Argonne assists advanced reactor development with award-winning safety software

December 1, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear NewsKristen Mally Dean
Partnerships between the nuclear industry and national laboratories are making overall codes more robust and capable. (Photo: Argonne)

The development of modern nuclear reactor technologies relies heavily on complex software codes and computer simulations to support the design, construction, and testing of physical hardware systems. These tools allow for rigorous testing of theory and thorough verification of design under various use or transient power scenarios.

Savannah River Site M&O contractor hosts supply chain summit

November 30, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
Savannah River Nuclear Solution’s supply chain management team discusses upcoming process changes during its first staff augmentation summit. (Photo: SRNS)

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions’ Supply Chain Management (SCM) team recently hosted its first staff augmentation summit to strengthen relationships with 25 staffing firms and provide upcoming process changes for fiscal year 2024.

Still in need of HALEU, DOE issues RFP for post-enrichment services

November 29, 2023, 9:34AMNuclear News
Image: DOE

The Department of Energy plans to award one or more contracts to deconvert high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) from its post-enrichment gaseous uranium hexafluoride (UF6) state to other chemical forms, such as metal or oxide. The DOE’s final request for proposals (RFP) for deconversion services was issued November 28 as one part of the agency’s effort—under the HALEU Availability Program—to establish a reliable domestic supply of advanced reactor fuel. The DOE will store the deconverted material until it is required by a fuel fabricator or other end user.

The WM Symposia’s 50th year

November 27, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear NewsGary Benda

This spring, Waste Management Symposia will celebrate its 50th anniversary when the conference convenes in Phoenix, Ariz., on March 10–14, 2024. Since the first international conference in 1974, WMS has grown to nearly 3,000 attendees representing more than 30 countries. The conference is an open forum for the exchange of information and discussion of opportunities related to all aspects of radioactive waste and materials management. As a nonprofit organization, all proceeds from the WMS conference go toward providing education and information on global radioactive waste management.

How is consent-based siting changing the prospects for used fuel management?

November 21, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News

Patrick O’Brien

As someone who grew up in a community with an operating nuclear plant—Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, in Plymouth, Mass., on Cape Cod Bay—I had the luxury of a more thorough education on what nuclear power was (and what it wasn’t) from an early age. Unfortunately, growing up in the 1980s and ’90s, many of my contemporaries were not as lucky; their education on nuclear power came from The Simpsons.

While it is a show that influenced a generation in many ways, its portrayal of the nuclear industry had no basis in reality. Nuclear workers are among the most professional and highly trained people in the world. The standards by which used fuel and waste are handled and stored are some of the strictest of any industry. I have found, after nearly a decade in the nuclear industry, that the first thing I must help the public, media, and even elected officials understand is that used nuclear fuel is not green goo in a barrel, but a solid pellet stored safely in robust dry storage casks. Providing the facts—the science and technology—is the key to helping people understand a complex industry. Doing so in simple terms can help demystify nuclear power.

Plans for TerraPower’s “test and fill” sodium facility covered in draft EA

November 20, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
Image from the DOE’s draft EA showing a rendering of the TFF building. (Image: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations issued a draft environmental assessment (EA) in early November for a test and fill facility (TFF) that TerraPower plans to build in Kemmerer, Wyo.—the town selected two years ago to host the company’s first Natrium sodium fast reactor. The draft EA, open for comment through December 1, describes TerraPower’s plans to construct a nonnuclear facility that would safely store about 400,000 gallons of sodium to test coolant system designs and ultimately fill the planned reactor.

ANS Winter Meeting: Space—the next nuclear frontier

November 15, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News

Put nuclear technology in space or on the moon, and just as on Earth it can provide a power density unmatched by any other source. But what roles can nuclear power and propulsion play as the world enters a 21st-century space race? That was a key question put to six speakers during the November 14 American Nuclear Society Winter Meeting plenary session “Space: The (Next) Nuclear Frontier.”

