Armenia’s positive lessons learned on nuclear power

February 6, 2024, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe


Areg Danagoulian, associate professor of nuclear science and engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, draws on his experiences growing up in Soviet-era Armenia to argue that nuclear energy is crucial to “help strengthen liberal democracies that are being unprecedently threatened” by what he calls authoritarian regimes, such as Russia and China.

Disasters both natural and man-made: In his essay “How Nuclear Power Saved Armenia,” published by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Danagoulian recalls the shutdown of Armenia’s Metsamor nuclear reactors in 1989 in the wake of fears generated by the 1986 Chernobyl accident, which “dramatically undermin[ed] public trust in nuclear power as a safe source of energy.” He asserted that “the public perception of danger from nuclear power was magnified by the outrageous lies that the Soviet leadership spread about the disaster, the obvious incompetence and irresponsibility of the Soviet nuclear designers who built and operated the Chernobyl reactor, and the poorly executed cleanup efforts, which were compounded by miscalculations and gross mistakes.”

U.K. lays out plans to quadruple nuclear generation by 2050

January 12, 2024, 12:05PMNuclear News

The United Kingdom released plans yesterday for the biggest expansion of nuclear power in 70 years. Officials outlined Civil Nuclear: Roadmap to 2050 as an opportunity to improve the United Kingdom’s energy independence from foreign sources as it looks to build a new power station and invest in advanced nuclear fuel production.

ENEC inks deal with Kazatomprom, MOUs with TerraPower, GEH

December 5, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, president of Kazakhstan (standing), looks on as the commercial uranium fuel supply contract between ENEC and Kazatomprom is signed. (Photo: Kazatomprom)

On the margins of the COP28 climate conference in Dubai, UAE, this week, Barakah nuclear plant owner Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) signed its first commercial uranium fuel supply contract with Kazatomprom, in addition to memorandums of understanding with two U.S.-based advanced reactor developers—TerraPower and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH).

Canadian provinces to share expertise on SMR development

November 27, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News

Dustin Duncan, Saskatchewan’s minister responsible for SaskPower (from left), and Todd Smith, Ontario’s minister of energy, at the master services agreement announcement in Regina, Saskatchewan. (Photo: OPG)

Ontario Power Generation and its Laurentis Energy Partners (LEP) subsidiary have announced details of a master services agreement with SaskPower to further Saskatchewan’s plans for small modular reactor deployment.

The agreement, announced on November 20, runs for up to five years and serves as a foundation for a long-term strategic partnership to streamline SMR development in the province. LEP is tasked in the agreement with program management, licensing, and operational readiness activities.

IAEA gives thumbs-up to Estonia’s nuclear infrastructure development

November 8, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News
Eric Mathet (left), operational lead of the IAEA’s nuclear infrastructure development section, presents the INIR mission report to Antti Tooming, deputy secretary general of Estonia’s Ministry of Climate and head of the country’s nuclear energy working group.

A team of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency recently concluded an eight-day mission to Estonia, finding that the Baltic state has developed a comprehensive assessment of its nuclear infrastructure development needs, enabling the government to make an informed decision on whether to pursue a nuclear power program.

Constellation completes ownership stake in Texas plant

November 6, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News
The South Texas Project nuclear power plant. (Photo: STP Nuclear Operating Co.)

Constellation Energy announced last week that it has completed its acquisition of NRG Energy’s 44 percent ownership stake in the South Texas Project nuclear power plant.

Final bids submitted for new reactor at Czech plant

November 2, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
The Dukovany nuclear power plant. (Photo: INSP)

Elektrárna Dukovany II (EDU II), a subsidiary of Czech utility ČEZ, has received final bids for the construction of a fifth reactor at the Dukovany plant, as well as nonbinding bids for three additional units to be sited at Dukovany and at Temelín, the Czech Republic’s other nuclear power facility. (Dukovany currently houses four Russian VVER-440/V213 pressurized water reactors, while Temelín is home to two VVER-1000/V320s.)

House approves FY 2024 energy funding bill

November 1, 2023, 7:01AMNuclear News

With a new speaker finally seated, the GOP-led House of Representatives recently passed the fiscal year 2024 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 4394) in a near–party line vote of 210–199. A lone Republican—Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado—opposed the measure, as did all voting Democrats.

Nuclear’s fortunes looking up, says IAEA

October 11, 2023, 3:01PMNuclear News
IAEA director general Grossi delivers the opening plenary at the Second International Conference on Climate Change and the Role of Nuclear Power. (Photo: IAEA)

The International Atomic Energy Agency has released the 2023 edition of its annual look at nuclear’s prospects in the coming decades—Energy, Electricity and Nuclear Power Estimates for the Period up to 2050—revising its global growth projections upward for a third consecutive year.

U.K. picks six to advance in SMR competition

October 4, 2023, 12:08PMNuclear News

The U.K. government has chosen six companies to participate in the next stage of its small modular reactor competition: EDF, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, Holtec Britain Limited, NuScale Power, Rolls-Royce SMR (the only real home team), and Westinghouse Electric Company UK Limited. According to the government’s October 2 announcement, the advanced technologies offered by these firms are “the most able to deliver operational SMRs by the mid-2030s.”

Canada commits to C$3 billion for CANDU project in Romania

September 29, 2023, 9:28AMNuclear News
Romania’s Cernavoda Units 1 and 2. (Photo: Nuclearelectrica)

Canada will provide C$3 billion (about $2.2 billion) in export financing to Romania’s nuclear operator, Nuclearelectrica, in support of Canadian participation in the project to complete Units 3 and 4 at the Cernavoda nuclear plant, Canadian minister of energy Jonathan Wilkinson announced last week.

Engineering services contract signed for first Polish plant

September 29, 2023, 6:55AMNuclear News
At the September 27 signing ceremony for the engineering services contract to build Poland’s first nuclear power plant are, from left, John Howanitz, president of Bechtel’s nuclear, security, and environmental global business unit; Westinghouse president and CEO Patrick Fragman; Polish government plenipotentiary for strategic energy infrastructure Anna Łukaszewska-Trzeciakowska; Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki; U.S. ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski; assistant secretary of energy for international affairs Andrew Light; and Polskie Elektrownie Jądrowe president Mateusz Berger. (Photo: Bechtel)

Just one week after inking a consortium agreement to partner on the design and construction of Poland’s first nuclear power plant, Westinghouse Electric Company and Bechtel joined state-owned Polish utility Polskie Elektrownie Jądrowe (PEJ) in Warsaw on Wednesday for the signing of the project’s engineering services contract.

Westinghouse, Bechtel sign consortium agreement for first nuclear plant in Poland

September 26, 2023, 3:45PMNuclear News
At the Bechtel/Westinghouse consortium agreement signing ceremony at the U.S. embassy in Warsaw, were, from left, U.S. ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski; Ahmet Tokpinar, general manager of Bechtel’s nuclear power business line; Elias Gedeon, senior vice president for commercial operations at Westinghouse; Mirosław Kowalik, president of Westinghouse Poland; and Anna Łukaszewska-Trzeciakowska, Poland government plenipotentiary for strategic energy infrastructure. (Photo: Bechtel)

Westinghouse Electric Company and engineering, construction, and project management firm Bechtel on September 20 announced the signing of a consortium agreement to partner on the design and construction of Poland’s first nuclear power plant.

GE Hitachi named first corporate sponsor of Net Zero Nuclear

September 22, 2023, 9:00AMNuclear News

Net Zero Nuclear, an initiative that debuted earlier this month at the World Nuclear Symposium in London, has named GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) its initial corporate sponsor. The announcement was made Wednesday at the Atlantic Council’s Nuclear Energy Policy Summit in New York.

Westinghouse pursues AP300 deployment in Ukraine

September 18, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
Westinghouse president and CEO Patrick Fragman (seated at left) and Energoatom president Petro Kotin (seated at right) sign an MOU on AP300 deployment in Ukraine. Standing behind Fragman and Kotin is Ukrainian energy minister German Galushchenko. (Photo: Energoatom)

Westinghouse Electric Company and Ukraine’s nuclear operator Energoatom have signed a memorandum of understanding on the development and deployment of the American firm’s AP300 small modular reactor in the Eastern European state.

Additional funding provided for Sizewell C project

September 7, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
A computer-generated rendering of the Sizewell site on the Suffolk coast. Sizewell A and B are to the left and center (respectively) in this image; the section to the right is the Sizewell C area. (Image: EDF Energy)

In the second tranche of planned investment in Britain’s nuclear sector this summer, the U.K. government has made available £341 million (about $426 million) of previously allocated funding for development work on the proposed Sizewell C project in Suffolk, England.

Westinghouse inks contract to supply VVER-440 fuel in Slovakia

August 28, 2023, 7:01AMNuclear News
Executives from Westinghouse and Slovenské Elektrárne met in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava to sign the agreement to license and supply VVER-440 fuel assemblies. From left are Aziz Dag, senior vice president and managing director of Westinghouse Electric Sweden; Lukáš Maršálek, deputy director for the accounting, finance, and control department of Slovenské Elektrárne; Tarik Choho, Westinghouse president of nuclear fuel; and Branislav Strýček, director general of Slovenske Elektrárne. (Photo: Westinghouse)

In the latest example of Europe’s move away from its dependence on Russia for VVER reactor fuel, Westinghouse Electric Company on Friday signed a long-term agreement with Slovakia’s nuclear power plant operator, Slovenské Elektrárne, to license and supply VVER-440 fuel assemblies.

U.K. backs Ukraine nuclear fuel supply

August 24, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News

U.K. energy security secretary Grant Shapps (center), Ukraine minister of energy German Galushchenko (right), and Ukraine deputy minister of energy Yaroslav Demchenkov (left) with captured Russian military vehicles in Kyiv on August 22. (Photo: BEIS Communications)

The U.K. government has announced its intention to provide a loan guarantee of £192 million (about $244 million) to enable Britain-based Urenco to supply Ukraine’s nuclear operator Energoatom with uranium enrichment services. (Urenco has been a supplier to Energoatom since 2009.) The loan is to be made through UK Export Finance, the nation’s export credit agency.

According to the August 23 announcement, the added support will “strengthen Ukraine’s energy security and further isolate Putin by helping the country maintain its independence from Russian nuclear fuel.” Once provided, the additional funds will boost the United Kingdom’s total nonmilitary assistance to Ukraine to nearly £5 billion (about $6.4 billion), the government stated.

The announcement came as Grant Shapps, U.K. secretary of state for energy security and net zero, visited Kyiv to meet with senior government ministers and leading energy figures—including Energoatom president Petro Kotin and Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Oleksandr Kubrakov and energy minister German Galushchenko—to discuss British support for Ukraine’s eventual recovery.

Terrestrial Energy, Westinghouse ink deal for IMSR fuel plant

August 4, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News

Canadian nuclear tech firm Terrestrial Energy has signed a manufacturing and supply contract with Springfields Fuels Limited—a Britain–based subsidiary of Westinghouse Electric Company—for the design and construction of an Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR) fuel pilot plant.

In an August 3 press release, Terrestrial said that Springfields’ reactor fuel manufacturing facility has extensive existing infrastructure available to support the fuel supply for IMSR development and is scalable to support a fleet of IMSR plants operating in the 2030s. Located near Preston, Lancashire in northwestern England, the Springfields facility is the only site in the United Kingdom for nuclear fuel manufacturing.

More funds go to accelerate Sizewell C development

August 3, 2023, 3:18PMNuclear News
A rendering of the Sizewell site on the Suffolk coast. Sizewell A and B are to the left and center (respectively) in the image; the section to the right is Sizewell C. (Image: EDF Energy)

The U.K. government recently confirmed a further £170 million (about $216 million) investment of previously allocated funding for development work on the proposed Sizewell C nuclear power plant project in Suffolk, England.