As expected, a large number of nations at the COP28 climate conference in Dubai have issued a declaration to triple the world’s nuclear power capacity by 2050. John Kerry, U.S. special presidential envoy for climate, joined leaders and ministers from four continents on Saturday to announce the Declaration to Triple Nuclear Energy.
December 5, 2023, 7:21AMNuclear News
December 1, 2023, 6:54AMNuclear News
While the featured speakers of the American Nuclear Society’s 2023 Winter Meeting and Expo opening plenary—West Virginia senators Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin and Nuclear Regulatory Commission chair Christopher Hanson—generated a lot of buzz, the rest of the session provided constructive insights into the current state of nuclear technology and a glimpse of what the future may hold.
November 22, 2023, 8:09AMNuclear News
I hope you are doing well. We haven’t talked in a long time. I know you’ve moved on. But you know it’s been harder for me to do that.
Look, I’m sorry. I was forceful at times, and I know that made you feel trapped and caused you to question our relationship—pretty much from the beginning. But you also said some mean and untrue things about me. Your family still HATES me, which stinks, because we have a lot of history together.
Anyhow, just wanted to let you know that, while I might always hold out hope for a chance encounter with you that rekindles that old spark—and I will never part with our memory box—I am finally ready to move on to the next chapter of my life, and I understand that means letting go of you.
October 9, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
Here we go again: Another “workaround” on U.S. nuclear waste policy just got shot down in a federal courtroom. On August 25, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission lacked the authority to grant a license to Interim Storage Partners LLC (read: Waste Control Specialists) to accept and store up to 5,000 tons of used nuclear fuel at its proposed facility in Andrews County, Texas. Writing for the court, U.S. circuit judge James Ho found that “the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA) creates a comprehensive statutory scheme for addressing spent nuclear fuel accumulation. The scheme prioritizes construction of the permanent repository and limits temporary storage to private, at-the-reactor storage or at federal sites. It plainly contemplates that, until there’s a permanent repository, spent nuclear fuel is to be stored onsite at-the-reactor or in a federal facility.”
This decision is not necessarily a knockout blow. The court’s reading of the law is, well, novel. Other appeals courts have recognized the NRC’s authority to license away-from-reactor storage, and the Supreme Court is likely to weigh in. But given the current high court’s proclivities on “textualism” and the Chevron doctrine, we shouldn’t consider it a slam dunk.
September 12, 2023, 7:08AMNuclear News
Hi friends, I hope you had a good summer. Like many of you, I took a break from my summer vacation to watch Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer. I’m an unabashed Nolan fan—Inception and Interstellar rank among my top 10 favorite movies—but I’ll admit that Oppenheimer required more time for me to digest.
The film itself is first-rate: powered by a taut screenplay, its stripped-down elemental cinematography largely validates the director’s decision not to use any computer-generated imagery (although a couple of quick CGI scenes from the K-25 enrichment facility or the X-10 graphite reactor would have been really cool). The result is a historically faithful, largely accurate celebration of the brilliant minds that enabled one of the most daring engineering feats of all time.
August 10, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
More than 700 registered attendees descended on Florida’s Marco Island for the ANS Utility Working Conference this week, with many traveling through a wave of severe storms to get there—a fitting start to a meeting themed “Building Resiliency in a Rapidly Changing World.”
Three days of panels and educational sessions formally opened on Monday, August 7, with a plenary on “The Nuclear Industry’s State of Resiliency” featuring three invited speakers: Annie Caputo, NRC commissioner; Bob Willard, president and chief executive officer of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations; and Jeff Lyash, president and CEO of the Tennessee Valley Authority. Matthew Rasmussen, general chair of the UWC and senior vice president for engineering and operations support at TVA, introduced the speakers following opening remarks from ANS President Kenneth Petersen and ANS Executive Director/CEO Craig Piercy. Together, the plenary speakers pointed to challenges ahead in ensuring effective leadership, nuclear plant resilience, and energy security—and found cause for celebration in the recent and long-awaited announcement of commercial operation at Vogtle-3.
July 6, 2023, 9:31AMNuclear News
Wow, that was a banger! The 2023 Annual Meeting had the energy level of an ANS Student Conference. That’s no easy feat. I’ve had several requests for my opening plenary remarks. Here is a shortened version, edited for reading:
So, “Failure Is Not an Option.” I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure about it in the beginning. It’s not anodyne like “Powering Our Future!” or some punny Indy reference like “Racing to the Finish.” It didn’t seem to fit our situation.
