Argonne director Paul Kearns delivers the plenary lecture on the first day of the 2023 Atoms for Humanity symposium. (Photo: Purdue NE/CHE)
The roles of nuclear energy as a clean energy source and in space exploration were highlighted at the recent Atoms for Humanity symposium, held October 25–26, 2023. The symposium, which was organized by Purdue’s Center for Intelligent Energy Systems (CiENS) and hosted by the university’s School of Nuclear Engineering, was held on the West Lafayette, Ind., campus in Eliza Fowler Hall.
BWXT’s microreactor components would be designed to be transported directly from the factory to the deployment site. (Image: BWXT)
“The tools of the academic designer are a piece of paper and a pencil with an eraser. If a mistake is made, it can always be erased and changed. If the practical-reactor designer errs, he wears the mistake around his neck; it cannot be erased. Everyone sees it.”
Many in the nuclear community are familiar with this sentiment from Admiral Rickover. A generation of stagnation in the industry has underscored the truth of his words. But as economies around the world put a price on carbon emissions, there’s a renewed sense of urgency to deploy clean energy technologies. This shifts the global balance of economic competitiveness, and it’s clear that the best path forward for nuclear requires combining the agility of private innovators with the technology and capabilities of national laboratories.
Conceptual art of the Crowley-designed ship with a BWXT microreactor onboard. (Image: BWXT)
BWX Technologies is teaming with Crowley, a global shipping and energy supply chain company, under a memorandum of understanding to develop a ship with an onboard microreactor that could deliver power to users on shore via buoyed power cables. The concept, announced by both companies on September 20, is envisioned as a zero-carbon energy option for defense and disaster needs.
Hanford’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, also known as the Vit Plant. (Photo: Bechtel National)
The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management awarded a 10-year contract worth up to $45 billion to Hanford Tank Waste Operations and Closure (H2C) of Lynchburg, Va., to oversee the management of liquid radioactive tank waste at the DOE’s Hanford Site in southeastern Washington state.
Nuclear Fuel Services in Erwin, Tenn. (Photo: BWX Technologies)
BWX Technologies announced on April 10 that its Nuclear Fuel Services subsidiary in Erwin, Tenn., has been awarded a five-year, $428 million contract from the National Nuclear Security Administration to purify and convert high-enriched uranium (HEU) from an oxide to a metal. The Phase II contract follows the successful completion by NFS of a $57.5 million contract awarded two years ago for a process line design and pilot demonstration.
CNSC’s Rumina Velshi (left) and the PAA’s Andrzej Głowacki sign a memorandum of cooperation on advanced and small modular reactors. (Photo: CNSC)
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and Poland’s National Atomic Energy Agency (PAA) have signed a memorandum of cooperation to share best practices and experience in reviewing advanced and small modular reactor technologies. (The two agencies are already engaged in cooperation on nuclear safety matters under a memorandum of understanding inked in 2014.)
Industry professionals visit INL as part of a U.S. Nuclear Industry Council Conference. (Photo: INL)
The Department of Energy’s commitment to breaking down market barriers with initiatives, programs, and access to facilities is making it simpler and more efficient than ever for industry to partner with national laboratories. It is especially timely, as the country continues to face evolving security, economic, and clean energy challenges. Partnering opportunities via the DOE’s Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) and Strategic Partnership Projects (SPPs) are particularly prevalent in the commercial nuclear community and have seen a tremendous amount of funding and support dedicated to advancing the development, demonstration, and deployment of new reactor technologies.
Artist’s rendering of BWXT’s Project Pele transportable reactor modules arriving for set up and operation. (Image: BWXT)
BWX Technologies, Inc., will deliver the first microreactor in the United States under a contract awarded by the U.S. Department of Defense Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO), the company announced today. BWXT will have two years to build a transportable microreactor prototype to the SCO’s Project Pele specifications and deliver it to Idaho National Laboratory for testing under a cost-type contract valued at about $300 million.