A review of workforce trends in the nuclear community

February 3, 2023, 3:01PMEdited February 3, 2023, 3:01PMNuclear News

The nuclear community is undergoing a moment of unprecedented interest and growth not seen in decades. The passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act are providing a multitude of new funding opportunities for the nuclear community, and not just the current fleet. A mix of technologies and reactor types are being evaluated and deployed, with Vogtle Units 3 and 4 coming on line later this year, the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Projects of X-energy and TerraPower, and NuScale’s work with Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems to build a first-of-a-kind small modular reactor, making this is an exciting time to join the nuclear workforce.

Melding social, political, and physical sciences for a successful radwaste management program

February 3, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News

The International High-Level Radioactive Waste Management conference plenary, held in November during the 2022 ANS Winter Meeting, highlighted tight communication among physical, social, and political science experts as the key to successful waste management programs. The four featured speakers provided an international perspective on this issue.

25th anniversary of failure (and a chance at opportunity)

January 30, 2023, 3:00PMANS Nuclear CafeLake Barrett

Silver anniversaries are usually a cause for great celebration, but this one is a cause for regret and a renewed plea for action. January 31, 2023, marks the 25th anniversary of the Department of Energy’s failure under law and contract to start the removal of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) from the country’s 74 commercial nuclear power plant sites in 35 states for disposal per the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982. I personally know the moral and legal responsibility associated with this failure, because in 1998, as the then responsible DOE official, I had to personally announce it. But much has changed since then. There are many new avenues to address these past problems like federal, state, and community partnerships that can be beneficial for all, if there is DOE leadership and congressional action for both disposal and storage.

Deadline approaching for abstract submissions to the 2023 NETS conference

January 27, 2023, 7:01AMANS News

This year the American Nuclear Society’s Nuclear and Emerging Technologies for Space (NETS 2023) conference, which will be held May 7–11, 2023, in Idaho Falls, Idaho, is focusing on powering the next era of space exploration through nuclear-enabled technologies and is sure to be the can’t-miss event of the year for those in the aerospace community.

A fateful day for nuclear waste policy: January 31, 1998

January 26, 2023, 3:12PMNuclear News

Next week will mark 25 years since January 31, 1998, a familiar date to most in the nuclear community, and revisited in today’s #ThrowbackThursday post with an article from the March 1998 issue of Nuclear News. “Those in the nuclear power industry are aware of the significance of the date January 31, 1998. ln the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, that date was set as the deadline for the U.S. government—more specifically, the Department of Energy—to begin taking possession of and responsibility for spent nuclear fuel from nuclear power plants nationwide” (NN, March 1998, p. 59).

National laboratories: Open for business like never before

January 25, 2023, 7:03AMNuclear NewsCorey McDaniel
Industry professionals visit INL as part of a U.S. Nuclear Industry Council Conference. (Photo: INL)

The Department of Energy’s commitment to breaking down market barriers with initiatives, programs, and access to facilities is making it simpler and more efficient than ever for industry to partner with national laboratories. It is especially timely, as the country continues to face evolving security, economic, and clean energy challenges. Partnering opportunities via the DOE’s Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) and Strategic Partnership Projects (SPPs) are particularly prevalent in the commercial nuclear community and have seen a tremendous amount of funding and support dedicated to advancing the development, demonstration, and deployment of new reactor technologies.

DOE seeks input on analysis of alternatives for treating Hanford’s HLW

January 24, 2023, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions
Hanford’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy is asking for feedback on a new report analyzing potential options for preparing high-level radioactive waste for vitrification at the department’s Hanford Site near Richland, Wash. Vitrification is the process of treating radioactive waste by immobilizing it in glass.

The report, Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant High-Level Waste Treatment: Analysis of Alternatives, was commissioned in response to a 2018 determination by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that it was unlikely the DOE would meet its mandated deadlines for treating Hanford’s tank waste.

NIA report calls for DOE transformation

January 23, 2023, 3:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe

The Nuclear Innovation Alliance (NIA) released a new report last week titled Transforming the U.S. Department of Energy: Paving the Way to Commercialize Advanced Nuclear Energy, which gives recommendations for how the Department of Energy (DOE) can help advanced nuclear power technologies cross the finish line to commercialization. It calls for a “whole-of-government and whole-of-society effort dependent on successful public-private partnerships.”

The NIA report acknowledges that boosting energy security and meeting decarbonization goals will require at least double the domestic nuclear energy capacity that is on line today. But the nuclear industry is highly complex, and its supply chain is atrophied. The success of advanced nuclear technology will depend on careful collaboration and planning to bolster a new supply chain.

From “never” to now: NIF through the lens of 60 Minutes

January 23, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
NIF in winter (Photo: LLNL)

“Star Power” is the name 60 Minutes producers gave their interpretation of the recent experiment at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) that achieved fusion ignition and net gain. Views from inside Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory captured by TV cameras and aired Sunday, January 15—of some of NIF’s 192 lasers, banks of capacitors, target assembly labs, and even the remains of the target assembly blasted in the December 5 breakthrough—are well worth the watch for those of us who are unlikely to visit the site in person.

DOE awards cost-shared fusion energy research funds to seven companies

January 19, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy’s Office of Science announced $2.3 million in funding on January 17 for 10 fusion energy projects that will allow private companies to work with national laboratories to address specific challenges in fusion energy development. Seven private companies and seven national laboratories are represented in the 10 projects selected for funding, provided through the INFUSE (Innovation Network for Fusion Energy) program. The second-round fiscal year 2022 awards follow a first round of 18 project awards announced in July 2022.

