The enduring legacy of ACRS: Reviewing safety-licensing to protect the public

February 24, 2023, 3:03PMNuclear NewsHossein Nourbakhsh

The 1957 amendment to the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 established the Advisory Committee On Reactor Safeguards as a statutory committee with an independent advisory role and the responsibility to “review safety studies and facility license applications” and advise the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission “with regard to the hazards of proposed or existing reactor facilities and the adequacy of reactor safety standards.” With the enactment of the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974, the ACRS was assigned to the newly established Nuclear Regulatory Commission with its statutory requirements intact.

The Hanford B Reactor

February 13, 2023, 11:49AMNuclear NewsJeremy Hampshire
Front face of the B Reactor at the Hanford Site. (Photo: DOE)

In remote southeastern Washington you will find the sprawling Hanford Site, which was constructed to produce plutonium for the Manhattan Project. Within this complex is the first plutonium production reactor, the Hanford B Reactor. The DuPont Corporation was responsible for construction and operation of the B Reactor. Due to the urgency of the Manhattan Project, construction was completed in just over a year, and The B Reactor went critical on September 26, 1944. After the needs of the Manhattan Project were satisfied, the reactor was briefly shut down and then restarted to produce plutonium for roughly another 20 years, supporting Cold War efforts. In addition to plutonium production, the B Reactor also pioneered the process to produce tritium for the first-ever thermonuclear test.

CP-1 at 80: The legacy of CP-1—and the scientist who created its neutron activity detector

December 8, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News
A replica of the chianti bottle signed by many of those present on December 2, 1942, alongside the image of a document signed 20 years later by most of those present (Photo: ANL); a portion of a photo of CP-1 scientists taken on December 2, 1946 (Photo: ANL); January 1993 Nuclear News coverage of CP-1 50th anniversary commemorations during the 1992 ANS Winter Meeting.

Nuclear Newswire is back with the final #ThrowbackThursday post honoring the 80th anniversary of Chicago Pile-1 with offerings from past issues of Nuclear News. On November 17, we took a look at the lead-up to the first controlled nuclear chain reaction and on December 1, the events of December 2, 1942, the day a self-sustaining nuclear fission reaction was created and controlled inside a pile of graphite and uranium assembled on a squash court at the University of Chicago’s Stagg Field.

DOE renews Portsmouth grant to Ohio University

October 7, 2022, 7:03AMANS Nuclear Cafe
The Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management has renewed a $2.5 million grant to Ohio University to support community redevelopment around the DOE’s Portsmouth Site. Since 2016, the DOE has provided a total of $8.2 million to the university for work with the communities.

The DOE grant, which began on October 1, will be administered over five years through September 30, 2027. A previous grant expired on September 30.

Westinghouse fuel plant okayed for four more decades of operation

September 13, 2022, 3:01PMNuclear News
An aerial view of Westinghouse’s Columbia Fuel Fabrication Facility in Hopkins, S.C. (Photo: Westinghouse)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission yesterday announced that it has issued a renewed license for Westinghouse Electric Company’s Columbia Fuel Fabrication Facility (CFFF), authorizing operations at the plant for another 40 years—through September 12, 2062.

Located in Hopkins, S.C., the CFFF manufactures fuel rods for use in commercial nuclear reactors. According to Westinghouse, 10 percent of the nation’s electricity comes from the fuel manufactured at the facility.

Experimental Breeder Reactor I: A retrospective

December 19, 2019, 5:29PMANS Nuclear CafeWill Searight

In the not-so-distant 20th century past, our planet was in an uncertain new-world order. The second of two major wars had dramatically reshaped the landscape of the world's nations. It was not by any means assured that the extraordinary nuclear process of fission, which itself had been discovered mere years before the second war's end, would be successfully utilized for anything but the tremendous and frightening powers realized in thermonuclear warheads. In the years following, a humble project materializing out of the National Reactor Testing Station in Idaho was to challenge that assertion and demonstrate that nuclear fission could indeed be a commercial, peaceful source of electrical power for civilizations around the globe.

RadioNuclear 22: HBO’s Chernobyl: A Setback or Opportunity?

June 27, 2019, 2:14PMANS Nuclear CafeDoug Hardtmayer

Episode 22 of RadioNuclear is now available. In this episode, we discuss the recent miniseries "Chernobyl", which recently concluded on HBO. We debunk some of the more egregious articles written in the wake of the show (see links to these articles below). We also discuss good ways to engage with individuals who are captivated with the show, and not necessarily familiar with nuclear technology.

Nuclear Plant Construction Delay and Cost 3

November 2, 2018, 5:24PMANS Nuclear CafeWill Davis

Reactor vessel delivered to Calvert Cliffs; from brochure in Will Davis collection.

The year 1971 saw a continuation of the general trend of rising capital costs for all types of power plants, described by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) in its publication for 1971 as having "risen rather rapidly."  According to the AEC, the aggregate major causes for the increases in costs specific to nuclear electric power plants were as follows, with author's analysis accompanying each: