Argonne to investigate Pu chemistry to aid Hanford cleanup

May 7, 2024, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
Hanford’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, also known as the Vit Plant. (Photo: Bechtel National)

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory are investigating the details of plutonium chemistry with the goal of aiding the cleanup of the Hanford Site in Washington state. For more than 40 years, reactors located at Hanford produced plutonium for America’s defense program, resulting in millions of gallons of liquid radioactive and chemical waste.

Argonne opens registration for D&D training course

April 23, 2024, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions

Registration is open for Argonne National Laboratory’s Facility Decommissioning Training Course, a four-day instruction designed for those responsible for the decontamination and decommissioning of nuclear facilities and who are looking to understand the full breadth and depth of the D&D processes.

The next session will be held July 16–19 in Santa Fe, N.M. Information on the course and how to register can be found here.

The Watchful Guardian: Argonne’s ARG-US remote monitoring technologies

April 12, 2024, 3:07PMRadwaste SolutionsKevin A. Brown and Yung Liu
The DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Ill. (Photo: DOE)

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory are developing and deploying ARG-US (from the Greek Argus, meaning “Watchful Guardian”) remote monitoring systems technologies to enhance the safety, security, and safeguards (3S) of packages of nuclear and other radioactive material during storage, transportation, and disposal.

Remembering Charles E. Till

March 28, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News

Charles E. Till

Charles E. Till, an ANS member since 1963 and Fellow since 1987, passed away on March 22 at the age of 89. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Saskatchewan and a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from Imperial College, University of London. Till initially worked for the Civilian Atomic Power Department of the Canadian General Electric Company, where he was the physicist in charge of the startup of the first prototype CANDU reactor in Canada.

Till joined Argonne National Laboratory in 1963 in the Applied Physics Division, where he worked as an experimentalist in the Fast Critical Experiments program. He then moved to additional positions of increasing responsibility, becoming division director in 1973. Under his leadership, the Applied Physics Division established itself as one of the elite reactor physics organizations in the world. Both the experimental (critical experiments and nuclear data measurements) and nuclear analysis methods work were internationally recognized. Till led Argonne’s participation in the International Nuclear Fuel Cycle Evaluation (INFCE), and he was the lead U.S. delegate to INFCE Working Group 5, Fast Breeders.

Can uranium extraction from seawater make nuclear power completely renewable?

February 20, 2024, 11:52AMNuclear NewsJames Conca
Researchers have been working frantically to develop an array of materials and fibers to economically extract uranium from seawater—and they have succeeded. PNNL scientists exposed this special uranium-sorbing fiber developed at ORNL to Pseudomonas fluorescens and used the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory to create a 3-D X-ray microtomograph to determine microstructure and the effects of interactions with organisms and seawater. (Image: PNNL)

America, Japan, and China are racing to be the first nation to make nuclear energy completely renewable. The hurdle is making it economical to extract uranium from seawater, because the amount of uranium in seawater is truly inexhaustible.

While America had been in the lead with technological breakthroughs from the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest and Oak Ridge National Laboratories, researchers at Northeast Normal University in China have sprung ahead. But these breakthroughs from both countries have brought the removal of uranium from seawater within economic reach. The only question is when will the source of uranium for our nuclear power plants change from mined ore to sea­water extraction?

Nuclear Energy 101 ends on nuclear applications note

January 22, 2024, 3:02PMANS News

Nuclear Energy 101, the five-course educational series for congressional staffers, came to a close in October with its final talk. This seminar series is a fun—and popular—tool for ANS to explain the basics of nuclear science and technology to and network with Capitol Hill denizens. After a long hiatus, the series returned in March 2023, and delivered five successful courses.

Argonne assists advanced reactor development with award-winning safety software

December 1, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear NewsKristen Mally Dean
Partnerships between the nuclear industry and national laboratories are making overall codes more robust and capable. (Photo: Argonne)

The development of modern nuclear reactor technologies relies heavily on complex software codes and computer simulations to support the design, construction, and testing of physical hardware systems. These tools allow for rigorous testing of theory and thorough verification of design under various use or transient power scenarios.

The design and legacy of Experimental Breeder Reactor-II

November 22, 2023, 4:16PMNuclear NewsJeremy Hampshire
Experimental Breeder Reactor-II (Photo: ANL)

If you head west out of Idaho Falls on U.S. Highway 20 and make your way across the Snake River Plain, it won’t be long before you’ll notice a silver dome in the distance to the north. One of the most recognizable structures in the history of nuclear energy, Experimental Breeder Reactor-II stands out from the desert landscape. The 890-square-mile site on which EBR-II is located is the former National Reactor Testing Station, now known as Idaho National Laboratory.

Argonne National Lab: Making nuclear research reactors more secure

August 15, 2023, 3:01PMNuclear NewsChristina Nunez

Nuclear research reactors throughout the world enable crucial scientific progress that benefit many sectors, health care and the environment among them. But some of those reactors need an important adjustment: a conversion from using high-enriched uranium fuel to using low-enriched uranium fuel.

Register now for DOE conference on advanced reactor exporting

July 7, 2023, 7:01AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Take note! Registration closes today for the U.S. Department of Energy Conference for Newcomers: Understanding Exports of Advanced Reactor Technologies, scheduled for July 2627 at Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Ill.

Contact Mercedes Trent ( to sign up for the conference. Additional information will follow upon registration.

