Bachmann of Argonne, Lori Brady of NEI, Joseph Stainback of Roane State, Ilana Bowen of Constellation, and Nicole Hughes of Thor Thomas. (Source: ANS)

Industry leaders met this week to discuss the importance of shoring up nontraditional workforce pipelines to support growth in nuclear energy generation in the coming decades.

An executive panel discussed this issue last week at the American Nuclear Society’s 2024 Annual Conference in Las Vegas The industry is working to target community colleges, trade schools, vocational programs, nontraditional students, and a wider variety of educational backgrounds.