GAO report looks at climate change and nuclear power

April 9, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News

A new study by the Government Accountability Office researched potential impacts of climate change–related hazards on the U.S. nuclear fleet and found clear risks. In the report, which was released to the public last week, the GAO recommends that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission address these possible threats during the licensing process.

After a historic COP28, it’s what happens next that matters

December 14, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
Applause at the conclusion of COP28. (Photo: Kiara Worth/UN Climate Change)

The United Nations' Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, closed on December 13 after debate on a “global stocktake” pushed negotiations a full day past the scheduled end date. Though advocates hoping for a phaseout of fossil fuels were ultimately disappointed and must settle for “transitioning away,” another first—after 30 years of global climate conferences—is the inclusion of nuclear energy among the zero-emissions and low-emissions technologies that still could, if deployment is accelerated, support deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

COP28: American Nuclear Society cheers nuclear-inclusive climate deal

December 13, 2023, 12:01PMPress Releases

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES — Statement from American Nuclear Society (ANS) Executive Director and CEO Craig Piercy on the finalized text of the first global stocktake of the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC):

“On behalf of our 10,000 members around the world, the American Nuclear Society applauds the nuclear-inclusive climate deal reached at COP28. This historic climate agreement urges countries to forge ahead on climate progress by accelerating the deployment of zero-carbon technologies, notably embracing nuclear energy, and transitioning away from fossil fuels.

Kerry shares U.S. plan for international fusion energy engagement on COP28 stage

December 7, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News

John Kerry speaks on U.S. fusion energy policy. (Photo: Craig Piercy)

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has a new plan for international partnerships in fusion energy development that would build on over 60 years of collaborative fusion research and development to address the climate crisis and ensure energy security. The plan, first released December 2, was announced December 5 at COP28 in Dubai, UAE, by John Kerry, the U.S. special presidential envoy for climate. He delivered “a call to action” during an Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum. The plan follows on the administration’s Bold Decadal Vision for Commercial Fusion Energy of March 2022, which recognized fusion energy’s increasing technical readiness and strong market interest—$6 billion to date.

“I'm pleased to announce the U.S. international engagement plan for fusion energy,” Kerry said. “This strategy identifies five areas of work that will help us to realize the promise of this technology, and they are R&D, supply chain and marketplace, regulation, workforce, and education and engagement.”

If we don’t decarbonize in time, do we have a Plan B?

November 22, 2023, 10:31AMNuclear NewsJames Conca
Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, as it began its cataclysmic eruption in 1991. Millions of tons of particulates were blown into the stratosphere, causing global cooling, similar to what solar geoengineering would do in a controlled way. (Photo: U.S. Geological Survey)

We’re failing.

We’re failing to decarbonize the world in any significant way. Global greenhouse gas emissions are still rising and appear on track to continue rising until at least 2040—the result of energizing the developing world.

Final bids submitted for new reactor at Czech plant

November 2, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
The Dukovany nuclear power plant. (Photo: INSP)

Elektrárna Dukovany II (EDU II), a subsidiary of Czech utility ČEZ, has received final bids for the construction of a fifth reactor at the Dukovany plant, as well as nonbinding bids for three additional units to be sited at Dukovany and at Temelín, the Czech Republic’s other nuclear power facility. (Dukovany currently houses four Russian VVER-440/V213 pressurized water reactors, while Temelín is home to two VVER-1000/V320s.)

Slovakia adds fifth reactor to nuclear fleet

October 23, 2023, 7:55AMNuclear News
Slovakia’s Mochovce nuclear plant, located about 62 miles east of Bratislava, the nation’s capital. (Photo: Slovenské Elektrárne)

The Unit 3 reactor at Slovakia’s Mochovce nuclear power facility has completed the commissioning process, becoming a full-fledged member of the country’s nuclear fleet, plant owner Slovenské Elektrárne has announced.

