Constellation chief doesn’t rule out Three Mile Island restart

May 24, 2024, 9:34AMNuclear News
An aerial photo of the three mile island nuclear power station. (Photo: Constellation)

On the company’s earnings call this month, Constellation CEO Joe Dominguez was asked if there is a possibility of restarting the shuttered Three Mile Island plant—as is being proposed for the Palisades nuclear plant in Michigan.

“We’re not unaware that opportunity exists for us,” Dominguez said. “We’re obviously seen what’s happened with Palisades and I think that was brilliant. Brilliant for the nation. … We are doing a good bit of thinking about a number of different opportunities, and that would probably certainly be one of those that we would think about.”

Developing a new regulatory framework for advanced reactors: Update on Part 53

May 3, 2024, 7:01AMNuclear News

White

The American Nuclear Society’s Risk-informed, Performance-based Principles and Policy Committee (RP3C) on March 29 held another presentation in its monthly Community of Practice (CoP) series. The presenter, Patrick White with the Nuclear Innovation Alliance (NIA), talked about the current status of efforts to develop a new regulatory framework for advanced reactors—known as 10 CFR Part 53 or simply Part 53. White serves as the research director of the NIA, where he leads their research as well as analysis-based stakeholder and policymaker engagement and education. White’s March 29 presentation is publicly available on YouTube and at ANS’s publication platform Nuclear Science and Technology Open Research (NSTOR).

RP3C chair N. Prasad Kadambi opened the CoP with brief introductory remarks about the RP3C before he welcomed White as the session’s presenter.

White covered three main topics: the history of the existing regulatory frameworks for new reactors, progress to date on the development of the Part 53 rule for advanced reactors, and the current status and next steps for the Part 53 rulemaking process.

Advanced reactors the focus of upcoming ANS online event

March 27, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News

The American Nuclear Society is hosting an online event on Thursday, March 28, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (EDT) on advanced reactors. The latest technological developments will be discussed by representatives from BWX Technology, Kairos Power, Oklo, and X-energy.

The event is open to all, but registration is required.

Buyers Guide celebrates 55 years

March 15, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear News

The newest edition of the Nuclear News Buyers Guide will be out soon, marking the 55th year of the most comprehensive goods and services publication in the nuclear industry. The American Nuclear Society invites all companies that perform or seek nuclear-related work to participate by identifying areas of expertise and providing contact information.

NRC to issue proposed rule for advanced reactor licensing

March 8, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission plans to publish a proposed rule and draft guidance surrounding licenses for advanced reactors—the first regulatory framework developed uniquely for advanced technologies and designs.

NRC staff has been instructed to establish a licensing process for commercial nuclear power plants that is risk-informed, performance-based, and technology-inclusive.

Commercial HALEU supply chain draft EIS now open for comment

March 1, 2024, 9:32AMNuclear News
HALEU reguli fabricated from downblended high-enriched uranium recovered from legacy EBR-II fuel at Idaho National Laboratory. (Image: DOE)

The Department of Energy yesterday announced a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) on HALEU Availability Program plans to purchase high-assay low-enriched uranium under 10-year contracts to seed the development of a sustainable commercial HALEU supply chain.

U.S. must become “world leader in nuclear power” again

February 15, 2024, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Donalds

Fleischmann

Two U.S. representatives—Chuck Fleischmann (R., Tenn.) and Byron Donalds (R., Fla.)—have published an op-ed in the Washington Examiner that calls for the United States to seize “the current nuclear economic opportunity worldwide” and “once again be the world leader in nuclear power.” The congressmen emphasize that “it is in the best interest of the United States and the rest of the world for our country, instead of China and Russia, to be the preferred partner for embarking nuclear nations.”

Atoms for Peace: Fleischmann and Donalds argue that President Dwight Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” speech in 1953 established the foundational principles for the domestic and global success of the U.S. civil nuclear energy industry—and they urge the nation to reclaim those principles now. They point to the numerous benefits of nuclear energy, ranging from economic development to desalination to sustainable fuel creation, and note that the “global market is ripe for nuclear technology.”