University of Tennessee offers inspiration with inaugural NEDHO Diversity Panel

January 18, 2023, 7:01AMNuclear News
Wes Hines (right), of the University of Tennessee’s Department of Nuclear Engineering, introduces the speakers for a session on nuclear engineering opportunities. (Photos: University of Tennessee)

The University of Tennessee–Knoxville Department of Nuclear Engineering hosted the inaugural Nuclear Engineering Department Heads Organization (NEDHO) Diversity Panel on October 27. Wes Hines, head of the university’s Department of Nuclear Engineering, was the moderator for the event. Invited to the speak were engineering professional Harold T. Conner, environmental scientist Dari Gabriel, and engineering student Jasmine Toy. These three panelists discussed overcoming challenges in their engineering education and/or careers to find success. A common theme that emerged from the conversation was that—in addition to their own determination to succeed—all three panelists benefited from caring adult guidance during their youth, as well as strong support from friends, family, and colleagues as they pursued their goals.

THOR puts fast reactor fuel to the test in U.S.-Japan TREAT collaboration

January 17, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
U.S. secretary of energy Jennifer Granholm and Japan’s minister of economy, trade, and industry Yasutoshi Nishimura lead energy discussions on January 9 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: DOE)

Researchers at Idaho National Laboratory have completed initial testing on a newly developed fuel test capsule that is expected to provide crucial performance data for sodium-cooled fast reactors. The Department of Energy announced on January 12 that the series of fuel testing experiments being carried out now at INL’s Transient Reactor Test Facility (TREAT) was developed through a joint project between the United States and Japan.

DOE issues final rule on Part 810 Civil Penalties

January 16, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News

The Department of Energy has published a final rule in the January 12 Federal Register establishing procedures for the assessment and imposition of civil penalties for certain violations of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended. The rule strengthens the DOE’s ability to enforce regulations governing exports of unclassified civil nuclear technology.

First shipment of surplus plutonium TRU waste sent to WIPP

January 16, 2023, 9:32AMRadwaste Solutions
The first shipment of downblended surplus plutonium from SRS’s K Area leaves SRS. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration and Office of Environmental Management have completed the first shipment of downblended surplus plutonium transuranic (TRU) material from the K Area at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico.

Paducah breaks ground on new site emergency operations center

January 10, 2023, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
Construction is underway on the Paducah Site's new Emergency Operations Center. (Photo: DOE)

Construction crews at the Department of Energy's Paducah Site in Kentucky have broken ground on a new Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to improve coordination and response to emergencies across the site.

The 3,500-square-foot facility will replace the existing EOC, which was established in the site’s C-300 Control Building around 1990. The C-300 Control Building was built during the 1950s. The new modern facility will be used to monitor environmental conditions and house emergency management personnel.

The new EOC is scheduled for completion in this year.

A video is available on the construction of the new EOC.

NNSA's minority serving institution program looks to strengthen skilled workforce

January 10, 2023, 12:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe

The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration’s Minority Serving Institution Partnership Program (MSIPP) has issued a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) titled "Community and Junior College Trade Occupation Program." The FOA encourages grant applications from tribal and minority serving community and junior colleges that diversify student and faculty populations, enhance training programs in trade and skilled labors, and increase the capacity of the NNSA's nuclear security enterprise workforce.

Eligible tribal and minority serving community and junior colleges have until February 17, 2023, 11:50 p.m. EST to respond to the FOA with proposals.

National labs targeted in Russia-based phishing scheme, Reuters reports

January 9, 2023, 12:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Reuters broke an “exclusive” story on January 6 that, “according to Internet records reviewed by Reuters and five cyber security experts, a Russian hacking team known as Cold River targeted three Department of Energy laboratoriesArgonne, Brookhaven, and Lawrence Livermore—with a phishing scheme in the summer of 2022.

Animated video shows West Valley main plant demolition plan

January 9, 2023, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
A screen capture from the DOE's West Valley video. (Image: DOE)

A new animated video from the Department of Energy's Office of Environmental Management (EM) shows how cleanup contractor CH2M HILL BWXT West Valley (CHBWV) will take down the main plant process building at the West Valley Demonstration Project (WVDP).

The EM team at West Valley wanted to convey the project to the public, and they believe the animation accomplishes that goal, according to Stephen Bousquet, EM WVDP federal project director for the Main Plant Deconstruction Project.

Click here to watch the video.

Looking back at 2022—July through September

January 5, 2023, 12:12PMNuclear News

Another calendar year has passed. Before heading too far into 2023, let’s look back at what happened in 2022 for the American Nuclear Society and the nuclear community. In today's post that follows, we have compiled from Nuclear News and Nuclear Newswire what we feel are the top nuclear news stories from July through September 2022.

Stay tuned this week for the top stories from the rest of the past year.

But first:

Looking back at 2022—April through June

January 4, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News

Another calendar year has passed. Before heading too far into 2023, let’s look back at what happened in 2022 for the American Nuclear Society and the nuclear community. In today's post that follows, we have compiled from Nuclear News and Nuclear Newswire what we feel are the top nuclear news stories from April through June 2022.

Stay tuned this week for the top stories from the rest of the past year.

But first: