A call to action

January 17, 2022, 3:01PMNuclear NewsJohn C. Wagner

John C. Wagner

Like many of you, I have dedicated my career to the advancement of nuclear energy. We chose this path because clean energy changes lives. If we want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, end energy poverty, develop a U.S. power grid that is secure and resilient, and ensure national security, nuclear must be a significant part of the mix.

But let us acknowledge the reality of our situation. Nuclear power plants continue to close. New reactor projects are too often delayed by cost overruns and red tape. Not having solved the politics for a permanent repository, spent fuel sits at shut-down reactor sites.

We find ourselves perpetually running the hamster wheel, building paper reactors, and grinding our teeth as critics cloud public discourse by regurgitating old fears and clinging to the tired tropes of a bygone era.

Czech Republic’s energy future includes nuclear, renewables, says new government

January 11, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
The Temelin nuclear power plant in Czech Republic.

In a wide-ranging “program statement” laying out its policy priorities, the Czech Republic’s new, center-right government has endorsed nuclear energy and renewables and called for power generation from coal to be phased out by 2033.

The final version of the statement was released on January 7 by the five-party coalition government, sworn into office last month and led by Prime Minister Petr Fiala, head of the Civic Democratic Party.

The United States is losing nuclear power when we need it the most

June 4, 2021, 2:49PMUpdated December 29, 2021, 6:03AMNuclear NewsEd Kee

As 2021 closes, Nuclear News is taking a look back at some of the feature articles published each month in the magazine. The May issue reviewed the economics of nuclear power and provided some great articles on nuclear power plant capacity factors, advanced reactor markets, the economic consequences of plant closures, plant closures as an opportunity for industry engagement with local communities, and the article below that looks at why the electricity markets are failing nuclear power plants.

The Biden administration has a goal to decarbonize the U.S. electricity sector by 2035.1 Achieving this goal would require a massive nuclear power build program. The U.S. nuclear power industry’s size and historical success signal that we are in a good position to do this, but at present, the U.S. nuclear fleet is shrinking. Why is this so, and what can be done to turn the trend around?

NuScale pondering SMRs for Kazakhstan

December 20, 2021, 7:01AMNuclear News

In its latest show of interest in Central and Eastern European markets, Portland, Ore.–based NuScale Power has signed a memorandum of understanding with Kazakhstan Nuclear Power Plants LLP (KNPP) to explore the deployment of NuScale’s small modular reactor plants—recently christened VOYGR—in Kazakhstan.

Firms partner to support BWRX-300 deployment in Poland

December 16, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH), BWXT Canada, and Polish firm Synthos Green Energy (SGE) yesterday announced their intention to cooperate in the deployment of GEH’s BWRX-300 small modular reactors in Poland. With its partners, SGE hopes to deploy at least 10 of the SMRs in the Central European state by the early 2030s.

NuScale to go public using SPAC process

December 15, 2021, 12:07PMNuclear News

First reported last week by S&P Global Platts but confirmed only yesterday, small modular reactor developer NuScale Power plans to go public via a merger with Spring Valley Acquisition Corporation, a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. (SPACs are shell corporations listed on a stock exchange with the purpose of acquiring or merging with a private company, effectively taking that company public without going through the standard initial public offering process.)

Advisory board established for French SMR development

December 9, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News
Click to see full image. Concept art for the NUWARD small modular reactor. (Image: TechnicAtome)

Électricité de France recently announced the formation of an advisory board for NUWARD, France’s small modular reactor project. According to the company, the establishment of the International NUWARD Advisory Board (INAB) is a major step forward in support of the technology’s development.

GE Hitachi SMR chosen for Darlington project

December 3, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear News
Artist’s rendering of a BWRX-300 plant. (Photo: GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy)

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has selected GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) as its technology partner for the Darlington nuclear new-build project. The companies will work to deploy GEH’s BWRX-300 small modular reactor at OPG’s Darlington nuclear plant, located in Clarington, Ontario.

Former NRC chairman talks nuclear with Al Jazeera

November 16, 2021, 12:14PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Sabga

Macfarlane

In an interview with Al Jazeera Digital, former Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman and self-proclaimed nuclear agnostic Allison Macfarlane said that untested advanced reactor designs and the high cost of building new power plants will limit nuclear’s ability to play a critical role in fighting the climate crisis, at least in the near future.

“Almost 19 percent of the power [in the United States] right now is produced by nuclear power. That’s carbon free. That’s really helpful. We don’t want to shut that off,” Macfarlane told Al Jazeera Digital’s managing business editor Patricia Sabga. “But I live in a pragmatic, realistic world. And I don’t think, at least in the next 10 or 20 years, that nuclear power will be able to have a big impact on reducing carbon emissions because we can’t build new plants fast enough.”

EPRI: U.S. “50 by 30” climate goal requires swift, economy-wide action

November 15, 2021, 3:04PMANS Nuclear Cafe

In April, President Biden announced a new U.S. climate target: a 50–52 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2030. It’s an ambitious goal, and one that’s right up there with recent climate declarations from Canada, the European Union, and the United Kingdom. It’s also one that, according to a new analysis from the Electric Power Research Institute, will require immediate action across all sectors of the economy.

