University of Wisconsin nuclear engineering student Grace Stanke is crowned Miss America 2023

December 16, 2022, 11:58AMANS News

Stanke being crowned Miss America.

Grace Stanke, a nuclear engineering student at the University of Wisconsin–Madison who has partnered with ANS to promote nuclear energy, has been crowned as Miss America 2023. After competing in the three-night competition at the Mohegan Sun casino in Uncasville, Conn., as the reigning Miss Wisconsin, Stanke was honored with the iconic crystal crown and a $50,000 scholarship on December 15. During her year-long reign as Miss America, she will also receive a six-figure salary and other benefits as she travels thousands of miles a month to represent the Miss America Organization and to continue advocating for nuclear energy.

During the past year, Stanke’s work with ANS has included writing articles for Nuclear Newswire about her visits to nuclear facilities in Wisconsin and about misconceptions regarding nuclear energy. She also posted a two-part video about nuclear fusion on the ANS Instagram page.

How excellence in plant operations will lead to a brighter nuclear future

December 8, 2022, 6:59AMNuclear NewsSteven Arndt

Steven Arndt
president@ans.org

For years the U.S. nuclear industry has done an outstanding job keeping plant availability high while simultaneously continuing to improve safety and economics. With capacity factors averaging more than 90 percent, you would think that no one would shut down an operational nuclear power plant. But that is what we have seen in a number of cases. Fortunately, this now seems to be changing. As I write this column, Diablo Canyon’s new life extension application has just been submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for review, and the Department of Energy’s program to support continued operation of nuclear power plants is providing hope that current plants will continue to have the opportunity to demonstrate their operational excellence.

How did we get here? When I ask this question—both of myself and the industry as a whole—I envision this as two sides of the same coin. Through the efforts of many we have improved our financial and economic viability, but challenges remain because the full value proposition of nuclear energy has not been realized.

U.S. to assist Thailand, Philippines with nuclear energy plans

November 29, 2022, 3:10PMNuclear News
Philippine president Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and Vice President Harris meet in Manila on November 21. (Photo: Office of the Press Secretary, Republic of the Philippines)

During a recent weeklong trip to Southeast Asia aimed at bolstering U.S. economic and security ties in the region, Vice President Kamala Harris announced the launch of nuclear energy partnerships with Thailand and the Philippines.

Currently, neither country enjoys the benefits of nuclear power. Both rely primarily on some mix of petroleum, natural gas, and coal for their energy needs.

Bruce Power advances nuclear carbon offset project

November 21, 2022, 3:04PMNuclear News
The Bruce Power A and B nuclear power plants. (Photo: CNSC)

Canada’s Bruce Power, operator of the eight-unit Bruce nuclear plant in Kincardine, Ontario, has announced a “made-in-Ontario solution” to the net-zero challenges faced by industries: allowing new incremental nuclear output to be accredited for an avoided emissions benefit.

GAIN’s Rachel Taow recognized as first C3E awardee from the nuclear field

November 8, 2022, 3:15PMNuclear News

Taow

Rachel Taow, who is the process modernization lead for the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) at Idaho National Laboratory, received an award in the category of law and finance during the 11th Annual C3E Women in Clean Energy Symposium and Awards, held on November 2 in Washington, D.C. Taow has 16 years of government contracting experience—the last six spent with GAIN—and was nominated for the award by GAIN director Christine King.

The Clean Energy Education & Empowerment (C3E) Initiative was created in 2010 to close the gender gap in clean energy fields, and since 2012, outstanding mid-career women in clean energy have been recognized at the annual C3E symposium. Nine women received awards this year, including—for the first time in the 11 years of the C3E award program—a woman working to advance nuclear energy.

New CNC draft guidance out as first-round decision nears

October 4, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

The Department of Energy released draft guidance for the second award cycle of the $6 billion Civil Nuclear Credit (CNC) Program on September 30, ahead of a decision on which reactors could receive four years of economic aid from the program’s first award cycle.

The DOE’s draft guidance for the second award cycle describes CNC program timelines and all supporting information required for owners or operators of nuclear power plants to apply for certification of eligibility and submit sealed bids. Feedback is requested by 5:00 p.m. EDT on November 4. While no date has been set for the second-round application process to open, the DOE plans to initiate the award cycle before the end of the year.

GAO finds nuclear demo best practices could set new standard for clean energy projects

October 3, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

The Department of Energy’s management of its commercial-scale reactor demonstration projects has “generally been consistent with requirements to address risk,” according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report published recently. The GAO found that the DOE has met existing project management requirements, and that the two offices managing the awards—the Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) and the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED)—plan to introduce additional project management tools, such as external independent reviews. The GAO recommended that the DOE adopt those plans as institutional best practices for other large energy projects, and the DOE concurred.

No cold feet: ARPA-E wants to explore low-energy nuclear reactions

September 22, 2022, 12:01PMNuclear News

The Department of Energy announced September 13 that it would spend up to $10 million in a bid to settle the question of whether low-energy nuclear reactions (LENR)—historically known as “cold fusion”—could ever become a carbon-free energy source. The funding is part of an Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) LENR Exploratory Topic designed to “encourage the submission of the most innovative and unconventional ideas in energy technology.”

ANS sponsors energy poverty panel during Clean Energy Ministerial in Pittsburgh

September 20, 2022, 9:34AMANS News

The American Nuclear Society is hosting the side event panel "Advanced Nuclear Reactors: A Possible Solution to Global Warming and Global Energy Poverty" at the Global Clean Energy Action Forum’s Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) . The event will be held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, Pa., on Thursday, September 22, from 1:45 to 2:45 p.m. EDT.

The event is open to all CEM participants.

NREL sees path to triple nuclear capacity by 2035, but there’s more to the story

September 19, 2022, 4:58PMNuclear News
(Photo: DOE)

Examining Supply-Side Options to Achieve 100% Clean Electricity by 2035 was written by research staff at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, so its reliance on solar and wind energy to decarbonize the grid by 2035 is not surprising. But that’s a big ask for any variable energy technology, especially if the nation’s largest source of clean power—nuclear energy—is relegated to a supporting role. Massive additions of solar and wind energy on the order of 2 TW would require a supporting infrastructure of new transmission lines, as well as batteries and hydrogen for daily and seasonal energy storage that would drive demand and capacity requirements higher.

Nearly 400 coal sites could be home to the next 250 GW of U.S. nuclear capacity

September 15, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
The Naughton coal-fired power plant near Kemmerer, Wyo., has two units set to retire in 2025 and be replaced by a TerraPower Natrium reactor. (Photo: PacifiCorp)

Nuclear power generation surpassed coal generation in the United States for the first time in 2020. As utilities continue to retire coal-fired plants, reusing the shuttered sites to host nuclear reactors could help the nation reach the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 and prove economically beneficial both for nuclear deployments and for the communities impacted by fossil fuel generation. That’s according to a Department of Energy report released this week, detailing how hundreds of U.S. coal power plant sites that have recently retired or plan to close within the decade could be suitable for new nuclear power plants. Nuclear power’s high capacity factors mean those plants could deliver an added benefit—delivering more baseload power to the grid from the nameplate capacity replacement.

Registration open for “Pittsburgh Builds the Future of Nuclear Power”

September 6, 2022, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

An upcoming event organized by North American Young Generation in Nuclear will focus on the ways Pittsburghers are contributing to innovations that will help nuclear energy meet the challenges of the clean energy transition. “Pittsburgh Builds the Future of Nuclear Power,” sponsored by Rizzo International, Westinghouse, Curtiss-Wright, SSM Industries, and Ansys, will be held at The Westin Pittsburgh on Thursday, September 22, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. EDT.

Register now. The event is free, but space is limited, and registration is required. Visit the Eventbrite page to complete your registration.

Report sizes up nuclear new-build financing from five top exporters

August 31, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

As energy security and environmental concerns prompt some countries to increase their reliance on nuclear energy or become first-time adopters of the technology, the U.S. government must decide whether it will offer financing for reactor exports—a move that poses financial risks but could create jobs, address global climate and energy security challenges, and limit Chinese and Russian influence. A new report released on August 25 by the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, Comparing Government Financing of Reactor Exports: Considerations for U.S. Policy Makers, digs into the history of nuclear reactor financing and delivers recommendations for U.S. policymakers.