Industry experts at ANS virtual event discuss strategies for safe and secure nuclear power expansion

February 9, 2024, 7:02AMANS News
From left: Piercy, Hart, Iyengar, Tobey

The latest virtual event produced by the American Nuclear Society brought together experts from the forefront of the global nuclear industry to discuss strategies for ensuring a safe, secure, and healthy expansion in the face of a rapidly changing energy and geopolitical landscape.

The webinar, moderated by ANS Executive Director/CEO Craig Piercy, featured J’Tia Hart, chief science officer for the National and Homeland Security Directorate at Idaho National Laboratory; Anagha Iyengar, deputy program director for analytics and innovation at the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Office of International Nuclear Security; and William Tobey, former NNSA deputy administrator for defense nuclear nonproliferation.

Report examines nuclear’s 2023 developments, 2024 trends

February 6, 2024, 7:01AMANS Nuclear Cafe

A new report, A New Nuclear Age: How 2023 Developments Will Impact the Industry in 2024, has been released by Morgan Lewis, a global corporation that provides litigation, corporate, labor and employment, and intellectual property services. Morgan Lewis’s energy specialist attorneys, who compiled the report, reviewed recent developments in rules and guidance from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Department of Energy that have impacted various aspects of the nuclear energy industry. Covered areas include cybersecurity, small modular reactors, advanced reactors, sustainability, export controls, plant decommissioning, microreactors, and fusion systems. Also considered in the report are potential future developments that may further affect the nuclear industry this year.

2024: The State of Advanced Reactors

January 19, 2024, 3:07PMNuclear NewsMatt Wald

Designs for high-tech products, and the start-ups that offer them, will always outnumber the commercial successes. Ditto: many more power plants are proposed than actually get built, no matter what the technology.

This is an axiom of free-market economies, but in early November 2023 it became painfully obvious in the advanced reactor field. NuScale Power, the only advanced reactor that has made it through the licensing gauntlet, acknowledged that the consortium of utilities that was its intended launch customer had failed to put together a feasible package.

U.K. backs advanced reactor future with £300 million for HALEU enrichment

January 16, 2024, 7:01AMNuclear News
Urenco UK’s Capenhurst enrichment site, which received a grant in July 2023 to prepare for HALEU enrichment. (Photo: Urenco UK)

The United Kingdom’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero announced plans on January 7 to invest £300 million (about $383 million) to build a high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) enrichment facility in northwest England. The goal? To “end Russia’s reign as the only commercial producer of HALEU.” Britain is now the first European country to declare that it will begin HALEU enrichment in a bid for supply chain security.

U.K. lays out plans to quadruple nuclear generation by 2050

January 12, 2024, 12:05PMNuclear News

The United Kingdom released plans yesterday for the biggest expansion of nuclear power in 70 years. Officials outlined Civil Nuclear: Roadmap to 2050 as an opportunity to improve the United Kingdom’s energy independence from foreign sources as it looks to build a new power station and invest in advanced nuclear fuel production.

DOE rolls out simplified HALEU enrichment RFP, opens door to LEU from allies

January 10, 2024, 12:01PMNuclear News
Image: DOE

The Department of Energy issued a final request for proposals (RFP) on January 9 for uranium enrichment services to help establish a commercial domestic supply of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) to fuel a potential fleet of advanced reactors. Without HALEU, advanced reactors will not be able to proceed past the demonstration stage. And given the investments of capital and time required to license and build a nuclear power plant—even a smaller, more efficient advanced reactor—eliminating fuel uncertainty could be what a utility needs to invest in new construction.

