Remembering William A. Anders

June 20, 2024, 7:01AMNuclear News

William A. Anders

William A. Anders, former chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and a former member of the American Nuclear Society, died on June 7 at 90 years of age.

In a June 18 statement, the NRC offered condolences on his passing.

“Chairman Anders had an illustrious career far beyond taking one of the most widely seen photos from space,” said NRC chair Christopher Hanson. “He was the only person to serve as commissioner on both the Atomic Energy Commission and NRC, and he served as the new agency’s first chairman, providing institutional continuity while unambiguously committing the agency to serve as an unbiased, independent, and open regulator. We are saddened by his death and extend our condolences to his family.”

Argonne National Laboratory’s fast reactors in Idaho

May 23, 2024, 3:01PMNuclear NewsR. N. Blomquist
The Argonne-West laboratory site before it was merged with the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory into today’s Idaho National Laboratory. The silver dome in the photo is Experimental Breeder Reactor-II, the silver structure with the flat top and sloping sides is the Zero Power Plutonium Reactor, and the brown boxlike structure behind ZPPR is the Hot Fuel Examination Facility. (Photo: Argonne National Laboratory)

Idaho’s nuclear energy history is deep and rich. The National Reactor Testing Station (NRTS) began its history as an artillery testing range in the 1940s.1 Following World War II, Walter Zinn, Argonne National Laboratory’s founding director and Manhattan Project Chicago Pile-1 project manager, proposed to the Atomic Energy Commission that a remote location be found for building test reactors. In 1949, he and Roger S. Warner, AEC’s director of engineering,2 developed a list of potential sites from which the NRTS was selected. Over the decades, quite a few companies and AEC national laboratories built 52 experimental and test reactors at the NRTS, including 14 by Argonne.3 (For a brief AEC video on the NRTS, see

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

May 3, 2024, 7:01AMNuclear News


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.

The SNAP-10A reactor power system

April 10, 2024, 9:31AMNuclear NewsJeremy Hampshire
Left: A technician inserts a steel tube containing fuel into the SNAP-10A reactor core vessel. (Photo: DOE) Right: A cross-section view of the reactor. (Image: DOE)

Systems for Nuclear Auxiliary Power (SNAP) was an Atomic Energy Commission program with the goal of producing a portable and dependable power source centered around nuclear technology that could be utilized in land, sea, and space applications. The program aimed to provide a compact reactor—a necessity for space applications—and ran from 1955 until 1973, when it was discontinued.

Remembering Clyde Jupiter

April 4, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear News


Clyde Peter Jupiter passed away peacefully March 31, 2024, at the age of 95. Born October 31, 1928, in New Orleans, La., Jupiter attended public and parochial schools in New Orleans, graduating from Xavier University in 1948. He was a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and was noted as one of the first African Americans to attend Notre Dame University in 1949.

Following graduation, Jupiter pursued a career in the field of physics, where he was renowned for his contributions to nuclear radiation detection and the advancing of nuclear energy. His career in the nuclear field included working for such agencies as the Atomic Energy Commission, Lawrence Laboratories, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

He also served in the U.S. Army from 1954 to 1956 at the Chemical Corps Laboratory, in Fort Detrick, Md.

Remembering ANS Past President Joseph Hendrie

January 11, 2024, 3:01PMNuclear News

Joseph Hendrie, Brookhaven National Laboratory physicist, NRC chair, and ANS past president (1984–1985), passed away in his home in Bellport, N.Y., on December 26 at the age of 98.

Hendrie, an American Nuclear Society member since 1956, was a leader in the nuclear community for much of his 45 years in nuclear reactor safety research. He served as the deputy director for technical review of the Atomic Energy Commission’s Directorate of Licensing from 1972 to 1974 and then was appointed chair of the NRC in 1977 (serving a second stint as chair in 1981—the only person to serve two nonconsecutive terms in that role).