Matt Bowen, research scholar at the center and the report’s lead author, told Nuclear News, “Given how important financing is to countries considering new reactor construction, as well as the competition that U.S. vendors face from foreign state-owned entities, Congress and the White House should both focus attention on the issue, including policy options to increase U.S. competitiveness.”

The coal-to-nuclear conversion: Are Gen IV reactors the answer?

August 19, 2022, 12:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Artist’s rendering of the IMSR Core-Unit. (Credit: Terrestrial Energy)

In the ongoing quest to mitigate the effects of climate change, new technology can create new solutions. Even today, however, coal is still a main source of power around the globe, often out of necessity. Many coal-burning plants have already been converted for gas or biomass, but these measures alone are not nearly enough to meet net-zero carbon goals. There is a better solution, however: repowering coal plants with nuclear technology—specifically, Generation IV reactors.

Granholm makes first visit to Idaho National Laboratory

August 4, 2022, 11:55AMNuclear News
Pictured during a tour of the EBR-II site are, from left, Robert Boston, DOE-ID manager; Rep. Mike Simpson (R., Idaho); Secretary Granholm; Director Wagner; and Marianne Walck, INL deputy laboratory director for science and technology. (Photo: INL)

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm visited Idaho National Laboratory on August 3 to meet with INL staff, including director John Wagner, as she toured key research facilities on INL’s 890-square-mile site and the lab’s campus in Idaho Falls.

Small and Advanced Reactors with Diverse Fuel Cycles Can Deliver Energy Security

July 29, 2022, 7:08AMNuclear News

Nuclear energy offers a pairing of high capacity factors and low carbon emissions unrivaled by other power sources, and advanced reactors and small modular reactors (SMRs) hold promise to deliver that power with even more efficiency and versatility. Researchers in the public and private sectors, backed by government funding through programs like the Department of Energy’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program and Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E), are bringing that promise closer to fulfillment by engineering solutions to open questions about advanced reactor materials and fuel cycles.

TVA seeks 5 GW of clean energy, requires availability before 2029

July 13, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News
TVA's Watt Bar nuclear power plant.

As part of its strategy to achieve net-zero status by 2050, the Tennessee Valley Authority yesterday issued a request for proposals for supplying up to 5 GW of carbon-free energy that must be operational before 2029.

Nesbit, Huff among others quoted in NYT article on nuclear power

July 12, 2022, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Nesbit

Steven Nesbit, ANS’s immediate past president, is among the nuclear industry leaders quoted in a recent New York Times article about the renewed interest in nuclear power in the United States. The article explains that the challenges of meeting clean energy goals and surging electricity demands are prompting many government officials to take “a fresh look at nuclear power—both extending the life of existing reactors and building new ones.” The article also presents the views of some nuclear critics.

Much of the article focuses on the fate of California’s Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, which is currently scheduled for shutdown in 2025. Several of the state’s lawmakers who previously supported the shutdown, including Gov. Gavin Newsom and Sen. Diane Feinstein, are now considering supporting the extended life of the plant. A joint study by Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has concluded that a 10-year extension of Diablo Canyon could substantially reduce carbon emissions, lessen reliance on natural gas, cut electricity costs, and minimize the risk of brownouts.

Study: Advanced reactors could play major role in U.S. clean energy future

July 6, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News

With the proper investment and policy support, advanced nuclear energy has the potential to become a key component of a future U.S. clean energy system, a new report from Berkeley, Calif.’s, Breakthrough Institute finds.

Released this morning, the 155-page Advancing Nuclear Energy: Evaluating Deployment, Investment, and Impact in America’s Clean Energy employs “a high-resolution nationwide model of the United States electricity sector to demonstrate how advanced nuclear reactors might play a major role in a least-cost plan to transition the power grid entirely to clean energy sources by 2050, assuming that the first advanced reactors are available for deployment by 2030,” according to the executive summary.