Notes from an international workshop on spent fuel management

January 5, 2024, 9:40AMRadwaste Solutions
Some of the participants at the NEA Workshop on Extended Storage and Transportation of Spent Fuel and Radioactive Waste from Current and Future Reactor Technologies. (Photo: NEA)

A recent event co-organized by the Nuclear Energy Agency, the Electric Power Research Institute, and Holtec International brought together about 100 international experts for a workshop on spent fuel and radioactive waste.

From the pages of Nuclear News: Industry update January 2024

January 4, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear News

Here is a recap of industry happenings from the recent past:

ADVANCED REACTOR MARKETPLACE

DOE, DOD support X-energy’s microreactor work

The Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy has signed a one-year cooperative agreement with X-energy designed to advance the development of a design for a transportable mobile microreactor. Under the agreement, the DOE will support X-energy’s work on the architecture and technology for the 3- to-5-MWe microreactor’s preliminary design. X-energy is also the recipient of a Department of Defense contract to develop an enhanced engineering design for a transportable microreactor that will be suitable for both defense and commercial applications.

ARCSC holds second workshop

January 2, 2024, 7:00AMANS News

The Advanced Reactor Codes and Standards Collaborative (ARCSC) held its second workshop on November 30, 2023, in Washington, D.C. The hybrid event had just over 200 participants, including representatives from standards development organizations (SDOs), the Electric Power Research Institute, the Nuclear Energy Institute, national laboratories, government agencies, vendors, advanced reactor designers, and consultants as well as representatives from other U.S. industry and international organizations, including the International Atomic Energy Agency. ANS Standards Board chair Andrew Sowder, senior technical executive at EPRI, welcomed attendees to EPRI’s offices, where the workshop was held.

Issues on microreactors and irradiation experiments planned for ANS's Nuclear Science and Engineering

December 14, 2023, 3:03PMANS News

Two teams of guest editors from Idaho National Laboratory have announced plans for special issues of the American Nuclear Society's Nuclear Science and Engineering, the nuclear community’s longest-running technical journal. Abdalla Abou Jaoude and Abderrafi M. Ougouag are leading the NSE issue Technical Challenges and Opportunities in the Development and Deployment of Microreactors, while Joseph Nielsen and Piyush Sabharwall are organizing the NSE issue Irradiation Experiments Supporting Advanced Nuclear Technologies.

How do national labs help move nuclear technologies to deployment?

December 6, 2023, 7:06AMNuclear NewsHussein Khalil

Hussein Khalil

Within the next decade, it is expected that the first round of advanced reactor (AR) demonstration units will be successfully started up and operated, with additional industry-led nuclear energy initiatives progressing toward demonstration. These AR prototypes will be first-of-a-kind systems incorporating significant technological advances. Attracting the required investment for construction and operation will require persistent efforts to improve performance, reduce costs, attract an investor/-customer base, and establish the supply chain and workforce needed to meet this emerging demand.

Public-private partnerships focused on technology and design advancements will likely be needed through at least 2050. These partnerships will require the research community—and the national labs in particular—to play a key role in developing technical solutions for economically competitive systems and helping address other challenges to sustained and expanded use of nuclear energy. These challenges include managing used nuclear fuel, minimizing nuclear security and proliferation risks, and pursuing international markets.

When deployments hit setbacks: Cautionary tales in Idaho and Alaska

December 4, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
A map of the potential reactor siting area (in green) at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska provided during a pre-proposal conference in October 2022. (Graphic: Department of the Air Force)

Plans announced with fanfare sometimes falter in the face of competition or economics. Take NuScale Power’s plans for the Carbon Free Power Project in Idaho: The project was canceled in mid-November by NuScale and its first customer, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, after nearly a decade. The significance of that news depends on the observer. NuScale intends to focus on other sites and customers. Competitors may redouble efforts to tout their own designs and customer lists. Media found an opportunity to speculate about the future of advanced nuclear. And while many in the nuclear community believe the momentum in favor of new nuclear deployments is continuing—or even increasing as COP28 continues—others would caution against high hopes and point to the persistent obstacles of regulation, supply chain constraints, and financing costs.