That phrase, popularized by the movie Apollo 13, has its origins in a time of crisis: three men trying to “eyeball” a free return trajectory to Earth while a team of NASA engineers figures out how to literally put a square peg into a round hole to save the astronauts’ lives.
June 22, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
The “The State of Nuclear” panel discussion on June 13 at the 2023 American Nuclear Society Annual Meeting focused on how geopolitical issues are affecting federal, state, and international laws, regulations, and funding regarding nuclear technology. The discussion was chaired by ANS Executive Director/CEO Craig Piercy.
June 20, 2023, 9:31AMNuclear News
The American Nuclear Society is invested in growing the nuclear community through its K-12 STEM programs like the STEM Academy and Navigating Nuclear. Craig Piercy, ANS Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, noted that when he speaks with engineering and technology students, “Most of them chose to go into nuclear because they believe in the power of the technology to help people. So, the core question is this: How do we inspire and educate a new, larger generation of professionals? It has to start at the K-12 level.”
To further this goal, the Society has brought on Uchenna Ezibe as senior manager of STEM programs. Ezibe, who has spent his career in education or STEM program management, has a clear passion for STEM education and a natural curiosity about nuclear science and technology and is very excited to help grow ANS’s educational programs.
June 14, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
In his new film Nuclear Now, Oliver Stone brings his seasoned directorial hand to bear on the modern case for nuclear energy. Of course, all of us in the field are suckers for a good nuclear movie. (Triple feature with Pandora’s Promise and A New Fire, anyone?) Stone really does do a masterful job of weaving imagery, narration, and animation together to tell the story of his personal journey to understanding the indispensability of nuclear.
What struck me in particular was Stone’s assertion that “we are running out of time to be afraid.” It made me think: How much time do we have left to lock in a durable shift in public opinion that can weather adverse events and clear public policy obstacles and still give the investment community confidence to put big chips on the table?
You don’t have to look far to find progress. Gallup released its annual “Americans’ Opinions of Nuclear Energy” poll in April. It shows a 4-point year-over-year increase in support for nuclear energy, which represents the highest level of support in the post-Fukushima era. Gallup’s numbers align with other polls that show steady increases in support for nuclear in the last few years, especially among the left-leaning respondents.
June 14, 2023, 9:46AMNuclear News
Deploying new reactors on the scale required to meet U.S. and international zero-carbon goals by 2050 will require rapid growth in the nuclear workforce, as American Nuclear Society executive director/chief executive officer Craig Piercy emphasized during his opening plenary address at the ANS Annual Meeting on June 12. Piercy pointed to the Department of Energy’s Pathways to Commercial Liftoff: Advanced Nuclear, which estimates that an additional 375,000 people will be required to construct and operate 200 GW of advanced nuclear reactors by 2050—a dramatic increase from about 100,000 today. Where will those engineers, constructors, and operators be found? The 38 nations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development agreed last week to a new recommendation from the OECD’s Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) that points to one way to increase the nuclear workforce: increase the number of women participating in the workforce.
June 12, 2023, 3:37PMANS News
The American Nuclear Society’s annual meeting opened on Sunday, June 11, in Indianapolis, Ind., and will run through June 14. The meeting’s theme is “Failure Is Not an Option.”
ANS president Steven Arndt, who ends his yearlong term at the meeting’s end, addressed the audience at the opening plenary on Monday, June 12, noting that nuclear science and technology’s road has been long, but it is up to ANS members and other advocates to push forward the nuclear enterprise’s momentum for a sustainable future.
Before announcing ANS chief executive officer and executive director Craig Piercy to the stage, Arndt thanked the volunteer members, meeting sponsors, and ANS staff, among others, for making ANS meetings happen.
May 31, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
Leaders of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce last month sent letters to a variety of nuclear sector stakeholders requesting input in preparation for a June 14 hearing titled “Oversight of NRC: Ensuring Efficient and Predictable Nuclear Safety Regulation for a Prosperous America.” (The hearing will be livestreamed at https://energycommerce.house.gov/.)
“We invite you to submit to the committee information and recommendations to improve the licensing review and approval process, as well as the oversight of NRC licensees,” the lawmakers wrote. “We are interested in NRC activities involving the licensing and oversight of today’s operating reactors, as well as the siting, licensing, construction, and oversight of advanced nuclear reactor technologies.” The letter also noted the committee’s interest in “improving NRC efficiency, management of regulatory costs and fees, public health and safety, staff effectiveness and culture, collaboration with the Department of Energy, and international activities.”
