The Elk River reactor, as it was generally known in the AEC parlance of the day, was a pioneering effort in America's nuclear energy history. Hailed widely as "Rural America's first atomic power plant," the intention was to provide a pilot installation of a small, simple, and inexpensive nuclear steam supply system that could be duplicated at many far flung locations. Unfortunately for the concept, the Elk River plant in the end proved unable to meet the task for technical reasons; yet, it remains firmly in history as one of the well known early nuclear energy installations. What follows is a brief history of the project and its major players.
July 28, 2016, 2:45PMANS Nuclear Cafe
April 14, 2016, 2:39PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Among the many different reactor concepts being investigated in the late 1950s and early 1960s was the idea that the steam produced by a boiling water reactor, which normally goes straight to the turbine building, could be superheated (or have further heat added once it was already steam) by nuclear energy. This would greatly increase the efficiency of the plant, as well as make dry steam at a high pressure that would allow the use of (less expensive) commercially available equipment in the steam plant. Two reactors were built to investigate the idea of performing both processes in essentially the same reactor-one in South Dakota and (perhaps incredibly to today's readers) another of a very different design on the island of Puerto Rico.
May 1, 2015, 5:39PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Yesterday, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced that its commissioners had approved the award of a Construction and Operating License (COL) for DTE Energy's prospective Fermi Unit 3, to be built on the site of the existing Fermi-2 near Detroit, Mich. The COL will also notably be the first for the GE Hitachi ESBWR, or "Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor," a Gen-III+ nuclear plant with passive safety.
January 21, 2015, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe
This is the last of the three-part series presenting the opinions of nuclear industry experts on the closing of Vermont Yankee. Thank you to Dan Yurman for helping to coordinate all of the authors/articles in this three-part series.
January 20, 2015, 9:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe
This is the second of three posts presenting the professional opinions of experts in the nuclear field on the Yankee Vermont closing.
January 19, 2015, 8:30PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Although the nuclear power station known as Vermont Yankee had another 18 years left on its license, it was shut down for economic reasons at the end of 2014. Entergy Corporation,the plant's owner, and others have cited the low price of natural gas in the region as deterministic, but the reality is that many other issues were also at play.
September 19, 2014, 8:29PMANS Nuclear Cafe
• This week the GE-Hitachi ESBWR design received its Design Certification from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
August 14, 2014, 3:57PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Yesterday, the saga of nuclear energy in post-Fukushima Japan reached an important milestone as the final utility that owns nuclear power plants in that country applied to the regulator for restart, in an event that snuck under the radar of most news venues.
June 13, 2014, 6:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe
The recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announcement of policy regarding carbon emissions from power plants has triggered a renewed interest in nuclear energy over the past few weeks; along with this of course comes a focus on small modular reactors (SMRs) and their availability for replacing existing fossil-fueled plants or facilities. We have discussed this topic here at ANS Nuclear Cafe before, in terms of the possibility of adding an SMR onto an existing facility-see "The Hook-Ons."
September 26, 2013, 1:56PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Earlier this month, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe conducted a visit to Tokyo Electric Power Company's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear station to examine conditions at the site and to gauge TEPCO's response to numerous ongoing problems. When Abe spoke to reporters after the visit, he mentioned (for reasons still unknown) that he had suggested to TEPCO that it decommission Unit 5 and Unit 6 on the site, so that it could focus its efforts squarely on the work required to recover from the nuclear accidents at Units 1, 2, and 3. This was reported with some surprise in many quarters.
May 23, 2013, 6:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe
The news has finally come out on a long-awaited subject: the first determination by Japan's new Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) that a nuclear plant in Japan lies on a seismic fault determined to be active.
March 7, 2013, 2:58PMANS Nuclear Cafe
At about a quarter to three in the afternoon on March 11, 2011, a gigantic and unprecedented earthquake struck just over 110 miles off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture in Japan. The quake was followed, just over 40 minutes later, by the first of several rounds of tsunami, which inundated enormous areas and eradicated entire towns and villages. Over 19,000 people were killed or are still missing, and over 6,000 survivors were injured.
October 30, 2012, 1:01AMANS Nuclear Cafe
As the Eastern half of the United States falls under siege by Hurricane Sandy and combined weather fronts-which together are being termed "Frankenstorm"-the nuclear community is targeted by nuclear opponents keen on capitalizing on this severe weather event. A recent piece quoting Arnold Gundersen asserts that Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station is facing serious problems should it lose offsite power, saying essentially that the plant will be unable to provide cooling for the spent fuel in its spent fuel pool.
March 20, 2012, 3:49PMANS Nuclear Cafe
The plant dodges another bullet at least for now
February 23, 2012, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe
A partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory will yield results for years to come
January 30, 2012, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe
January 26, 2012, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe
The utility is assessing options to use it
January 24, 2012, 6:59AMANS Nuclear Cafe
January 20, 2012, 2:07PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Federal District Court rules against efforts by the State of Vermont to assert regulatory authority over radiological safety issues
December 20, 2011, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe
The December issue of Nuclear News magazine, which contains a special section on instrumentation and control, is available in hard copy and electronically for American Nuclear Society members (must enter ANS user name and password in Member Center). The special section contains the following stories: