Senate committee discusses growing energy demands, nuclear’s role

May 22, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News

Members of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday included nuclear energy as part of their discussions of the increasing demand for electricity anticipated in the coming decade, spurred in large part by the rise of artificial intelligence, data centers, and public consumption.

GE Hitachi forming supplier group for BWRX-300 SMR

May 13, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear News
GE Vernova’s priority regions for SMR growth, with projected gigawatt demands in 2035 and 2050 for the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and European Union. (Source: GE Vernova)

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH)—the nuclear business unit of Massachusetts-based GE Vernova in partnership with Japan’s Hitachi—has announced that it is forming a group of qualified supply chain companies to advance the manufacture, commercialization, and international deployment of its BWRX-300 small modular reactor. The company stated that it is forming the group to help ensure “a reliable, cost-effective and innovative” process for getting its SMR commercialized and deployed around the world.

G7 pledges support for nuclear at Italy meeting

May 8, 2024, 3:00PMNuclear News

The Group of Seven (G7) recommitted its support for nuclear energy in the countries that opt to use it at a Ministerial Meeting on Climate in Italy last month.

In a statement following the April meeting, the group committed to support multilateral efforts to strengthen the resilience of nuclear supply chains, referencing the goal set by 25 countries during last year’s COP28 climate conference in Dubai to triple global nuclear generating capacity by 2050.

Oklo looks to bring microreactor “powerhouse” units on line

April 11, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News
Concept art of Oklo's Aurora Powerhouse in use. (Source: Oklo)

Next-generation reactor company Oklo Inc. is teaming up with Diamondback Energy Inc. to bring Oklo’s Aurora Powerhouse units to the American Southwest.

The companies signed a nonbinding letter of intent (LOI) this week to collaborate on a 20-year power purchase agreement that would provide 50 MW of electricity per unit to Diamondback’s Permian Basin operations area. The agreement lays out options to renew and extend the agreement for an additional 20-year term, since the units are designed to operate for 40 years without needing to refuel. Diamondback is an independent oil and gas company headquartered in Texas.

Bipartisan support launches pronuclear bill from Congress

March 6, 2024, 8:29AMNuclear News

A bipartisan group of lawmakers passed legislation from the U.S. House of Representatives this week in support of nuclear energy production.

H. R. 6544 emerged from the chamber following a 365–36 vote. The legislation would speed up environmental reviews for new nuclear projects and reduce fees for advanced nuclear reactor licenses. It would also update the Price-Anderson Act, which limits the industry’s legal liability for nuclear accidents, by extending it for 40 years as well as increasing the indemnity coverage—changes advocated for by the American Nuclear Society in recent position statement updates.

A case of “nuclear power on the brain”

January 22, 2024, 12:22PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Crownhart

“I’ve got nuclear power on the brain this week.” So writes climate and energy reporter Casey Crownhart in a recent edition the Spark, the MIT Technology Review’s climate newsletter. In her article, Crownhart describes how, while she was conducting research on advanced nuclear energy for another article, she “went down some rabbit holes on . . . potential options for future nuclear plants” and has “reached new levels of obsession” about nuclear energy.

Nuclear primer: Crownhart’s article could serve as a primer for both basic nuclear and advanced nuclear technologies. She begins by discussing the “two absolutely essential pieces” of conventional nuclear power plants—namely, the enriched uranium fuel and the pressurized water cooling system—and explains that the cooling system “keeps the whole thing from getting too hot and causing problems.”

American Nuclear Society congratulates Kairos Power for construction permit approval of Hermes reactor

December 12, 2023, 4:24PMPress Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Statement from American Nuclear Society Executive Director and CEO Craig Piercy:

"Congratulations to Kairos Power from the American nuclear community on securing the first U.S. construction permit for a non-light water reactor in over 50 years. Kairos' regulatory milestone comes as COP28 climate negotiations go into overtime in Dubai. Kairos' achievement marks a pivotal step forward in scaling up advanced nuclear energy technologies required for a clean and resilient energy future. We look forward to the Hermes demonstration reactor breaking ground next year in East Tennessee."

Granholm visits Clinch River Site to show support for SMRs

December 7, 2023, 3:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Secretary Granholm answers press questions at the Clinch River Nuclear Site while TVA president and CEO Jeff Lyash listens. (Photo: TVA)

Energy secretary Jennifer Granholm visited the Clinch River Nuclear Site in Oak Ridge, Tenn., on December 5 to highlight the Biden administration’s support for the Tennessee Valley Authority’s advanced nuclear technology program.

Granholm indicated that the administration is willing to provide funding for the nation’s first commercial small modular reactor at the site. “Excited to see a shovel in the ground, hopefully in a few more years,” she said. “TVA is leading on small modular reactors with this site. Everybody’s looking to TVA to make sure that this can actually happen.”

