Next for nuclear: Energy arbitrage

August 2, 2022, 9:26AMNuclear NewsMatt Wald
Research being done at INL’s Energy Systems Laboratory is providing information on how nuclear power plants can contribute to effective energy storage and discharge, to aid in arbitrage. (Photo: INL)

Can nuclear power plants prosper in the grid of 2030 or 2035, when new wind and solar farms will make electricity prices even more volatile? Can plants install energy storage that will help them keep running at full power, 24/7, to ride out times of surplus and sell their energy only when prices are high?

Michigan House passes bill to study new nuclear build

May 25, 2022, 7:17AMNuclear News

Rep. Graham Filler (Photo: Michigan House Republicans)

It’s not all bad news from Michigan. While it may not make up for the closing of Covert, Mich.’s Palisades nuclear plant, the state’s House of Representatives last week easily approved legislation that calls for a feasibility study to examine the potential for new nuclear generation.

Introduced on April 14 by Rep. Graham Filler (R., 93rd Dist.), House Bill 1609 passed the chamber 85–20 on May 19 (just one day prior to Entergy’s announcement that it closed Palisades 11 days before its scheduled retirement). Now in Senate hands, the measure instructs the Michigan Public Service Commission to engage an outside consulting firm to conduct the study.

Should the bill become law, the commission must deliver a report on the study to the governor and congressional leadership within 18 months.

TVA, ORNL partner to explore new nuclear, other clean technologies

March 2, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
High-voltage power lines carry electricity generated by the Tennessee Valley Authority to Oak Ridge National Laboratory. (Photo: Dobie Gillispie/ORNL, DOE)

The Tennessee Valley Authority and Oak Ridge National Laboratory have signed a memorandum of understanding to advance decarbonization technologies in pursuit of the federal government’s net-zero-by-2050 goal, the utility and the lab announced yesterday in a joint press release.

DOE opens clean energy demonstrations office

January 5, 2022, 12:01PMNuclear News

The Department of Energy recently announced the establishment of a new office aimed at supporting clean energy technology demonstration projects in areas such as advanced nuclear reactors, clean hydrogen, carbon capture, and grid-scale energy storage.

A creation of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill signed into law by President Biden last November, the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations boasts a $21.5 billion budget, including $2.4 billion for the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program.

DOE seeks stakeholder input on energy supply chains

December 6, 2021, 7:01AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy issued a request for information (RFI) last week in response to President Biden’s February 24 executive order directing it to submit a report on supply chains for the energy sector industrial base within one year.

According to the order, the United States requires supply chains that are “resilient,” meaning “secure and diverse—facilitating greater domestic production, a range of supply, built-in redundancies, adequate stockpiles, safe and secure digital networks, and a world-class American manufacturing base and workforce.”

Report: GHG reductions will flatline without existing and advanced nuclear

August 17, 2021, 3:09PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Carbon emission reductions from the power sector are likely to flatline after 2025 unless clean energy innovations and net-zero commitments from utilities pick up steam, concludes a report out this month from ClearPath, a conservative, Washington, D.C.–based clean energy nonprofit organization.

Clear Path to a Clean Energy Future: The Role of Utility Commitments on the Path to 2050 is the inaugural edition of a report to be published annually to track power sector trends and model the impacts of new technologies and policies. For the 2021 analysis, the authors engaged the research firm Rhodium Group to model ClearPath-designed scenarios using RHG-NEMS, a version of the National Energy Modeling System developed by the Energy Information Administration.

Legislation introduced to extend production tax credits to nuclear

June 28, 2021, 12:01PMNuclear News



Companion bills that call for amending the Internal Revenue Code to establish a tax credit to help existing merchant nuclear plants continue operations debuted on Capitol Hill last week.

In the House on June 21, Rep. Bill Pascrell (D., N.J.) introduced the bipartisan H.R. 4024, dubbed the Zero-Emission Nuclear Power Production Credit Act of 2021. Cosponsors of the legislation include Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.), Tom Suozzi (D., N.Y.), John Katko (R., N.Y.), Danny Davis (D., Ill.), Anthony Brown (D., Md.), Dutch Ruppersberger (D., Md.), Cheri Bustos (D., Ill.), Mike Doyle (D., Pa.), and Bobby Rush (D., Ill.).

And on June 24, Sen. Ben Cardin (D., Md.) introduced the Senate’s version, S. 2291, with Sens. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), Tom Carper (D., Del.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.), and Cory Booker (D., N.J.) joining as cosponsors.

Biden, senators agree to infrastructure deal

June 25, 2021, 9:33AMNuclear News



President Biden struck an infrastructure deal yesterday with a bipartisan group of senators to provide new investments for electric utilities, transportation, broadband, and other projects.