Seven companies get GAIN vouchers in this year’s third award round

June 27, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News

The Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) announced June 26 the companies that have received GAIN Nuclear Energy Vouchers, which allow private companies to access the expertise and research capabilities of Department of Energy national laboratories to advance their projects toward commercial deployment. This is the third round of GAIN vouchers awarded for fiscal year 2023; the first round was announced in December 2022 and the second in March.

CP-1 at 80: The events of December 2, 1942

December 1, 2022, 12:01PMNuclear News

On the eve of the 80th anniversary of the first controlled nuclear chain reaction, Nuclear Newswire is back with the second of three prepared #ThrowbackThursday posts of CP-1 coverage from past issues of Nuclear News.

On November 17, we surveyed the events of 1942 leading up to the construction of Chicago Pile-1, an assemblage of graphite bricks and uranium “pseudospheres” used to achieve and control a self-sustaining fission reaction on December 2, 1942, inside a squash court at the University of Chicago’s Stagg Field.

Today we’ll pick up where we left off, as construction of CP-1 began on November 16, 1942.

Two reports agree: Diverse advanced reactor fuel cycles can succeed

November 23, 2022, 6:39AMNuclear News

Advanced reactors and small modular reactors with strikingly different coolants and sizes offer an array of different benefits, but when it comes to fuel cycle issues, including spent fuel and waste, they have a lot in common with conventional light water reactors. Two reports released within the last week—a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) consensus committee report two years in the making and a Department of Energy study released by Argonne National Laboratory—address the timely topic of advanced reactor fuel cycle issues. While the NASEM committee ventured to define research and infrastructure needs to support the entire nuclear power fuel cycle, inclusive of new technologies, for decades to come, the DOE report compares the front- and back-end fuel cycle metrics of three reactor designs (from NuScale Power, TerraPower, and X-energy) that have been selected for DOE cost-share–funded demonstrations within this decade. Together, these reports provide assurance that the fuel cycle needs of a fleet of new reactors can be met and point to near-term research and planning needs.

CP-1 at 80: Preparing for the first controlled nuclear chain reaction

November 17, 2022, 3:08PMNuclear News
From left, the cover of the December 1962 issue of NN, featuring a model and a medal, both displayed at the 1962 ANS Winter Meeting; a photo of CP-1 during construction, as published in the November 1992 issue of NN; the opening page of a chronological account of CP-1, published in November 1992 to mark the 50th anniversary.

As we approach the 80th anniversary of controlled nuclear fission, Nuclear Newswire is prepared to deliver not one but three #ThrowbackThursday posts of CP-1 highlights unearthed from past issues of Nuclear News.

ANS was founded in 1954, nearly 12 years after the first controlled nuclear chain reaction was achieved on December 2, 1942, inside a pile of graphite and uranium assembled on a squash court at the University of Chicago’s Stagg Field. By 1962, ANS was prepared to “salute the 20th anniversary of the first chain reaction” at their Winter Meeting, displaying a model of Chicago Pile-1 and presenting a specially cast medal to Walter Zinn, a representative of Enrico Fermi’s scientific team. Over the years, ANS has continued to mark significant anniversaries of CP-1 at national meetings and in NN.

American Nuclear Society publishes special issue of Nuclear Science and Engineering on Versatile Test Reactor

October 14, 2022, 2:37PMPress Releases
A rendering of the Versatile Test Reactor site. Image: INL

LA GRANGE PARK, Illinois – Idaho National Laboratory’s crucial Versatile Test Reactor (VTR) project is the focus of a newly released special issue of Nuclear Science and Engineering, the first and oldest peer-reviewed journal in its field. This special issue of the American Nuclear Society’s flagship journal presents a current snapshot of the nuclear innovation project at INL, which is being developed in partnership among six national labs and a host of industry and university partners.

Cue ominous chords and fade in from black . . .

September 15, 2022, 2:52PMANS News

It’s 1976, and you’re watching TV when a public service announcement from the American Nuclear Society airs, showing the earth being squeezed dry of its last drops of oil by a giant hand as it urges more “safe, reliable, and economical” nuclear power plants. The narrator’s last words, intoned over a fading sunset, still ring true today: “Our world is hungry for energy, and we must move ahead to preserve our future. If we don’t, we could find ourselves in the dark ages of the seventies.”

Carbon value: Lifetime extensions of nuclear reactors could save billions in climate mitigation costs

June 24, 2022, 2:49PMNuclear NewsBeth Burmahl

On the road to achieving net-zero by midcentury, low- or no-carbon energy sources that slash carbon dioxide emissions are critical weapons. Nevertheless, the role of nuclear energy—the single largest source of carbon-free electricity—remains uncertain.

Nuclear energy, which provides 20 percent of the electricity in the United States, has been a constant, reliable, carbon-free source for nearly 50 years. But our fleet of nuclear reactors is aging, with more than half of the 92 operating reactors across 29 states at or over 40 years old—the length of the original operating licenses issued to the power plants. While some reactors have been retired prematurely, there are two options for those that remain: retire them or renew their license.

First experiments in Argonne’s THETA aim to fill liquid sodium data gaps

May 13, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News
THETA pictured in Argonne National Laboratory’s METL lab. (Photo: ANL)

The Thermal Hydraulic Experimental Test Article (THETA) at Argonne National Laboratory is now operating and providing data that could support the licensing of liquid-metal fast reactor designs by validating thermal-hydraulic and safety analysis codes. The new equipment has been installed in Argonne’s Mechanisms Engineering Test Loop (METL), and its first experiments are supporting data validation needs of Oklo, Inc., by simulating normal operating conditions as well as protected and unprotected loss-of-flow accidents in a sodium-cooled fast reactor.

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.