Turning the tide

January 26, 2024, 9:31AMNuclear NewsPatrick O’Brien

Patrick O'Brien

The adage “a rising tide raises all boats” keeps coming to my mind whenever I think about the work ahead for small modular reactor and advanced reactor development companies. The groundwork being laid by the entire industry is key to moving the whole group forward together. The drive to construct new nuclear will need to include all sizes, designs, and companies, because unlike in many industries, there is no way there can only be one “winner” if we are to meet climate goals.

Recently, at global climate summit COP28, a large portion of the international community announced a joint aim to triple worldwide nuclear power generation by 2050. This is tremendous news and a huge step in the right direction for many reactor developers. It means that the work developers are doing now will lead to a market for their product for years to come. The questions we must all be asking are “How do we get there?” “Who is going to take the leap of faith to build the first-of-a-kind designs?” and “What challenges lie ahead?”

Laying the foundation for advanced reactors

November 15, 2023, 9:31AMNuclear NewsRichard A. Meserve

Richard A. Meserve

Climate change presents a grave threat, demanding increasing reliance on low-carbon energy over the coming decades. Nuclear power today contributes half of U.S. low-carbon generation, and achievement of climate goals requires the continued operation of existing plants. But there are competitors for low-carbon energy, and nuclear’s further role remains uncertain. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) conducted a study to explore the challenges that must be overcome for widespread new nuclear deployment.1 This article provides my summary of the study, highlighting and abbreviating some of its principal recommendations. Note that the italicized portions of the article are shortened versions of the recommendations in the report.

Allied Power acquires Dominion Engineering

September 20, 2023, 7:01AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Allied Power has acquired Dominion Engineering, Inc. (DEI), Allied announced last week. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Allied provides a range of services—including routine maintenance, outage services and management, capital construction, and specialized support—for power plants in the United States.

DEI has provided field service equipment, technology, and consulting services for nuclear utilities and operators for more than four decades. Its services include work on refueling outages, decommissioning, and waste management activities.

Last Energy sets up microreactor deals for Poland and the U.K.

March 29, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News
A rendering of Last Energy's nuclear power plant. (Image: Last Energy)

Startup company Last Energy has announced power purchase agreements for 34 units of its 20-MWe nuclear power plants with four industrial partners in Poland and the United Kingdom. In total, according to the company, the deals represent more than $18.9 billion in electricity sales.

Cost drivers of nuclear steam cycle construction

May 20, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear NewsDaniel Moneghan

Interest in reducing carbon emissions around the world continues to climb. As a complement to the increasing deployment of variably generating renewables, advanced nuclear is commonly shown in net-zero grid modeling for 2050 because it represents firm electricity production that can flex in output with load demands.1 However, these projections are challenged by the high levelized cost of electricity associated with legacy nuclear construction, which is often more than double that of modern combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plants.

Contract with Rosatom for Finnish reactor scrapped

May 5, 2022, 6:59AMNuclear News
An artist’s rendering of the Hanhikivi plant. (Image: Rosatom)

Finnish energy company Fennovoima has terminated, effective immediately, its engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract with RAOS Project Oy, a subsidiary of Russia’s Rosatom, for the delivery of a 1,200-MWe VVER-1200 pressurized water reactor at the Hanhikivi site in Finland’s Pyhäjoki municipality.

ITER reaches major construction milestone

June 3, 2020, 3:58PMNuclear News

The 1,250-ton cryostat base is positioned over the ITER tokamak pit for installation. The base is the heaviest lift of the tokamak assembly. Photo: ITER

ITER, the world’s largest international scientific collaboration, is beginning the assembly of the fusion reactor tokamak that will include 12 essential hardware systems provided by US ITER, which is managed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The first major machine element to be installed is the 1,250-ton base of the cryostat, which was placed into the tokamak assembly pit on May 26. ITER is located in southeastern France.

INL seeks input on construction technologies

April 27, 2020, 11:54AMNuclear News

Battelle Energy Alliance, the managing and operating contractor for Idaho National Laboratory, is seeking an expression of interest (EOI) from industry stakeholders interested in forming a partnership to develop and/or demonstrate advanced construction technologies and processes. The effort would be executed as an initiative of the National Reactor Innovation Center (NRIC) at INL. Battelle announced the EOI on April 17, with a deadline for responses of May 16.