Texas kicks off effort to make state a leader in new nuclear

October 3, 2023, 12:04PMNuclear News
PUCT commissioner Jimmy Glotfelty leads the discussion at the Texas Advanced Nuclear Reactor Working Group’s first public meeting, on September 28. (Image: PUCT)

The Texas Advanced Nuclear Reactor Working Group—formed recently by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) at the direction of Gov. Greg Abbott—hosted its first public meeting last Thursday to discuss the group’s organizational structure and outline a plan to turn Texas into a national leader in the use of advanced nuclear energy.

Westinghouse, Bechtel sign consortium agreement for first nuclear plant in Poland

September 26, 2023, 3:45PMNuclear News
At the Bechtel/Westinghouse consortium agreement signing ceremony at the U.S. embassy in Warsaw, were, from left, U.S. ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski; Ahmet Tokpinar, general manager of Bechtel’s nuclear power business line; Elias Gedeon, senior vice president for commercial operations at Westinghouse; Mirosław Kowalik, president of Westinghouse Poland; and Anna Łukaszewska-Trzeciakowska, Poland government plenipotentiary for strategic energy infrastructure. (Photo: Bechtel)

Westinghouse Electric Company and engineering, construction, and project management firm Bechtel on September 20 announced the signing of a consortium agreement to partner on the design and construction of Poland’s first nuclear power plant.

GE Hitachi named first corporate sponsor of Net Zero Nuclear

September 22, 2023, 9:00AMNuclear News

Net Zero Nuclear, an initiative that debuted earlier this month at the World Nuclear Symposium in London, has named GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) its initial corporate sponsor. The announcement was made Wednesday at the Atlantic Council’s Nuclear Energy Policy Summit in New York.

Westinghouse pursues AP300 deployment in Ukraine

September 18, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
Westinghouse president and CEO Patrick Fragman (seated at left) and Energoatom president Petro Kotin (seated at right) sign an MOU on AP300 deployment in Ukraine. Standing behind Fragman and Kotin is Ukrainian energy minister German Galushchenko. (Photo: Energoatom)

Westinghouse Electric Company and Ukraine’s nuclear operator Energoatom have signed a memorandum of understanding on the development and deployment of the American firm’s AP300 small modular reactor in the Eastern European state.

Fate of North Carolina nuclear measure uncertain

September 6, 2023, 9:31AMNuclear News

Cooper

While a pronuclear energy bill currently under consideration in the North Carolina General Assembly appears to stand a good chance of advancing to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk, its chances of receiving his signature are less clear.

The legislation, S.B. 678, would replace the term “renewable energy” in state statutes with “clean energy” and specify that the new term includes both nuclear fission and fusion. In addition, the bill would eliminate language impeding the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) from issuing Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity for nuclear facilities.

According to S.B. 678, “clean energy resource” includes solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal, biomass, “waste heat derived from a clean energy source and used to produce electricity or useful, measurable thermal energy at a retail electric customer’s facility,” and “nuclear energy resources, including an uprate to a nuclear energy facility, fusion energy, or hydrogen derived from a clean energy resource.”

X-energy, Energy Northwest team for multiple SMR deployments

July 20, 2023, 9:43AMNuclear News

Small modular reactor firm X-energy and Energy Northwest, owner and operator of the Columbia nuclear power plant in Richland, Wash., announced yesterday the signing of a joint development agreement (JDA) for up to 12 Xe-100 SMRs in central Washington, capable of generating up to a total of 960 MWe.

The JDA defines and details the scope, location, and schedule under which the commercial development of the project will move forward, the companies said, adding that they will also work together to determine the best approaches to licensing and regulatory matters, as well as the project delivery model. Currently, the Xe-100 project is expected to be developed at a site adjacent to the Columbia facility, with the first module coming on line by 2030.

U.K. launches Great British Nuclear, SMR competition; new funding announced

July 19, 2023, 9:35AMNuclear News

Promising a “massive revival of nuclear power,” the U.K. government yesterday officially launched Great British Nuclear—an “arms-length” governmental body established to help ramp up the nation’s nuclear capacity to as much as 24 GW by 2050. Alongside, the U.K. announced a GBN-managed small modular reactor competition.

Breakthrough Institute pushes Build Nuclear Now campaign

June 15, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Breakthrough Institute, a nuclear-friendly environmental research center based in Berkeley, Calif., has announced the launch of mobilization efforts for its Build Nuclear Now project, in partnership with the similarly minded groups Stand Up for Nuclear, Generation Atomic, Mothers for Nuclear, Nuclear New York, and Campaign for a Green Nuclear Deal.

NuScale becomes latest member of Romanian nuclear group

May 25, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News

NuScale Power announced yesterday that it has joined the Romanian Atomic Forum, aka Romatom, as a supporting member “to champion the association’s nuclear energy goals and further the next generation of advanced nuclear technology experts, technologists, and operators in Romania.” The move further deepens the American small modular reactor company’s commitment to the deployment of a VOYGR SMR plant in the Central European state.