Energy bill moves to House floor with amendment on Diablo Canyon, HALEU

June 30, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

The House Appropriations Committee has delivered to the full House the fiscal year 2023 Energy and Water Development bill in a 32–24 vote, along with a notable amendment concerning, among other things, Diablo Canyon, high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU), and thorium molten salt reactors. The amendment received a thumbs-up at the committee’s June 28 markup session via voice vote.

House passes fiscal year 2022 omnibus appropriations bill

March 10, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News

After months of negotiations, the House passed a fiscal year 2022 omnibus spending package late Wednesday—the same day that congressional appropriators from both chambers unveiled the long-awaited measure.

Labeled H.R. 2471, the 2,741-page, $1.5 trillion package includes all 12 of the standard annual appropriations bills, providing $730 billion for nondefense programs, a $46 billion (6.7 percent) jump from FY 2021, and $782 billion for defense programs, a $42 billion (5.6 percent) boost. (The bill also includes $13.6 billion to address the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.)

The House also approved, by voice vote, a stopgap bill to extend government funding to March 15 to give the Senate time to review the omnibus bill and send it to the president’s desk for his signature. At this writing, funding for the federal government runs out tomorrow.

Input sought on Kairos test reactor construction permit

February 23, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is requesting public input on environmental issues that the agency should ponder as it reviews Kairos Power’s application for a construction permit to build the Hermes low-power demonstration reactor at the East Tennessee Technology Park in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

In a notice published in the February 18 Federal Register, the NRC says it will conduct a scoping process to gather information necessary to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed project.

DOE opens clean energy demonstrations office

January 5, 2022, 12:01PMNuclear News

The Department of Energy recently announced the establishment of a new office aimed at supporting clean energy technology demonstration projects in areas such as advanced nuclear reactors, clean hydrogen, carbon capture, and grid-scale energy storage.

A creation of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill signed into law by President Biden last November, the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations boasts a $21.5 billion budget, including $2.4 billion for the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program.

X-energy teams with Canada’s First Nations to aid Indigenous communities

December 21, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear News

X-energy, the Rockville, Md.–based developer of the Xe-100 small modular reactor, announced on December 15 that X-energy Canada has signed a memorandum of understanding with the First Nations Power Authority (FNPA) to look for ways to build “Indigenous capacity” for the future SMR industry in Canada.

ANS Winter Meeting: CEM, COP, and the path to net zero

December 9, 2021, 12:02PMNuclear News
A screen capture from the meeting that discussed the pathway to net-zero emissions by 2050: (From left) Leah Parks, Giulia Bisconti, Nicholas McMurray, Josh Freed, and Laura Hermann. Panelists who joined the meeting virtually were Sama Bilbao y León and Edie Greaves.

The Thursday morning executive session at last week’s 2021 ANS Winter Meeting and Technology Expo brought together a group of influential nuclear-policy experts from the United States and abroad to discuss the roles nuclear can play in smoothing the pathway to net-zero emissions by 2050. Specific topics explored included the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) and its Nuclear Innovation Clean Energy (NICE) Future initiative, as well as last month’s COP26 climate conference in Glasgow. The session was moderated by Leah Parks, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission risk analyst and 2020 ANS Presidential Citation awardee.

NRC issues key safety report on Kairos reactor

November 22, 2021, 3:02PMNuclear News
Artistic rendering of the Hermes low-power demonstration reactor, a scaled-down demo of the KP-FHR. (Image: Kairos Power)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently issued a draft safety evaluation report indicating initial acceptance of Kairos Power’s source term methodology for its fluoride salt–cooled high-temperature reactor (KP-FHR).

Trillion-dollar infrastructure bill passes House

November 8, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News

After hours of squabbling between left-wing and centrist Democrats, the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill (H.R. 3684)—one of the two main pillars of President Biden’s domestic agenda—passed the House of Representatives late Friday night and has been sent to the White House for signing. The final tally was 228–206, with 13 Republicans joining most Democrats in casting their votes in favor of the legislation.

Nuclear Innovation Alliance publishes report on advanced reactors

September 27, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News

With the goal of providing basic information on advanced reactors to help the public and stakeholders understand the technology’s promise, the nonprofit think tank Nuclear Innovation Alliance has published Advanced Nuclear Technology: A Primer.

Results of advanced nuclear survey released

September 21, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News

The U.S. Nuclear Industry Council has released the results of its 2021 Advanced Nuclear Survey.

The results, issued late last month, include information from 17 USNIC-member advanced nuclear developers on topics such as federal and state policies, types of reactors in development, U.S./Canadian licensing, need for control room operators, Nuclear Regulatory Commission fees, Department of Energy programs, and high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU). In addition, 24 companies (the 17 member firms plus seven nonmember firms) provided their perspectives on the NRC’s planned 10 CFR Part 53 regulation of advanced reactors.

ANS urges Congress to address availability of HALEU for advanced reactor fuel

September 16, 2021, 9:30AMANS News
Click image to enlarge

Congress needs to take swift action to build a domestic supply of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) to fuel advanced reactors, the American Nuclear Society declares in a September 14 letter to Sens. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and John Barrasso (R., Wyo.), the committee’s ranking member.

Senate panel seeks a more modest increase in NE funding than House counterparts

August 6, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday approved three of the 12 fiscal year 2022 funding measures, including an Energy and Water Development bill that provides the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) with an increase of 5.5 percent over last year’s allocation—half of the boost recommended for NE last month by House appropriators.

The Senate panel advanced the legislation by a vote of 25–5, with all five no votes from GOP members: Sens. Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), John Kennedy (R., La.), Mike Braun (R., Ind.), Bill Hagerty (R., Tenn.), and Marco Rubio (R., Fla.).

Nuclear law experts offer reasons for optimism

January 20, 2021, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe

In a January 14 "Nuclear Industry Recap of 2020" blog post, attorneys Sachin Desai and Amy C. Roma list some of the actions taken by the federal government over the past 12 months to improve the status of the U.S. nuclear community.

Desai and Roma, both of whom practice nuclear and radioactive materials law at Hogan Lovells, look at actions by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Department of Energy, and Congress and find much to be optimistic about.

Fuel innovation: Powering nuclear modernization

January 18, 2021, 9:35AMNuclear NewsBen Holtzman

Today’s U.S. commercial nuclear power plants are fueled with uranium dioxide pressed into cylindrical ceramic pellets—and have been for decades. These pellets are stacked inside long fuel rods made of a zirconium alloy cladding. Innovation in nuclear fuel, however, can improve safety, reduce operating costs, and further enable the development of a new generation of non-light-water reactors.