NRC seeks comments on new fee schedule for FY 2024

February 22, 2024, 3:00PMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is asking for feedback on proposed changes to the annual, licensing, inspection, and special projects fees for fiscal year 2024.

The proposed fee rule, published February 20 in the Federal Register, is based on the FY 2024 Congressional Budget Justification as a full-year appropriation, but it has not yet been enacted. The final rule will be based on the NRC’s actual appropriation, and the agency will update the final fee schedule as appropriate.

Kairos Power, DOE agree on milestone approach to Hermes support

February 22, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News

Kairos Power announced on February 21 that it has signed a technology investment agreement with the Department of Energy to implement the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP) Risk Reduction funding that the company was awarded in December 2020. Under the agreement, the DOE will provide up to $303 million to Kairos Power using a performance-based, fixed-price milestone approach to support the design, construction, and commissioning of the Hermes demonstration reactor in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Can uranium extraction from seawater make nuclear power completely renewable?

February 20, 2024, 11:52AMNuclear NewsJames Conca
Researchers have been working frantically to develop an array of materials and fibers to economically extract uranium from seawater—and they have succeeded. PNNL scientists exposed this special uranium-sorbing fiber developed at ORNL to Pseudomonas fluorescens and used the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory to create a 3-D X-ray microtomograph to determine microstructure and the effects of interactions with organisms and seawater. (Image: PNNL)

America, Japan, and China are racing to be the first nation to make nuclear energy completely renewable. The hurdle is making it economical to extract uranium from seawater, because the amount of uranium in seawater is truly inexhaustible.

While America had been in the lead with technological breakthroughs from the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest and Oak Ridge National Laboratories, researchers at Northeast Normal University in China have sprung ahead. But these breakthroughs from both countries have brought the removal of uranium from seawater within economic reach. The only question is when will the source of uranium for our nuclear power plants change from mined ore to sea­water extraction?

Local high schoolers shadow SRS engineers

February 20, 2024, 9:27AMRadwaste Solutions
Aiken County Public School District students test out a mock glovebox during a tour of the Savannah River Site’s Waste Solidification Building. (Photo: SRNS)

Fifteen area high school students recently completed job shadow experiences with leaders, engineers, and education outreach personnel at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site in South Carolina, according to Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS).

Taking aim at disease

February 16, 2024, 3:02PMNuclear NewsKristi Nelson Bumpus
ORNL radioisotope manufacturing coordinator Jillene Sennon-Greene places a shipment vial of actinium-225 inside the dose calibrator to confirm its activity is within customer specifications. (Photo: Carlos Jones/ORNL, DOE)

On August 2, 1946, 1 millicurie of the isotope carbon-14 left Oak Ridge National Laboratory, bound for the Barnard Free Skin and Cancer Hospital in St. Louis, Mo.

That tiny amount of the radioisotope was purchased by the hospital for use in cancer studies. And it heralded a new peacetime mission for ORNL, built just a few years earlier for the production of plutonium from uranium for the Manhattan Project.

RIPB safety case for TerraPower’s MCRE

February 13, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear News

Last month at the American Nuclear Society’s Risk-informed, Performance-based Principles and Policy Committee’s (RP3C’s) Community of Practice (CoP), Brandon Chisholm presented “Development of a Risk-Informed and Performance-Based Safety Case for TerraPower’s Molten Chloride Reactor Experiment (MCRE).” RP3C holds a CoP on the last Friday of the month from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (ET), and participation is open to all professionals interested in RIPB principles and practices. Chisholm’s January 26 presentation is available to stream on YouTube.

MARVEL microreactor start-up now expected in 2027, as fuel fabrication begins

February 8, 2024, 12:00PMNuclear News
Concept art of the MARVEL microreactor (Image: INL)

The Department of Energy announced February 7 that fuel for the MARVEL microreactor, which Idaho National Laboratory plans to host inside the Transient Reactor Test (TREAT) facility, is now being fabricated by TRIGA International, with the first fuel delivery expected in spring 2025. MARVEL operation was expected “by the end of 2024” as recently as May 2023, but that timeline had shifted by October, when the DOE said MARVEL “is expected to be completed in early 2025.” Now, according to the DOE’s latest announcement, “Fuel loading for MARVEL is anticipated to occur in 2026, with the microreactor expected to be on line by 2027.”

