Atoms for Humanity highlights nuclear’s clean energy and space exploration roles

February 8, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News
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.

Young Members Group shines at YPC

January 9, 2024, 4:48PMNuclear NewsKen Petersen

Ken Petersen
president@ans.org

A big thank-you to the American Nuclear Society Young Members Group for all it accomplished at the Young Professionals Congress (YPC) and President’s Special Session at the 2023 ANS Winter Conference and Expo.

The YPC was held on Saturday, November 11. Its chair, Miriam Kreher, and the YPC planning committee did an excellent job organizing and executing the congress. Its three tracks had something for everyone, including knowledge expansion and soft skills training. The speakers at the congress, including Katy Huff, assistant secretary for nuclear energy, were outstanding in every category.

The President’s Special Session was organized by the Young Members Group (YMG). Matt Wargon, YMG chair, and the planning committee did an incredible job. We kicked around several ideas for a theme before landing on “Space: The [Next] Nuclear Frontier.”

National lab partnerships speed nuclear deployment

December 15, 2023, 4:56PMNuclear NewsDonna Kemp Spangler and Joel Hiller
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.

ANS Winter Meeting: Space—the next nuclear frontier

November 15, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News

Put nuclear technology in space or on the moon, and just as on Earth it can provide a power density unmatched by any other source. But what roles can nuclear power and propulsion play as the world enters a 21st-century space race? That was a key question put to six speakers during the November 14 American Nuclear Society Winter Meeting plenary session “Space: The (Next) Nuclear Frontier.”

Offshore nuclear power concept under development by BWXT and Crowley

September 21, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
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.

Wyoming invites BWXT to assess microreactors for the state

September 18, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News

Concept art of the BANR microreactor system. (Image: BWXT)

BWX Technologies last week announced a contract with the Wyoming Energy Authority (WEA) to evaluate the viability of deploying microreactors in the state.

The Lynchburg, Va., tech firm said its BWXT Advanced Technologies subsidiary will execute the two-year, two-phase agreement in close consultation with the state government and other Wyoming organizations and companies.

Project Pele will “nurture” a second microreactor: X-energy’s Xe-Mobile

September 14, 2023, 3:06PMNuclear News

The Department of Defense announced on September 13 that it has awarded a contract option to X-energy for the “enhanced engineering design” of a microreactor that could serve as the transportable power source envisioned by the Strategic Capabilities Office’s (SCO) Project Pele. The DOD expects the award for one year of work to “allow a thorough analysis of design options,” resulting in a preliminary engineering design and “initiation of a regulatory preapplication process.”

BWXT announces contract to produce HALEU from scrap material

September 8, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News

BWX Technologies, Inc. has announced the details of a contract with the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration to process thousands of kilograms of government-owned scrap material containing enriched uranium and produce more than two metric tons of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) in an oxide form at an enrichment level of 19.75 percent U-235. That HALEU oxide could supply a fraction of the 22 metric tons the DOE has estimated will be needed by the mid-2020s to fuel advanced reactor demonstrations and meet existing commitments for research reactor fuel.

Project Pele in context: An update on the DOD’s microreactor plans

August 28, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News

Deploying microreactor technology for military applications could have huge impacts on logistics and reliability for the military of the future, and on the commercial use of similar technologies. That’s why the Department of Defense is developing Project Pele—a high-temperature, gas-cooled and TRISO-fueled microreactor, transportable within mobile shipping containers—for testing at Idaho National Laboratory in 2025.

Wyoming picks BWXT microreactor project for funding

August 23, 2023, 12:02PMNuclear News

The Wyoming Energy Authority (WEA) recently recommended nearly $10 million—$9,999,802 to be exact—in funding from its Energy Matching Funds (EMF) program for a proposed project to deploy a BWXT Advanced Technologies microreactor in the state. (BWXT AT is a subsidiary of BWX Technologies Inc.)

BWXT to provide engine, fuel for DARPA space project

July 26, 2023, 3:01PMNuclear News
Image: Lockheed Martin

BWX Technologies announced today that it has been selected to supply the nuclear reactor and fuel for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations (DRACO) program—the goal of which is to demonstrate a nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) engine in orbit.

DOE awards $45 billion Hanford tank waste contract

April 14, 2023, 9:29AMRadwaste Solutions
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.

NFS prepares for HEU oxide-to-metal conversion under contract from the NNSA

April 13, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
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.

Canada, Poland to collaborate on SMR technologies

February 21, 2023, 3:17PMNuclear News
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.)

National laboratories: Open for business like never before

January 25, 2023, 7:03AMNuclear NewsCorey McDaniel
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.

Looking back at 2022—April through June

January 4, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News

Another calendar year has passed. Before heading too far into 2023, let’s look back at what happened in 2022 for the American Nuclear Society and the nuclear community. In today's post that follows, we have compiled from Nuclear News and Nuclear Newswire what we feel are the top nuclear news stories from April through June 2022.

Stay tuned this week for the top stories from the rest of the past year.

But first:

BWXT Medical submits Tc-99m generator application to FDA

September 14, 2022, 3:02PMNuclear News

BWXT Medical has submitted a new drug application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to request approval of its technetium-99m generator for medical imaging. A daughter isotope of molybdenum-99, Tc-99m is used in more than 40 million diagnostic procedures annually. BWXT Medical is a subsidiary of Lynchburg, Va.-based BWX Technologies.

From NIA: New and updated reports on advanced nuclear

July 20, 2022, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The Nuclear Innovation Alliance (NIA), a Washington, D.C.–based nonprofit, has released a new report, Advanced Nuclear Reactor Technology: A Company Compendium, along with an update to its Advanced Nuclear Reactor Technology: A Primer, first published last September.

Both reports are meant to serve as resources for investors, reporters, policymakers, regulators, and others wanting to learn more about the different technologies and key players involved in the design, licensing, construction, and operation of advanced nuclear reactors.

BWXT wins Project Pele contract to supply U.S.'s first microreactor

June 9, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
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.