Contractors share Paducah job opportunities with students

November 21, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
Data analyst Emily Coriell (right) demonstrates a pipe crawling robot at the career opportunities event. (Photo: DOE)

Contractors at the Department of Energy’s Paducah Site teamed up recently to highlight career opportunities available at the site during the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce WKY (West Kentucky) Launch Experience.

A piece of nuclear history: Digitizing archived nuclear films

November 8, 2023, 3:00PMANS News

As far back as the 1940s, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and other organizations commissioned dozens of nuclear energy–related educational films. They delve into a variety of topics, including the development of nuclear reactors, radiation and reactors for space, and the political history of nuclear technology in the United States.

ANS congratulates Mehdi Sarram on 60 years of membership

October 4, 2023, 3:14PMANS News
ANS Executive Director/CEO Craig Piercy presented a certificate commemorating Sarram’s 60 years as an ANS member.

The American Nuclear Society is pleased to celebrate Mehdi Sarram on the 60th anniversary of his membership. He joined the Society in 1963 when he was an undergraduate in nuclear engineering at the University of Michigan and has since served the nuclear energy industry as a nuclear engineer, reactor operator, professor, and mentor. Over the years, Sarram has been active in several local ANS sections and has made remarkable contributions to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, including bringing Iran’s first nuclear reactor to full power.

The National Organization of Test, Research, and Training Reactors

June 12, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear NewsLes Foyto, Tim Grunloh, and Caleb S. Brooks

Photo: University of Maryland Radiation Facilities

This year, the nuclear power industry is seeing a renewed mandate to innovate and supply carbon-free energy for a range of applications. These new reactor designs feature new fuel forms, expanded thermodynamic ranges, and different operational paradigms. The trend toward smaller designs is anticipated to dramatically reduce siting requirements and enable applications of nuclear heat more customizable to commercial use. This has many vendors and operators imagining creative ways to optimize reactor economics in an unpredictable energy market.

The existing U.S. nuclear fleet has benefited from experience and research generated in research and test reactors around the country. As our industry reinvests in innovation, it will once again turn to many of the same reactors. Those reactors—and the groups such as the National Organization of Test, Research, and Training Reactors (TRTR) that formed to support them—have their own history of innovation.

Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce receives DOE grant

June 6, 2023, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
The Paducah site. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management has awarded a $2 million grant to the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce for its work in considering the possible future uses of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant site in Kentucky. The project will consist of site mapping, community studies, data analysis, and development of recommended strategies.

The U.S. nuclear fuel Gordian knot: From global supplier to vulnerable customer

May 19, 2023, 3:01PMNuclear NewsMatt Wald

This article is the second in a series about the domestic nuclear fuel crisis. The first in the series, “‘On the verge of a crisis’: The U.S. nuclear fuel Gordian knot,” was published on Nuclear Newswire on April 14, 2023.

Once upon a time, enrichment was a government monopoly—at least outside the Soviet bloc. But the United States, eager to get out of the field, was convinced that the private sector could do it better. Now, the West is dependent on the Soviets’ successors and is facing an uncertain supply, a complication of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Slowly, a consensus is growing that dependence on imports is a bad idea. Some experts also say that upsets like the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, and the collapse of natural gas prices due to fracking, show that the market is too prone to shocks for private companies to navigate without support. One of the architects of the U.S. government’s exit from the enrichment game is now voicing second thoughts. And belatedly—shortly after the first anniversary of the beginning of the Russian invasion—five Western countries, including the United States, announced that they have to get more deeply involved in the fuel supply chain, but didn’t say precisely how.

ORNL shuttered molten salt reactor made safer

May 12, 2023, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
For the first time in 26 years, work crews performed sampling of gaseous byproducts at the MSRE. (Photo: DOE)

The Molten Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE) facility is one of hundreds of old, contaminated buildings at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee that are slated to be taken down.