Atoms for Humanity highlights nuclear’s clean energy and space exploration roles

February 8, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News
Argonne director Paul Kearns delivers the plenary lecture on the first day of the 2023 Atoms for Humanity symposium. (Photo: Purdue NE/CHE)

The roles of nuclear energy as a clean energy source and in space exploration were highlighted at the recent Atoms for Humanity symposium, held October 25–26, 2023. The symposium, which was organized by Purdue’s Center for Intelligent Energy Systems (CiENS) and hosted by the university’s School of Nuclear Engineering, was held on the West Lafayette, Ind., campus in Eliza Fowler Hall.

Hanford’s initial tank waste campaign a success

February 7, 2024, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
A monitor in the control room of the Hanford Site’s TSCR system shows workers performing maintenance inside the TSCR facility. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management’s Office of River Protection and contractor Washington River Protection Solutions have completed the first waste processing campaign through the Tank-Side Cesium Removal (TSCR) system at the Hanford Site.

Zeno Power will repurpose legacy radioisotope source from ORNL

January 31, 2024, 12:03PMNuclear News

Zeno Power announced on January 26 that it will get the strontium-90 that it needs to fuel full-scale radioisotope power systems (RPSs) for national security and space exploration missions from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM). Under a public-private partnership, a large legacy RPS known as the BUP-500 that had languished, unused, in storage at Oak Ridge National Laboratory has been transported to an unnamed commercial radiological facility in Pennsylvania—Zeno Power’s subcontractor—where the Sr-90 it contains will be repurposed as heat sources for Zeno Power devices.

L&A to increase support for Post Foundation STEM scholarships

January 30, 2024, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions

To honor the 50th anniversary of Waste Management Symposia (WMS), Longenecker & Associates (L&A) has announced an increase in its financial support for WMS’s scholarship efforts.

Since launching a 10-year commitment in 2019, L&A has contributed $125,000 to the Post Foundation, which provides scholarships for students pursuing careers in the safe management in nuclear materials and supports their participation in the annual WMS conference on the management of radioactive waste and related topics.

Next-gen workforce development for nuclear waste disposal R&D

January 11, 2024, 12:07PMANS News

The Department of Energy, in conjunction with Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Texas A&M University, will conduct a biweekly webinar series aimed at providing a broad overview of nuclear waste management and disposal in the United States as well as the latest research activities. The target audience is undergraduate and graduate students in science, engineering, policy, sociotechnical, and social science programs.

2023 in Review: April–June

January 11, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear News

Another calendar year has passed. Before heading too far into 2024, let’s look back at what happened in 2023 in the nuclear community. In today's post, compiled from Nuclear News and Nuclear Newswire are what we feel are the top nuclear news stories from April through June 2023.

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

DOE rolls out simplified HALEU enrichment RFP, opens door to LEU from allies

January 10, 2024, 12:01PMNuclear News
Image: DOE

The Department of Energy issued a final request for proposals (RFP) on January 9 for uranium enrichment services to help establish a commercial domestic supply of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) to fuel a potential fleet of advanced reactors. Without HALEU, advanced reactors will not be able to proceed past the demonstration stage. And given the investments of capital and time required to license and build a nuclear power plant—even a smaller, more efficient advanced reactor—eliminating fuel uncertainty could be what a utility needs to invest in new construction.

Notes from an international workshop on spent fuel management

January 5, 2024, 9:40AMRadwaste Solutions
Some of the participants at the NEA Workshop on Extended Storage and Transportation of Spent Fuel and Radioactive Waste from Current and Future Reactor Technologies. (Photo: NEA)

A recent event co-organized by the Nuclear Energy Agency, the Electric Power Research Institute, and Holtec International brought together about 100 international experts for a workshop on spent fuel and radioactive waste.

Savannah River Site offers select interns a career fast track

January 3, 2024, 3:00PMNuclear News
While interning at SRS, Texas Tech senior Jinju Philip spent time in the quality assurance program inside the Defense Waste Processing Facility. He now works part time in the Technical Student Program as a system engineer for the site’s tank closure effort. (Photo: SRMC)

The Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management’s liquid waste contractor at the Savannah River Site is giving nine college students the opportunity to jump-start their careers this year through a hybrid work program that allows them to finish their engineering or computer science studies while also interning at SRS.

DOE issues draft RFQ for Hanford clean energy initiative

December 22, 2023, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
The DOE’s Hanford Site. (Image: Washington River Protection Solutions)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management issued for public comment the first request for qualifications (RFQ) related to the department’s Cleanup to Clean Energy initiative, which aims to increase energy production by making DOE land available for the potential development of carbon-free energy (CFE) electricity generation through leases.