Germany okays keeping two nuclear plants in reserve for winter

September 30, 2022, 12:01PMNuclear News
Germany’s Isar nuclear plant, located in Essenbach, Bavaria. (Photo: Elmschrat/WikiCommons)

With a reluctant bow to the reality of the energy crisis gripping Europe, the German government this week took a slight step back from its antinuclear power stance, forging an agreement with the operators of the Isar and Neckarwestheim plants to keep those facilities in “operational reserve” this winter should they be needed to ensure the country’s energy security.

Company launched to develop NuScale SMRs in Romania

September 30, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
From left: Romanian energy minister Virgil Popescu; E-Infra CEO Teofil Mureșan; Nuclearelectrica board chairman Teodor Chirica; and U.S. undersecretary for economic development, energy, and environment Jose Fernandez. (Photo: Nuclearelectrica)

Energy firms Nuclearelectrica and Nova Power & Gas have launched a joint venture, RoPower Nuclear, for the development of small modular reactors in Romania, with SMR technology provided by NuScale Power, of Portland, Ore.

Largely state-owned, Nuclearelectrica operates Romania’s sole nuclear power facility, the two-unit Cernavoda plant, while Nova Power & Gas, a subsidiary of the privately held E-Infra Group, is a supplier and distributor of electricity and natural gas in Romania. The two firms own equal shares of RoPower.

NuScale makes further headway with SMR plans for Poland

September 16, 2022, 6:55AMNuclear News
From left: NuScale president and CEO John Hopkins, Poland prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki, KGHM CEO Marcin Chludziński, and Ludwik Pieńkowski from AGH University of Science and Technology view a model of NuScale’s SMR technology. (Photo: Business Wire)

Portland, Ore.–based NuScale Power and KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. have signed the first task order and a statement of commencement to begin work under an agreement signed in February to initiate deployment in Poland of NuScale’s small modular reactor technology, the American firm announced this week. The task order was inked September 7 at the 31st Economic Forum, held September 6–8 in Karpacz, Poland.

Westinghouse, ENUSA partner on fuel fabrication

September 12, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

ENUSA’s president and CEO Mariano Moreno (left) and Westinghouse’s nuclear fuel president Tarik Choho shake hands on their latest partnership. (Photo: Westinghouse)

Westinghouse Electric Company and Madrid-based ENUSA intend to collaborate on VVER-440 fuel fabrication, the American firm announced last week at the World Nuclear Association’s World Nuclear Symposium.

The partnership, Westinghouse stated in a September 8 release, “will build on decades of performance delivering a Western alternative to Russian fuel in the European market.” There are currently 16 nuclear power reactors in Europe operating with VVER-440 fuel, and utilities in the region are actively looking for alternatives to Russian-supplied fuel for those units, according to the release.

Signers’ language: “We have a mutual interest in partnering in VVER-440 fuel manufacturing and potentially other related areas,” said Tarik Choho, Westinghouse’s president of nuclear fuel. “With our proven track record supplying for VVER reactors, we stand ready to support even greater energy security for our customers and European countries. We look forward to strengthening our partnership with ENUSA and leveraging their valuable experience in this field.”

Report sizes up nuclear new-build financing from five top exporters

August 31, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

As energy security and environmental concerns prompt some countries to increase their reliance on nuclear energy or become first-time adopters of the technology, the U.S. government must decide whether it will offer financing for reactor exports—a move that poses financial risks but could create jobs, address global climate and energy security challenges, and limit Chinese and Russian influence. A new report released on August 25 by the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, Comparing Government Financing of Reactor Exports: Considerations for U.S. Policy Makers, digs into the history of nuclear reactor financing and delivers recommendations for U.S. policymakers.

Matt Bowen, research scholar at the center and the report’s lead author, told Nuclear News, “Given how important financing is to countries considering new reactor construction, as well as the competition that U.S. vendors face from foreign state-owned entities, Congress and the White House should both focus attention on the issue, including policy options to increase U.S. competitiveness.”