The deal coincided with a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee (SENR) hearing yesterday, which examined the infrastructure needs of the U.S. energy sector and considered the legislative proposal released last week by SENR chairman Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) . The proposal, labeled a "discussion draft," is currently in play for ongoing bipartisan infrastructure negotiations and includes provisions that would comply with rules on budget reconciliation, including a section that fully funds the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program and other Energy Act of 2020 programs. Manchin's proposal would also look to create a Department of Energy grant program for at-risk nuclear plants on an as-needed basis.

2021 ANS Virtual Annual Meeting: CEO roundtable

June 18, 2021, 9:37AMNuclear News

The 2021 ANS Annual Meeting brought together three leading chief executive officers from the nuclear industry on June 16 for a discussion centered on the future role of nuclear energy deployment and the challenges of portfolio management during a time of net-zero carbon goals.

Nebraska ponders advanced nuclear

May 13, 2021, 6:59AMNuclear News


Companies that build advanced nuclear reactors in Nebraska would be eligible for tax incentives should a measure now being considered by that state’s lawmakers, Legislative Bill 84, become law.

Under L.B. 84, sponsored by Sen. Bruce Bostelman (R., 23rd Dist.), a renewable energy firm that uses nuclear energy to produce electricity could take advantage of the ImagiNE Nebraska Act—a business tax incentive program signed into law by Gov. Pete Ricketts in August of last year. The bill adds “nuclear electric power generation” to the act’s list of renewable energy sources qualifying for incentives. (Sources already listed in the act include wind, solar, energy storage, geothermal, hydroelectric, biomass, and transmutation of elements.)

A microreactor at every rest stop?

October 26, 2020, 12:00PMNuclear News

The MiFi-DC as portrayed in a video released by Argonne.

Electrifying the nation’s trucking industry could reduce consumption of fossil-based diesel fuel, but it would also pose new challenges. A cross-country 18-wheel truck needs five to 10 times more electricity than an electric car to recharge its battery. Where will that electricity come from?

A team of engineers at Argonne National Laboratory has designed a microreactor called the MiFi-DC (for MicroFission Direct Current) that they say could be mass-produced and installed at highway rest stops to power a future fleet of electric 18-wheelers.

Nuclear News reached out to the MiFi-DC team to learn more. The team, led by Derek Kultgen, a principal engineer at Argonne who also leads the lab’s Mechanisms Engineering Test Loop, responded to questions by email. While they emphasized that much more needs to be done before the MiFi-DC could become a fixture at rest stops across the country, the information the team shared sheds some light on the process of designing a tiny reactor for a specific purpose.

Argonne microreactor designed to charge long-haul trucks of the future

October 8, 2020, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

A team of engineers in Argonne National Laboratory’s Nuclear Science and Engineering Division have designed a microreactor called MiFi-DC that could be factory-produced and installed at highway rest stops across the country to power a proposed fleet of electric trucks. The reactors are described in an article, Could Argonne’s mini nuclear reactor solve the e-truck recharging dilemma? and a video released by Argonne on October 6.

Pairing a liquid metal thermal reactor with a thermal energy storage system, each reactor could fuel an average of 17 trucks a day.

Entergy takes net-zero pledge, teams with Mitsubishi to decarbonize with hydrogen

October 2, 2020, 9:56AMNuclear News

Paul Browning, Mitsubishi Power, and Paul Hinnenkamp, Entergy, sign the joint agreement on September 23. Photo: Entergy

New Orleans–based Entergy Corporation last week announced a commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, joining a growing list of major energy companies to make that promise—including Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Southern Company, Xcel Energy, and Public Service Enterprise Group. And, like those companies, Entergy says that it sees nuclear playing an important role in the realization of that goal.

Can chemical heat pumps for integrated energy systems and industrial applications change the world?

August 28, 2020, 3:27PMNuclear NewsVivek Utgikar, Piyush Sabharwall, and Brian Fronk

Nuclear energy is faced with a number of challenges in a changing energy landscape, driven by the need to reduce carbon emissions to mitigate climate change. Renewable energy technologies are being considered as the solution to climate change and are increasingly being deployed across the world. However, renewable energy sources, particularly solar and wind, are highly variable, and deployment of these technologies has resulted in significant perturbances in the energy market, raising questions about grid stability and the adaptability of other sources to compete in a changing marketplace that prioritizes renewables. Nuclear plants, well suited for baseload operation, have demonstrated technical capability and flexibility to respond to the fluctuating demand; however, they have also discovered that the economics of such operating mode are not necessarily optimal to their financial security. On the other hand, despite contributing to the carbon emissions, the low cost of abundantly available natural gas and resultant low-cost electricity have exacerbated the economic pressure on nuclear technologies, raising questions about their survival and role in future energy systems1.