Nuclear’s fortunes looking up, says IAEA

October 11, 2023, 3:01PMNuclear News
IAEA director general Grossi delivers the opening plenary at the Second International Conference on Climate Change and the Role of Nuclear Power. (Photo: IAEA)

The International Atomic Energy Agency has released the 2023 edition of its annual look at nuclear’s prospects in the coming decades—Energy, Electricity and Nuclear Power Estimates for the Period up to 2050—revising its global growth projections upward for a third consecutive year.

Engineering services contract signed for first Polish plant

September 29, 2023, 6:55AMNuclear News
At the September 27 signing ceremony for the engineering services contract to build Poland’s first nuclear power plant are, from left, John Howanitz, president of Bechtel’s nuclear, security, and environmental global business unit; Westinghouse president and CEO Patrick Fragman; Polish government plenipotentiary for strategic energy infrastructure Anna Łukaszewska-Trzeciakowska; Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki; U.S. ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski; assistant secretary of energy for international affairs Andrew Light; and Polskie Elektrownie Jądrowe president Mateusz Berger. (Photo: Bechtel)

Just one week after inking a consortium agreement to partner on the design and construction of Poland’s first nuclear power plant, Westinghouse Electric Company and Bechtel joined state-owned Polish utility Polskie Elektrownie Jądrowe (PEJ) in Warsaw on Wednesday for the signing of the project’s engineering services contract.

Alberta funds SMR study

September 27, 2023, 9:48AMNuclear News
Support from the government of Alberta for the Cenovus Energy SMR study was announced September 19 at the World Petroleum Congress in Calgary. From left are Laura Kilcrease, Alberta Innovates CEO; Rhona DelFrari, Cenovus chief sustainability officer and executive vice president, stakeholder engagement; Rebecca Schulz, minister of environment and protected areas; Justin Riemer, Emissions Reduction Alberta CEO; and Nathan Neudorf, minister of affordability and Utilities. (Photo: Government of Alberta)

Canada’s Alberta province is investing C$7 million (about $5.2 million) to help Cenovus Energy study how small modular reactors could be used in northern Alberta to decarbonize oil sands production and what additional information might be needed to pursue their regulatory approval.

Nuclear-powered carbon management options evaluated in DOE report

September 20, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
Conceptual art of a direct air capture CO2 removal system. (Image: DOE)

Given how much carbon dioxide has been released into the atmosphere from fossil fuels, replacing those fuels with clean options like nuclear energy is urgent, but could be likened to shutting the barn door after the proverbial horse has bolted. But what if you could also round up excess CO2 already in the atmosphere? That’s the goal of direct air capture (DAC) and other so-called negative emission technologies—to capture climate warming CO2 for use in products or processes or for permanent storage.

Constellation, ComEd ink deal for hourly matching with nuclear power

September 19, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
The Byron nuclear power plant. (Photo: Constellation Energy)

Constellation Energy has announced an agreement with Commonwealth Edison (ComEd), Illinois’s largest electric utility, to power the latter’s 54 offices and metered facilities with locally produced nuclear energy, 24/7.

Barakah-4 begins operational readiness testing

June 9, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
Barakah-4 (Photo: ENEC)

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) announced on June 8 that Barakah-4, the fourth and final Korean-designed APR-1400 reactor to be built at the United Arab Emirates’ Barakah nuclear power plant, has commenced the testing necessary to demonstrate its readiness for an operating license from the UAE’s Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation.

Invested in nuclear

June 8, 2023, 12:01PMNuclear NewsSteven Arndt

Steven Arndt

This will be my last column in Nuclear News as president of the American Nuclear Society. Where has the year gone? For me and for all of us in the nuclear community it has been an exciting and productive 12 months. We have cheered the decision to extend Diablo Canyon operations, witnessed fuel loading and—hopefully by the time the June issue of NN is out—the start of commercial operations of Unit 3 at Vogtle, and seen significant strides forward in the licensing and deployment of small modular reactors. Internationally, we have watched the progress in the deployment of new units in the United Arab Emirates and other countries, as well as renewed commitment to nuclear in countries including Japan, South Korea, India, and the United Kingdom. All of this has been a result of both public and private investment in and commitment to nuclear.