Congress passes climate bill with tax credits and more for nuclear

August 15, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

After hours of debate alternating between Democratic praise for the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and Republican denunciation of it, the House of Representatives late Friday passed the sweeping energy, tax, and health care package in a straight party-line vote, 220–207. Its passage represents a significant win for President Biden, who is expected to sign the bill into law this week.

The boldly named $430 billion measure includes $369 billion in energy security and climate spending, with nuclear energy included among the beneficiaries.

NRC returns to full strength with Caputo, Crowell confirmations

August 3, 2022, 3:06PMNuclear News

Crowell

Caputo

The Senate last evening confirmed by voice vote Annie Caputo and Bradley R. Crowell to seats on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, returning the agency to its full, five-member complement. Caputo’s term expires in June 2026, Crowell’s in June 2027.

Nominated by President Biden in May to serve on the commission, Caputo and Crowell appeared before the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee on June 8 to field questions. On July 27, the EPW Committee unanimously approved both and sent their nominations to the Senate floor.

House sends chip production and scientific R&D bill to Biden

July 29, 2022, 8:55AMNuclear News
The U.S. Capitol. Photo: Wikimedia commons.

In a 243–187 vote, the House of Representatives yesterday passed the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, a $280 billion economic competitiveness package aimed at bolstering U.S. semiconductor manufacturing, as well as scientific research and development, including nuclear energy R&D.

Candu Energy wins Cernavoda unit refurbishment contract

July 26, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News
Romania’s Cernavoda Units 1 and 2. (Photo: Nuclearelectrica)

Romania’s Nuclearelectrica, the state-owned operator of the two-unit Cernavoda nuclear power plant, has awarded Candu Energy a contract to conduct design and engineering services for the facility’s Unit 1 refurbishment project, according to an announcement last week from SNC-Lavalin, Candu Energy’s parent company.

Energy Northwest, Curio partner on recycling used fuel

July 19, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News
Energy Northwest’s Columbia Generating Station, in Richland, Wash. (Photo: Energy Northwest)

Energy Northwest, owner and operator of Columbia Generating Station in Richland, Wash., recently signed a memorandum of understanding with nuclear technology firm Curio Solutions regarding Curio’s NuCycle nuclear waste recycling process.

Columbia is the Northwest’s only operating nuclear power plant, consisting of one 1,207-MWe boiling water reactor. There are currently 54 concrete and steel casks on site, holding the spent fuel produced by the reactor since it began commercial operation in 1984.

U.S. to provide $14 million for Romanian SMR study

July 5, 2022, 12:09PMNuclear News

At the recent G7 summit in Germany, President Biden and other world leaders launched the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment—described by the State Department as an effort “to narrow infrastructure gaps around the world, strengthen the global economy and supply chains, and advance international security through strategic investments.”

Saskatchewan picks BWRX-300 for potential deployment

June 29, 2022, 9:28AMNuclear News
A cutaway image of the BWRX-300. (Image: GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy)

Following an assessment of several small modular reactor technologies, SaskPower has chosen GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy’s (GEH’s) BWRX-300 SMR for potential deployment in Saskatchewan in the mid-2030s, the Canadian utility announced earlier this week.

Groups prod G7 to support nuclear for climate, security

June 27, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News

A group of six organizations have issued a statement to world leaders currently gathered at the G7 summit in Germany that highlights nuclear energy’s strengths in addressing the current global challenges of environmental sustainability and energy security and urges additional support.

Westinghouse, Hyundai E&C ink nuclear projects pact

May 26, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News
The world's first AP1000 reactors to enter operation, Sanmen units 1 and 2, in China. (Image: Westinghouse Inc.)

Westinghouse Electric Company and South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering & Construction have signed an agreement to “jointly participate in global AP1000 plant opportunities,” the Pennsylvania-based nuclear technology firm announced on May 24.

Nuclear economics in a changed world

May 11, 2022, 9:30AMANS NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy
cpiercy@ans.org

Laurence J. Peter, author of The Peter Principle, said, “An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn’t happen today.” By that definition, I guess we are all economists now.

As I write this column, it’s still too early to know exactly how the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the world’s response to it, will shape the long-term economics of energy production, and specifically the economics of nuclear energy. But we can make a few logical guesses.

First, I think we will see a stronger security “overlay” to every energy policy decision we make in the next few years. Energy security is a potent motivator. France’s decision to go nuclear wasn’t a decarbonization play; it was a direct result of the Arab oil embargo of 1973, when most of its electricity was generated by oil-fired power plants.

GOP lawmakers call on Secretary Granholm to secure U.S. nuclear energy sector

May 2, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

Upton

McMorris Rodgers

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wash.), ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Fred Upton (R., Mich.), ranking member of the Subcommittee on Energy, sent a letter to energy secretary Jennifer Granholm on April 27 urging that more be done to secure America’s nuclear energy sector.

Excerpt: “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine exposes the risks of weakening American energy security,” McMorris Rodgers and Upton write. “These risks extend beyond our oil and gas assets to include supply vulnerabilities in our civilian nuclear sector. This sector is essential for national and energy security and for strengthening the geostrategic relationships necessary to compete with Russia, China, and other adversaries.

Legislation introduced to reestablish U.S. as global nuclear energy leader

April 13, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

Risch

Manchin

Sens. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) and Jim Risch (R., Idaho) recently introduced the International Nuclear Energy Act of 2022, a measure aimed at developing a strategy to counter the growing influence of Russia and China on the global civil nuclear export market.

Manchin is chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Risch is the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee.

Bill basics: The legislation, according to the lawmakers, would:

  • Establish an office to coordinate civil nuclear exports strategy, establish financing relationships, promote regulatory harmonization, enhance safeguards and security, promote standardization of licensing framework, and create an export working group.

Where are strong nuclear export markets likely to emerge?

March 7, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear NewsGuest Contributor

Three factors will drive nuclear exports: energy security, decarbonization, and geopolitics. Recent power prices in Europe, coupled with the situation in Ukraine, demonstrate the interplay of all three factors. Nuclear exports have to be viewed in the context of the current geopolitical climate, particularly relative to Russian and Chinese competitive offerings. Finally, the critical importance of nuclear energy in meeting global decarbonization efforts can be a driving force for exports, further enhanced by the inclusion of nuclear energy in clean/green taxonomies and the accompanying support from the ESG (environmental, social, and governance) investor community.

DOE releases plan for clean energy supply chain

March 2, 2022, 12:04PMANS Nuclear Cafe

The Department of Energy last week released America’s Strategy to Secure the Supply Chain for a Robust Clean Energy Transition, billed by the DOE as “the first-ever comprehensive plan to ensure security and increase [the nation’s] energy independence.”

The 76-page document was produced in response to President Biden’s February 2021 executive order on U.S. supply chains, which called for a plethora of department reports on the subject, including one from the DOE on supply chains for the energy-sector industrial base.

What they’re saying: “Taking bold action to invest in our supply chains means America will reap the tremendous opportunities that tackling climate change presents to kickstart domestic manufacturing and help secure our national, economic, and energy security,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm. “The strength of a nation relies on resilient and reliable critical supply chains across sectors, and DOE’s report provides the key strategies and recommendations for Congress and the federal government to act now to help deliver more jobs and a stronger, cleaner future.

DOE kicks off cybersecurity plan, seeks stakeholder input

April 26, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear News

The Biden administration has launched an initiative to enhance the cybersecurity of U.S. electric utilities’ industrial control systems (ICS) and secure the nation’s energy sector supply chain, the Department of Energy announced on April 20. The 100-day plan is a coordinated effort between the DOE, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and the electricity industry.