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.

Panel on nuclear energy and climate change to be livestreamed from COP27

November 14, 2022, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe
Scheduled to appear at the Energy Security panel session at COP27: from left, moderator Sweta Chakraborty and speakers Kathryn Huff, Seth Grae, and Bonnie Jenkins.

The United Nations’ COP27 conference, held this year in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, from November 6 to 18, will feature the panel discussion “Energy Security” on Tuesday, November 15, at 9:00 a.m. EST (4:00 p.m. local time). The discussion is being sponsored by the review platform We Don’t Have Time; the live stream will be available to viewers on their COP27 Climate Hub website.

Fusion is prioritized in net-zero R&D initiative and IRA funds, but fission factors in too

November 10, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News
The U.S. ITER Project Office in Oak Ridge, Tenn. U.S. ITER has received $256 million in Inflation Reduction Act funding. (Photo: U.S. ITER)

Just days before COP27 and the U.S. midterm elections, the White House announced $1.55 billion in Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) funding for national laboratories and the launch of a Net-Zero Game Changers Initiative based on a new report, U.S. Innovation to Meet 2050 Climate Goals. Out of 37 research and development opportunities identified, fusion energy was selected as one of just five near-term priorities for the new cross-agency initiative. Together, the announcements signal policy and infrastructure support for fusion energy—the biggest chunk of Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC) IRA funding went to ITER, via Oak Ridge National Laboratory—and for advanced nuclear technologies to power the grid and provide process heat to hard-to-decarbonize industrial sectors.

Seeds in space: IAEA/FAO experiment goes the distance for better crops on earth

November 8, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket, with the Cygnus spacecraft Sally Ride aboard (so named for first American woman to fly in space), launched at 5:32 a.m. EST on November 7, from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The rocket is captured just after liftoff in this still image from NASA’s live broadcast of the event.

Seeds from the joint laboratories of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) are onboard a Cygnus spacecraft launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia early on November 7. Now orbiting the Earth en route to the International Space Station, the seeds are part of a commercial resupply mission with a payload that includes resources to support more than 250 scientific investigations.

OECD NEA director general presents an optimistic vision for tomorrow despite challenges of today

November 1, 2022, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe


As part of the Purdue University–Duke Energy Understanding Tomorrow’s Nuclear Energy lecture series, William D. Magwood IV, director general of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), delivered a lecture on October 24 at the Purdue Memorial Union Ballrooms. “The 21st Century Nuclear Resurgence: Opportunities and Challenges” was the third lecture in the series, which focuses on small modular reactors.

Magwood reviewed the factors that have led to the current increased interest in nuclear energy around the world, the serious challenges that must be quickly and adequately addressed, and the structural barriers that require new thinking by regulators and policymakers. He also commented on the ongoing Purdue-Duke study of the feasibility of using SMRs to meet the West Lafayette campus’s long-term energy needs.

Holtec, Hyundai launch accelerated program to complete SMR plant design

October 24, 2022, 9:16AMNuclear News
Kris Singh (left), president and CEO of Holtec International, and Young-Joon Yoon, president and CEO of Hyundai E&C. (Photo: Holtec International)

Holtec International and Hyundai Engineering & Construction (a Hyundai Motor Group subsidiary) have signed an accord to accelerate the completion of Holtec’s SMR-160 small modular reactor development program, as well as to collaborate on diverse clean energy technologies.

“Nuclear bros” take to social media to spread the word

October 10, 2022, 12:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Shannon Osaka
(Photo: Neel Dhanesha)

A recent Washington Post article profiles an “increasingly loud Internet subculture”: “nuclear bros.” A network of online pronuclear activists whose nickname is often used derisively, the group consists mostly of men who are primarily driven by their confidence that nuclear energy is the best way to combat the dangers of climate change. This is according to the writer, Shannon Osaka, who calls herself a “climate zeitgeist reporter.”

Left and formerly antinuclear: Osaka writes that the nuclear bros usually exchange ideas and information on shared WhatsApp groups, Reddit (r/nuclear), or Twitter. She provides profiles of a few of these bros and suggests that most are on the political Left and used to be antinuclear, until their fears of climate change pushed them to the pronuclear side.