April 20, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
In the new year, ANS launched Trustees of Nuclear, a corporate partnership program ANS executive director/chief executive officer Craig Piercy announced in the January issue of Nuclear News (p. 25). The goal of Trustees of Nuclear is to directly support ANS’s programs aimed at improving nuclear literacy, like the Society’s K-12 nuclear STEM activities, public engagement, and discussions with policymakers. As the main professional organization for the whole nuclear discipline, ANS is in a unique position to unite leaders in the nuclear community to focus on these long-term programs and help the country realize the full potential of the atom.
April 17, 2023, 12:01PMNuclear News
Hello from our temporary headquarters in Downers Grove, Ill. Yes, after two years of twists and turns, we have finally completed the sale of our legacy La Grange Park property and are in the process of building out our new space, which will be ready for occupancy later this year.
I know many of you have memories made in “the Schoolhouse,” which served as American Nuclear Society headquarters for nearly 50 years. At one time during the golden age of paper recordkeeping, it housed nearly 100 employees. As the business of running a professional society evolved with the information age, however, so too did our workforce and space needs. Stately though it was, 555 Kensington Avenue proved simply too expensive to heat, cool, mow, plow, and otherwise maintain to an acceptable standard.
February 14, 2023, 7:01AMANS News
The new ANS STEM Academy launched at the end of 2022 encompasses all of the American Nuclear Society’s educational programs. It brings together a state-of-the-art curriculum with nuclear experts and enriches classroom experiences to enable a national expansion of K-12 nuclear science and technology education. The new program strives to serve educators, students, and everyone interested in nuclear science and technology.
January 4, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
Long ago, there was a time when ANS was great. . . . Nope, not going to say it like that. Start over. There was a time when ANS was an elite organization.
By either annual revenue or employee headcount, we were the largest nuclear-related nongovernmental organization in the United States. The American Nuclear Society enjoyed the support of industry, but it also remained apart from it, with a democratically elected leadership committed to the larger societal good of nuclear technology—not just more plants or higher profits. Back then, ANS had sophisticated efforts to promote nuclear technology to the public.
Did you know ANS produced several public service announcements that aired on radio and TV in the 1970s? We have some on vinyl, and they sound cool. Unfortunately, no one thought to secure the rights or save the original film, so we can’t even post them on our website without paying a royalty to—I kid you not—Oddball Films.
November 16, 2022, 9:30AMANS News
There are worse places to be than Vienna, Austria, in the early fall. The place has an old-world vibe for sure. The U-Bahn doesn’t have turnstiles; it runs on the honor system. People take care to dress up before they amble down the Kärntner Strasse, the city’s main shopping district.
Every September, a little further north, 3,000 delegates from around the world, along with 200 representatives from nongovernmental organizations, descend on the Vienna International Center of the United Nations—the VIC, for short—for the International Atomic Energy Agency’s General Conference. Attendees ply its curving hallways and attend side events, engage in meetings on the margins, and tour the national booth displays.
Inside the large, purpose-built plenary hall, a seemingly endless procession of national speakers, each allotted seven minutes (with flashing red digits to let all know who’s run over time), tout their nation’s achievements in nuclear technology and express its views on nuclear matters of any sort. As an accredited NGO, ANS has a desk in the plenary complete with microphone and wireless translation headset. An IAEA plenary is a highly scripted affair—one that looks boring at first glance, but once you put the headphones on and get acclimated to the vagaries of real-time translation, a coherent and interesting picture starts to emerge.
October 5, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News
Rep. Byron Donalds (R., Fla.) has introduced legislation in the House to help U.S. small businesses engaged or seeking to engage in the research, development, and deployment of advanced nuclear reactors.
Dubbed the Nuclear Assistance for America’s Small Businesses Act, the bill debuted September 29 with 10 of Donalds’s fellow House Republicans as cosponsors: Arizona’s Andy Biggs, Florida’s Maria Elvira Salazar, Georgia’s Buddy Carter, North Carolina’s Dan Bishop and Ted Budd, Ohio’s Bob Latta, South Carolina’s Nancy Mace, Tennessee’s Chuck Fleischmann and John Rose, and Texas’s Chip Roy.
Bill basics: The measure would amend the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act (NEIMA) to allow small businesses to delay 50 percent of their preapplication fees to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as well as 35 percent of their postapplication fees over a period of 10 years.
September 16, 2022, 9:29AMNuclear News
The International Atomic Energy Agency’s board of governors has adopted a resolution calling for an immediate end to the Russian occupation of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. According to a report from Reuters, the 35-member board voted 26–2 yesterday in favor of the resolution, with seven abstentions. The two “no” votes were cast, unsurprisingly, by Russia and China, while abstentions came from Burundi, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Senegal, South Africa, and Vietnam.