Key findings of the EPRI report Strategies and Actions for Achieving a 50% Reduction in U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2030 include the following:

  • Halving GHG emissions by 2030 will involve significant efforts beyond business-as-usual trends.
  • Reaching implied decarbonization targets for the power sector involves accelerated and sustained change.
  • Electrification and efficiency gains drive GHG reductions in transport, industry, and buildings.
  • Consistent emission-reduction strategies for achieving the “50 by 30” goal are emerging, but fundamental questions remain about how to support immediate action while building systems for planning and investment that are adaptive to new information.

ANS urges COP26 to recognize nuclear energy’s climate role

November 2, 2021, 12:00PMANS NewsCraig Piercy

On behalf of over 10,000 nuclear engineers, scientists, and technologists, the American Nuclear Society urges COP 26 delegates to insist that any agreement arising from COP26 include a strong role for nuclear technology in achieving carbon reduction targets.

Deep decarbonization and electrification of the global economy will require the increased availability of firm, “dispatchable” zero-carbon energy technologies. Nuclear energy is the only energy source with a proven track record of producing firm, zero-carbon energy at the scale needed to meet global goals. Indeed, it’s increasingly clear that achieving net-zero worldwide carbon emissions is simply not feasible without a significant expansion of carbon-free nuclear energy worldwide.

Study finds major roles for Westinghouse microreactor in Canada

November 2, 2021, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe
eVinci micro reactor core, (Illustration: Westinghouse)

A recently completed feasibility study by Westinghouse Electric Company and Bruce Power concludes that the eVinci microreactor is capable of providing cost-competitive clean energy to decentralized, off-grid markets in Canada.

The American Nuclear Society urges COP26 to recognize nuclear energy’s climate role

November 1, 2021, 5:44AMPress Releases

On behalf of over 10,000 nuclear engineers, scientists, and technologists, the American Nuclear Society urges COP 26 delegates to insist that any agreement arising from COP26 include a strong role for nuclear technology in achieving carbon reduction targets.

IP3 signs on to nuclear plant development in Poland

September 20, 2021, 7:01AMNuclear News

McLean, Va.–based IP3 Corporation and Polish electricity producer Zespół Elektrowni Patnów-Adamów-Konin SA (ZE PAK) signed an agreement earlier this month regarding the development of nuclear power plants in Poland. IP3 is to be ZE PAK’s main advisor in the process, with Georgette Mosbacher, a former U.S. ambassador to Poland (2018–2021) who recently joined the IP3 board, leading the effort for the American company.

ZE PAK is currently involved in various initiatives associated with nuclear technologies for Poland, including a plan to use nuclear power for the production of hydrogen.

Revamped U.S.-India Strategic Clean Energy Partnership launched

September 15, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News
U.S. energy secretary Jennifer Granholm and India’s minister of petroleum and natural gas Hardeep Singh Puri remotely meet (with others in the background) during the virtual launch of a "newly revitalized” U.S.-India clean energy partnership.

U.S. energy secretary Jennifer Granholm and India’s minister of petroleum and natural gas, Hardeep Singh Puri, last week presided over the virtual launch of what the Department of Energy termed the “newly revitalized” U.S.-India Strategic Clean Energy Partnership (SCEP).

DOE, U.S. companies to assist Ukraine in energy transition

September 9, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News
Energy secretary Jennifer Granholm (seated at left) and Ukrainian energy minister Herman Galushchenko (seated at right) on August 31 sign an agreement to bolster U.S.-Ukrainian energy cooperation. Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, stands in the background. (Photo: DOE)

U.S. energy secretary Jennifer Granholm and Ukrainian energy minister Herman Galushchenko last week signed a joint statement of intent to advance energy and climate cooperation through the U.S.-Ukraine Strategic Energy and Climate Dialogue. The signing took place during a visit to Washington, D.C., by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky for meetings with President Biden at the White House.

Conca implores Congress to rethink funding for the VTR

August 26, 2021, 3:02PMANS Nuclear Cafe
(Image: INL)

The nuclear community continues its collective push to restore funding for the Versatile Test Reactor (VTR) project at Idaho National Laboratory for fiscal year 2022. We first heard from the Department of Energy’s Katy Huff, followed by Argonne National Laboratory’s Jordi Roglans-Ribas. Now add Nuclear News opinion columnist James Conca to the list of supporters hoping to change the minds of those in Congress regarding the crucial VTR project.

Controversy over nuclear organizations’ involvement in the COP26 Green Zone

August 24, 2021, 2:59PMANS Nuclear Cafe

A conversation among nuclear advocates led most to believe that nuclear supporters will have a minimized voice at this year’s UN Conference of the Parties on Climate Change, commonly known as COP26. According to Kirsty Gogan, cofounder of TerraPraxis and a senior climate and energy advisor to the U.K. government, “All three Green Zone applications by nuclear groups were rejected.” However, it seems some of that may be due to miscommunication regarding application deadlines for the COP26 Green Zone.

A tale of three states

August 11, 2021, 2:57PMANS NewsSteven P. Nesbit

Steven P. Nesbit

Stories are unfolding (or have unfolded) in three of our key states that illustrate the challenges facing the backbone of our country’s clean, reliable electricity generation infrastructure. I write, of course, about existing nuclear power plants. On the East Coast, New York is a done deal. Indian Point-3 shut down on April 30. The state authorities are banking on offshore wind to pick up the slack. They shrug off the cost and intermittency challenges associated with deploying wind power. We’ll see.