The VTR is “crucial” for U.S. national security, Atlantic Council leaders contend

August 4, 2021, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Mies

Graham

An article written by national security experts Thomas Graham Jr. and Richard W. Mies, published online in The National Interest on August 3, argues that a recent move by the House Appropriations Committee to zero out the budget for the Versatile Test Reactor “has grave ramifications for U.S. national security and the fight against climate change.” Funding and building the VTR would present an opportunity for the United States to regain its leadership role in nuclear reactor designs and fuel, Graham and Mies assert.

Former ambassador Graham is chairman of the board of Lightbridge Corporation and former general counsel and acting director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. Retired admiral Mies served as the fourth commander in chief of U.S. Strategic Command. Graham and Mies serve as cochairs of the Atlantic Council’s Nuclear Energy and National Security Coalition. Select excerpts from their article are provided here.

China moves closer to completion of world’s first thorium reactor

July 22, 2021, 6:58AMANS Nuclear Cafe
China’s molten salt loop experiment. (Photo: Thorium Energy World)

China is moving ahead with the development of an experimental reactor that would be the first of its kind in the world and “could prove key to the pursuit of clean and safe nuclear power,” according to an article in New Atlas.

American Nuclear Society Cautions Congress Against China Ban

July 1, 2021, 9:07AMPress Releases

LaGrange Park, IL – The American Nuclear Society (ANS) urges Congress to oppose any amendment to H.R. 3524 – Ensuring American Global Leadership and Engagement Act – that bans U.S.-China nuclear energy cooperation. The House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) is slated to markup H.R. 3524 on June 30.

U.K. and Chinese national fusion programs can take the heat

June 3, 2021, 7:02AMNuclear News
Plasma in MAST. (Photo: UKAEA/EUROfusion)

As governments around the world cooperate on the ITER tokamak and, in parallel, race each other and private companies to develop commercial fusion power concepts, it seems that “game-changing” developments are proclaimed almost weekly. Recently, the United Kingdom and China announced new fusion program results.

Biden administration preparing to invest in infrastructure

March 23, 2021, 7:05AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The New York Times has reported on a set of massive spending proposals under President Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda that is adding up to $3 trillion aimed at boosting the economy and combating climate change. The proposals are expected to be presented to Congress in three parts instead of as one massive bill. Details still need to be worked out and the proposals remains in flux, according to the Times.

The Economist: Independent regulators needed for strong nuclear power

March 8, 2021, 9:28AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Nuclear power is an important component in the fight against climate change, but independent regulation is needed to gain the public’s---and governments'---trust, according to a March 6 article in The Economist, “Nuclear power must be well regulated, not ditched.”

The article reviews the negative effect that the Fukushima Daiichi accident had on the worldwide nuclear industry following the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. Japan’s direct economic cost, estimated at more than $200 billion, was larger than that of any other natural disaster the world has seen, according to the article.

China on course to lead in nuclear by 2030, says IEA

March 4, 2021, 3:18PMNuclear News

China will have the world's largest nuclear power fleet within a decade, an International Energy Agency official noted during a session at the High-Level Workshop on Nuclear Power in Clean Energy Transitions, World Nuclear News reported on March 3.

The workshop was held jointly by the IEA and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The IEA official, Brent Wanner, head of Power Sector Modelling & Analysis for the agency's World Energy Outlook publication, said that as nuclear fleets in the United States, Canada, and Japan reach their original design lifetimes, decisions will have to be made about what will happen after that. Absent license renewals, the contribution of nuclear power could decline substantially in those countries while China’s reactor building program will boost it into the first position.

The role of digital insight in a safer nuclear industry

February 2, 2021, 9:45AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The impact of COVID-19 has placed a sharp focus on not only the importance of keeping key personnel safe but also how to better manage risk with fewer resources on site, writes Ola Bäckström, a product manager for risk at Lloyd’s Register, for Power magazine.

One unexpected result is the acceleration of interest in digitization initiatives. Ten years of digital innovation since the Fukushima accident in March 2011 have brought new ways of modeling and managing risk, and new solutions have been brought to market that are allowing for the safe operation of nuclear power plants.

The digitalization of plant designs is one area of risk assessment that can now be completed automatically. The latest technologies consider more than just schematics and equations, much to the benefit of this new era of nuclear. For instance, digital data combined with international best practices, site-specific data, and an engineer’s own experience can provide a deeper level of insight and analysis than ever before—and faster. Bäckström adds that not just new projects but aging assets can also benefit from digitalization. As more data are input, risk managers can run more accurate simulations and better model existing plants.

GlobalData: China to pass U.S. nuclear capacity in six years

September 10, 2020, 5:03PMNuclear News

China is on track to overtake the United States in nuclear power capacity by 2026, according to GlobalData, a U.K.-based research and analytics company.

More than 160 GW of nuclear capacity will likely be added globally between 2020 and 2030, some 66 percent of which is anticipated to take place in China, India, and Russia, the company reported on September 9. China alone is set to account for more than 50 percent (83 GW) of the new capacity, followed by India with 8.9 percent (14.5 GW) and Russia with 6.4 percent (10.5 GW). GlobalData also projects that during the same period, more than 76 GW of nuclear capacity will be retired.

Hot thermal tests completed at Fuqing-­5

March 17, 2020, 11:07AMNuclear News

According to a statement from the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), a key hot performance test was conducted on Unit 5 of the Fuqing nuclear power plant in Fuzhou, in East China’s Fujian Province, on March 2. The CNNC said it is the world’s first nuclear power project using Hualong One technology, also known as HPR 1000, a third-­generation reactor design developed by China. A total of five nuclear power units adopting HPR 1000 technology are under construction by CNNC in China and other countries.

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Looking Back: A Brief History of CONTE

January 2, 2019, 2:37AMANS Nuclear CafeDr. Jane LeClair

The accident that occurred at Three Mile Island on March 28, 1979, brought about many changes to the nuclear industry. Among the changes was the industry stopping to reflect on current procedures and the training of its employees. Exhorted by the findings of the Kemeny Commission and sponsored by the Department of Energy, industry leaders and training personnel began meeting on improvements to training at the Gatlinburg Conference in the early 1980's.

Presenting Atucha III

September 24, 2014, 4:17PMANS Nuclear CafeWill Davis

Atucha I and II at right; artist's concept of Atucha III at left.  Courtesy Nucleoelectrica Argentina S.A.

Atucha I and II at right; artist's concept of Atucha III at left. RIght-most unit is Atucha I. Courtesy Nucleoelectrica Argentina S.A.

Nucleoelectrica Argentina S.A. announced in July that it had entered into a contract with China National Nuclear Corporation to build a Chinese-sourced version of the traditional Canadian CANDU reactor at its Atucha site. This 800-MWe plant will be the fourth at the site (already occupied by two Siemens pressurized heavy water reactor plants, and the just-begun CAREM Small Modular Reactor plant) and the nation's fifth nuclear plant overall (adding in the CANDU plant at Embalse.) This new unit will be Argentina's most powerful nuclear unit, topping Embalse by 200 MWe.