INL makes—and prepares to test—commercial-grade HALEU fuel

November 28, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
The project team included (from left to right) Jennifer Watkins, Seth Ashby, and Adrian Wagner. (Photo: INL)

Researchers at Idaho National Laboratory in early 2023 manufactured commercial-grade high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) fuel pellets to the specifications of a General Electric accident tolerant fuel design, INL announced November 21. A team working at INL’s Experimental Fuels Facility at the Material and Fuels Complex fabricated about two dozen uranium dioxide pellets using HALEU enriched up to 15 percent U-235.

Advancing fuel production and performance for the next generation of reactors

September 26, 2023, 7:05AMNuclear NewsW. A. “Art” Wharton III

W. A. “Art” Wharton III

Multiple market forces on nuclear fuel have arisen seemingly at the same time since the Russian war in Ukraine started. Accident tolerant fuels (ATF), lead test rods, and lead test assemblies have had their first shot in real operating conditions, in recent cycles. But the popularity of their so-called accident tolerance has nothing to do with accidents, since any practical nuclear professional knows that the safety of nuclear energy is already higher than that of any other electricity generation source. The popularity comes down to fuel performance. Are we on the cusp of a revolution in nuclear fuel performance under the guise of accident tolerance?

Lawmakers debut resolution supporting nuclear energy

August 3, 2023, 12:11PMNuclear News



A bipartisan coalition of 15 senators led by Sens. Ted Budd (R., N.C.) and Chris Coons (D., Del.) is backing a resolution declaring that “in order to maintain geopolitical energy leadership, reduce carbon emissions, and enhance the energy security of the United States, the Senate is committed to embracing and promoting nuclear power as a clean baseload energy source necessary to achieve a reliable, secure, and diversified electric grid.”

The resolution, S. Res. 321, was introduced July 27 and referred to the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Fellow fission fans: Cosponsors of S. Res. 321 include Sens. Cory Booker (D., N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio), Kevin Cramer (R., N.D.), Mike Crapo (R., Idaho), Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), Mark Kelly (D., Ariz.), Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), Pete Ricketts (R., Neb.), Jim Risch (R., Idaho), Kyrsten Sinema (I., Ariz.), Thom Tillis (R., N.C.), Mark Warner (D., Va.), and Roger Wicker (R., Miss.).

Georgia Tech to host Advanced Manufacturing for Nonproliferation summer school

April 12, 2022, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The Consortium for Enabling Technologies and Innovation (ETI), led by the Georgia Institute of Technology, is offering a summer school on advanced manufacturing for nonproliferation. It will be held from May 23 to May 27 on the Georgia Tech campus in Atlanta, and it will include presentations, lab demonstrations, and tours, including a visit to Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Ultra Safe Nuclear and ORNL strengthen bonds with 3D printing technology

January 14, 2022, 11:58AMNuclear News
Kurt Terrani observing a chemical vapor infiltration furnace at ORNL during densification of additively manufactured nuclear-grade silicon carbide. (Photo: Carlos Jones/ORNL/DOE)

Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC), a Seattle-based reactor developer, has licensed an additive manufacturing technique developed at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory to print refractory materials into structural and core components for the company’s microreactor designs.

Innovations in instrumentation and controls from the Transformational Challenge Reactor program

August 27, 2021, 3:01PMNuclear NewsSacit Cetiner, Christian Petrie, Venugopal Varma, Nathan See, and Eliott Fountain

The Transformational Challenge Reactor (TCR) program was launched in 2019 to demonstrate that highly improved, efficient systems can be created rapidly by harnessing the major advances in manufacturing, materials, and computational sciences that have emerged since the end of the first nuclear era. The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory leads the TCR program, which includes contributing partners from other DOE national laboratories and the U.S. nuclear industry. The program leverages some of the nation’s leading scientists and engineers and draws from ORNL’s lengthy history, institutional knowledge, and capabilities in high--performance computing, materials science development, advanced manufacturing techniques, and nuclear science and engineering.

Oak Ridge brings fusion and fission together for clean energy synergy

June 8, 2021, 12:06PMSponsored ContentORNL
ORNL associate laboratory director Kathy McCarthy at the prototype which led to the Material Plasma Exposure eXperiment (MPEX), a device that will support fusion materials research. Photo: ORNL

Oak Ridge National Laboratory has a long record of advancing fusion and fission science and technology. Today, the lab is focused more than ever on taking advantage of that spectrum of nuclear experience to accelerate a viable path to fusion energy and to speed efficient deployment of advanced nuclear technologies to today’s power plants and future fission systems.