The AEC helped in celebration of Oregon’s 100 years

February 22, 2023, 12:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe
A nuclear power display by the AEC was one of the exhibits at the Oregon Centennial Exposition and International Trade Fair in 1959. (Photo: Oregon Historical Society)

The Oregon Encyclopedia website has posted an article about the state’s Oregon Centennial Exposition and International Trade Fair, held in Portland in 1959 in celebration of Oregon’s becoming the 35th U.S state 100 years prior. The Oregon Encyclopedia is a project of the Oregon Historical Society.

After 70 years, J. Robert Oppenheimer’s legacy is being rewritten

December 22, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

On December 16 the Department of Energy reversed a decision made nearly 70 years ago by leaders of its predecessor agency, the Atomic Energy Commission, to revoke the security clearance of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the scientist who led the first group of scientists and engineers at what would eventually become Los Alamos National Laboratory as they built the first atomic bomb. While it comes far too late for Oppenheimer, his family, and his colleagues to appreciate, the McCarthy-era campaign to discredit Oppenheimer is now itself officially discredited as “a flawed process that violated the Commission’s own regulations,” in the words of the DOE’s recent announcement.

Oppenheimer’s story has been told many times by biographers and chroniclers of the Manhattan Project; a new feature film is expected in July 2023. Today, we offer a #ThrowbackThursday post that examines the scant coverage of Oppenheimer’s life and work in the pages of Nuclear News to date and draws on other historical content—and the DOE’s recent move to correct the record—to fill a few of the gaps.

The DRUM program: Cataloging America’s abandoned uranium mines

September 30, 2022, 3:04PMRadwaste SolutionsGuest Contributor
DRUM team members at the Telluride 18 mine in the Yellow Cat area of southwest Colorado.

Based on a review of U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) records and available data from numerous agencies, there are an estimated 4,225 mines across the country that provided uranium ore to the U.S. government for defense-related purposes between 1947 and 1970. To aid in the cleanup of these legacy uranium mines and establish a record of their locations and current conditions, the Defense-Related Uranium Mines (DRUM) program was established within the Department of Energy’s Office of Legacy Management (LM).

60 years of headlines from the Advanced Test Reactor

March 24, 2022, 3:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Cover of the April 1962 issue of Nuclear News (left), ATR core diagram appearing in October 1969 issue of Nuclear News (center), and cover of the October 1969 issue of Nuclear News (right).

The Department of Energy and Idaho National Laboratory announced this week that the sixth major core overhaul of the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) is complete, after an 11-month outage that began in April 2021. The ATR was built as a key piece of mission support for U.S. Navy programs and first reached full power in 1969. Today it remains “the world’s largest, most powerful and flexible materials test reactor,” in the words of INL—quite a feat for a reactor that was planned over 60 years ago.

The case of the Pu-powered pacemaker

January 20, 2022, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe
The cover of the August 1969 issue of Nuclear News (left), an image of Brunhilde, the dog that had the first nuclear-powered pacemaker in the U.S. (center) and the cover of the December 1970 Nuclear News (right).

In this first installment of a #ThrowbackThursday post, Nuclear News provides a review of radioisotope-powered pacemakers in response to an article in The Wall Street Journal. The article, published earlier this week, looks at the issue of disposing of nuclear-powered pacemakers, although considering how few are still in use today, it seems like this is really much ado about nothing.

The Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards elects 2022 leadership

January 6, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News


The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards has elected Joy Rempe as chair, Walter Kirchner as vice chair, and David Petti as member-at-large. All three are ANS members.

“I am honored that my colleagues on the ACRS elected me to this position,” said Rempe, of Rempe and Associates. “The leadership team looks forward to ensuring that the ACRS continues its tradition of providing the commission advice on safety issues.”

Bios: Rempe has more than 35 years of experience in the areas of reactor safety and instrumentation performance. Prior to retiring as a Laboratory Fellow at Idaho National Laboratory, she founded an instrumentation development and deployment laboratory, which supported irradiation testing in U.S. and international facilities.