U.S. and U.K. agree to “strategic partnership” on fusion energy

November 13, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News



Two top energy officials—U.S. deputy secretary of energy David M. Turk and U.K. minister for nuclear and networks Andrew Bowie—met on November 8 in Washington, D.C., to talk about a “coordinated, strategic approach” to advance fusion energy demonstration and commercialization and “maximize value” for both nations.

Deep geologic repository progress

November 10, 2023, 3:07PMNuclear NewsEmily Stein

Outside my office, there is a display case filled with rock samples from all over the world. It contains a disk of translucent, orange salt from the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, N.M.; a core of white-and-bronze gneiss from the site of the future deep geologic repository in Eurajoki, Finland; several angular chunks of fine-grained, gray claystone from the underground research laboratory at Bure, France; and a piece of coarse-grained granite from the underground research tunnel in Daejeon, South Korea.

Portsmouth Site tests radiation-detecting drone

November 2, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
A radiation detection drone was tested at the Portsmouth site in southern Ohio. (Photo: DOE)

Through a collaborative effort between the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management and the state of Ohio, a drone outfitted with radiation detectors underwent testing recently at the site of the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant for potential future use.

X-energy’s mobile microreactor gets support from DOE

October 30, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News

X-energy and the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy have reached a cooperative agreement valued at $2.5 million to continue the development of X-energy’s mobile microreactor design, the company announced October 25. The agreement, which extends through 2024, supports X-energy’s work on architecture and key technologies for the preliminary design of a commercial transportable power plant expected to produce 3–5 MWe.

White House backs HALEU enrichment with a request for $2.2 billion

October 26, 2023, 3:15PMNuclear News
Image: DOE

Just a few hours after a new Speaker of the House of Representatives was elected on October 25, the White House sent a list of funding priorities for “critical domestic needs” to Congress for consideration as legislators restart the stalled annual appropriations process. Those priorities include $2.2 billion for low-enriched uranium (LEU) and high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) enrichment capabilities. And to ensure that investment in domestic HALEU enrichment pays off, the White House is also calling for a long-term ban on enriched uranium from Russia.

Three developers get FEEED funding to test microreactors in INL’s DOME

October 25, 2023, 3:01PMNuclear News

The Department of Energy’s National Reactor Innovation Center (NRIC) awarded $3.9 million to three advanced nuclear energy developers on October 23 to design experiments to test microreactor designs in the Demonstration of Microreactor Experiments (DOME) test bed at Idaho National Laboratory.

UCOR partners with college to fill cleanup roles

October 25, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News
UCOR chemical operator apprentices (seated) take instruction at the Liquid and Gaseous Waste Operations at ORNL. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management cleanup contractor UCOR has increased its ability to recruit employees through a recent partnership with Tennessee’s Roane State Community College.

DOE to discuss SNF transport plans during SONGS D&D meeting

October 24, 2023, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
The San Onofre nuclear power plant. (Photo: SONGS)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy will provide an update to the San Onofre Community Engagement Panel (CEP) on spent fuel transportation preparations on Thursday, October 26, at its quarterly meeting. The virtual meeting will begin at 2:00 p.m. (PDT) via Microsoft Teams video conference.

Members of the public can view the meeting online by visiting the SONGS community website for the link to the Microsoft Teams meeting and to register to comment.

DOE issues additional Cleanup to Clean Energy RFIs

October 20, 2023, 9:32AMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy has released two additional requests for information related to its Cleanup to Clean Energy initiative, which aims to repurpose certain DOE-owned lands—portions of which were previously used during the nation’s nuclear weapons program—into sites for clean energy generation, including include solar, geothermal, wind, and nuclear electricity.

Mid-Atlantic Coast and Midwest selected for nuclear-to-hydrogen H2Hubs

October 18, 2023, 12:06PMNuclear News
Click image to enlarge.

The Department of Energy announced $7 billion on October 13 to launch seven regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs (H2Hubs) across the country and accelerate the commercial-scale deployment of clean hydrogen. Two of the seven hubs will feature hydrogen production using electricity—and possibly steam—from nuclear power. The federal government’s multibillion-dollar investment will be matched and exceeded by more than $40 billion from the awardees, for a total investment in clean energy and job creation near $50 billion.