One such bro, 40-year-old Toronto physician Chris Keefer, says he was formerly “tribally antinuclear” just because “everyone else he knew was opposed to it.” Then, after his son was born in 2018, he became “horrified” by the idea of a “much hotter world” in the future. So, he read up on nuclear energy and concluded that “hydro and nuclear are basically the only two tools that have helped achieve deep decarbonization.” By 2019, Keefer was organizing pronuclear rallies with Canadians for Nuclear Power, a group he cofounded. He also hosts a podcast in which he voices his support for nuclear power.

Freakonomics podcast focuses on nuclear energy and climate change

October 10, 2022, 7:01AMANS Nuclear Cafe

On a recent Freakonomics Radio podcast, host Stephen J. Dubner and his guests explored the topic of nuclear power. The episode, “Nuclear Power Isn’t Perfect. Is It Good Enough?” was teased on the podcast website with this thought: “Liberals endorse harm reduction when it comes to the opioid epidemic. Are they ready to take the same approach to climate change?”

IAEA projects increase in nuclear’s growth for second year in a row

September 29, 2022, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The International Atomic Energy Agency, for the second successive year, has revised upward its annual projections of nuclear power’s potential growth over the coming decades as an electricity provider.

In the just-released 42nd edition of Energy, Electricity and Nuclear Power Estimates for the Period up to 2050, the IAEA has increased its high-case scenario for nuclear by 10 percent over last year’s report. (In 2021, the agency revised upward its annual projections for the first time since the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident.)

According to the high-case scenario, world nuclear generating capacity more than doubles to 873 GWe by 2050, compared with current levels of about 390 GWe—an addition of 81 GWe to last year’s projection. In the low-case scenario, generating capacity remains essentially flat.

OPG, Microsoft to work toward net-zero future for Ontario

September 28, 2022, 3:06PMNuclear News

Ontario Power Generation and Microsoft Canada have formed a partnership aimed at combatting climate change and driving sustainable growth across the province of Ontario, the Canadian utility announced this week.

Under the partnership, Microsoft will procure clean energy credits (CECs) sourced from OPG’s nuclear and hydro assets in Ontario on an hourly basis. (OPG’s nuclear assets include the four-unit Darlington plant and six-unit Pickering facility.) According to the announcement, this will enable Microsoft to advance toward its 100/100/0 by 2030 goal, which commits the software firm to powering its data centers globally with zero-carbon energy, 24/7.

Nuclear power resilience in a changing climate

August 5, 2022, 3:01PMNuclear NewsSusan Gallier

All 92 U.S. power reactors operating today need water—in the right place and at the right time. But extreme weather events, including floods, droughts, hurricanes, and heat waves, upend expectations and demand resilience: the ability to anticipate, accommodate, and recover from adverse impacts.

Resilience was built into today’s nuclear power plants decades ago. Weather data and climate forecasts not available then can be factored into risk analysis now to ensure the plants remain resilient in a changing climate.

Stats show that closing Indian Point was a “mistake” for New York

July 26, 2022, 3:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Indian Point nuclear power plant. (Photo: Daniel Case)

“If we’re serious about dealing with climate change, then we’re going to need all the tools in the toolbox, which includes nuclear, not just now but in the future,” Keith Schue, an electrical engineer affiliated with Nuclear New York is quoted as saying in an article on the (Lower Hudson Valley) Journal News website, lohud. Schue adds, “We do believe that closing Indian Point was a mistake. But are we going to continue making mistakes or can we learn from them?”

Candu Energy wins Cernavoda unit refurbishment contract

July 26, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News
Romania’s Cernavoda Units 1 and 2. (Photo: Nuclearelectrica)

Romania’s Nuclearelectrica, the state-owned operator of the two-unit Cernavoda nuclear power plant, has awarded Candu Energy a contract to conduct design and engineering services for the facility’s Unit 1 refurbishment project, according to an announcement last week from SNC-Lavalin, Candu Energy’s parent company.