Recently, the Inflation Reduction Act and other government actions in the United States have provided opportunities for increased investment in nuclear energy, including production tax credits and investment tax credits.

Invest in nuclear now

June 1, 2023, 11:36AMSponsored ContentNucleation Capital
Concept image by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture LLP.

Nucleation Capital is a new venture fund focused on investing in next-generation nuclear energy and deep decarbonization. We are pleased to introduce ourselves to the broader nuclear community under the ANS theme “Invested in Nuclear.” Investing is always a forward-looking endeavor and, from what seemed to be an uncertain future, we’re delighted to see the industry anticipating substantial new growth and working to support it.

Bolstering this new outlook are important trends that are worth highlighting. We’re all seeing amazing shifts in how nuclear power is discussed. In the last few years, Nuclear has garnered surprise support from Democratic governors seeking to protect existing plants and Republican governors repealing old nuclear bans and vying to get next-gen plants sited in their states. In key pieces of federal climate legislation, nuclear has seen equal treatment under ITCs and PTCs and billions allocated to help save older plants and accelerate commercialization of new plants.

U.K. to provide close to £700 million for Sizewell C

December 7, 2022, 3:28PMNuclear News
A rendering of the Sizewell site on the Suffolk coast. Sizewell A and B are to the left and center (respectively) in the image; the section to the right is Sizewell C. (Image: EDF Energy)

The British government has announced an investment of £679 million (about $828 million) in the proposed Sizewell C nuclear plant in Suffolk, England, confirming chancellor of the exchequer Jeremy Hunt’s remarks on the project in his November 17 Autumn Statement.

Fortum, Helen Oy to investigate SMR potential

November 30, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

Finnish energy companies Fortum and Helen Oy are initiating a study to explore collaboration on nuclear power projects, with particular emphasis on small modular reactors, the firms jointly announced last week, adding the caveat that “any future decisions on cooperation and investments will be made at a later stage.”

U.S., Ukraine launch SMR project for clean hydrogen production

November 21, 2022, 7:13AMNuclear News
U.S. special envoy for climate John Kerry at COP27. (Photo: Embassy of Ukraine in the United States of America)

U.S. special envoy for climate John Kerry and Ukraine’s minister of energy German Galushchenko have announced a two-to-three-year pilot project aimed at demonstrating the commercial-scale production of clean hydrogen and ammonia from small modular reactors in Ukraine using solid oxide electrolysis.

Report touts nuclear energy’s investment attractiveness based on ESG standards

November 17, 2022, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Nuclear energy “has exceptional characteristics that make it uniquely qualified to address all three facets of the energy trilemma: affordability, sustainability, and reliability,” according to a new report, Solving the Energy Trilemma: The Case for Nuclear as a Sustainable Investment. Developed by the Center for ESG and Sustainability (CESG), which has a partnership with Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society, the report concludes, “Even absent ESG [environmental, social, and governance] considerations, nuclear is an investible asset. However, its strong ESG performance makes the case for investment even stronger.”

EXIM signals interest in Romanian nuclear project

November 16, 2022, 9:53AMNuclear News
From left: Romanian minister of energy Virgil Popescu, U.S. Export-Import Bank president and chair Reta Jo Lewis, Romanian president Klaus Iohannis, U.S. special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry, and U.S. State Department assistant secretary Geoffrey Pyatt. (Photo: ExIm)

The Export-Import Bank of the United States has issued two letters of interest (LOIs) for the financing of U.S.-sourced pre-project technical services in connection with the proposed reactor construction project at Romania’s Cernavoda nuclear plant, the bank announced last week.