IAEA projects increase in nuclear’s growth for second year in a row

September 29, 2022, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The International Atomic Energy Agency, for the second successive year, has revised upward its annual projections of nuclear power’s potential growth over the coming decades as an electricity provider.

In the just-released 42nd edition of Energy, Electricity and Nuclear Power Estimates for the Period up to 2050, the IAEA has increased its high-case scenario for nuclear by 10 percent over last year’s report. (In 2021, the agency revised upward its annual projections for the first time since the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident.)

According to the high-case scenario, world nuclear generating capacity more than doubles to 873 GWe by 2050, compared with current levels of about 390 GWe—an addition of 81 GWe to last year’s projection. In the low-case scenario, generating capacity remains essentially flat.

Japanese PM wants more nuclear restarts, next-generation development

August 25, 2022, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Kishida

Having already declared last month his government’s intention to return to service as many as nine idled power reactors in order to ensure stable supplies of energy this winter, Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida yesterday called for additional restarts and endorsed the development and construction of next-generation nuclear plants, according to reports from various news outlets, including Nikkei Asia, the Washington Examiner, and the Los Angeles Times.

Kishida made the comments at the second meeting of Japan’s GX (Green Transformation) Implementation Council, a new group tasked with helping the country achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Why Japan’s response to Fukushima radiation failed while Utah’s response succeeded

August 18, 2022, 7:02AMNuclear NewsJames Conca

Aboveground atomic bomb test at the Nevada Test Site while troops look on. These clouds of material often wafted over to Utah during the 1950s. (Photo: NNSA)

In 1953, the United States detonated above­ground nuclear weapons during tests at the Nevada Test Site. In 2011, the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown occurred in Japan. Both events spread radioactive material over many miles and over population centers. Neither event resulted in any adverse health effects from that radiation.

But the response to the Fukushima event was disastrous because of the irrational and misinformed fear of radiation. That fear—not radiation—killed at least 1,600 people and destroyed the lives of at least another 200,000. That fear seriously harmed the entire economy of Japan, stopped cold the fishing industry and other agriculture in that area, and, overnight, reversed the country’s progress in addressing climate change.

The U.S. tests spread two to three times more radiation than did the events of Fukushima over the people of Utah, particularly the town of St. George. Like with Fukushima, no one was hurt, there was never any increase in cancer rates, and no one died as a result. But in Utah, the economy and people’s lives were unaffected. Why was there such a different result?

Germany’s nuclear decision: Hold the confetti for now

August 17, 2022, 3:03PMNuclear News
The Neckarwestheim nuclear power plant in Germany.

For the few members of the nuclear community who haven’t already been made aware, the Wall Street Journal yesterday published a story headlined “Germany to Keep Last Three Nuclear Power Plants Running in Policy U-Turn.” According to the WSJ, the German government plans to postpone retirement of the plants—all of which had been slated for closure by the end of 2022—fearing an inadequate energy supply this winter.

Japan-to-U.S. HEU transfer fulfills nonproliferation commitment

August 10, 2022, 3:02PMNuclear News
NNSA administrator Jill Hruby (right) and Ken Nakajima, director of the Institute for Integrated Radiation and Nuclear Science at Kyoto University, in the KUCA control room. (Photo: NNSA)

All high-enriched uranium has been removed from the Kyoto University Critical Assembly (KUCA), according to an announcement from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

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.

Earthquake hits off coast of Japan near Fukushima

March 17, 2022, 3:01PMNuclear News

A magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck off the east coast of Honshu, Japan, at 11:36 p.m. (local time) yesterday, resulting in significant ground shaking near the epicenter, much structural damage, at least four deaths, and a power outage affecting more than 2 million households, including some 700,000 in Tokyo. (According to Japanese utility Tepco, power was restored to all households by 2:52 a.m. on Thursday.)

Looking back at 2021—Nuclear News January through March

January 7, 2022, 10:35AMNuclear News

This is the second of five articles to be posted today to look back at the top news stories of 2021 for the nuclear community. The full article, "Looking back at 2021,"was published in the January 2022 issue of Nuclear News.

Quite a year was 2021. In the following stories, we have compiled what we feel are the past year’s top news stories from the January-March time frame—please enjoy this recap from a busy year in the nuclear community.

  • Click here to see the first article in the series.

How can operating nuclear plants challenge the status quo?

January 6, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News

Throughout the history of commercial nuclear power plant operations, there have been events that changed the industry. The incidents at Three Mile Island and Fukushima brought about great advancements in how nuclear plants are operated, including additional safety measures and supplemental training on how to prevent such events. Looking forward, the commercial nuclear industry is poised for a similar transformative change: one motivated by financial viability.

Unhappy new year: Germany closes three nuclear plants

January 4, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
E.ON subsidiary Preussen Elektra’s Grohnde nuclear plant, located near the town of Hameln in Lower Saxony, on the banks of the Weser River. (Wikimedia/Heinz-Josef Lücking)

Holding to its Fukushima-inspired policy of phasing out nuclear power, and ignoring pleas from a variety of clean energy advocates to reconsider, Germany has closed three of its remaining six operating nuclear power plants.

Advanced liquid waste processing systems: Safely processing Fukushima’s wastewater

March 19, 2021, 2:07PMUpdated December 28, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear NewsJohn Fabian
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station site. Image: Courtesy of TEPCO.

As 2021 closes, Nuclear News is taking a look back at some of the feature articles published each month in the magazine. March 2021 marked 10 years since the earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan and crippled the Fukushima nuclear station. This article from our March issue remains timely since various news outlets continue to report on the dangers of the Fukushima waste water without providing context to the Japanese plan to discharge the water. The March issue of Nuclear News also included a great review article from Lake Barrett outlining the current status of the decontamination and decommissioning going on at Fukushima.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) became a household name a decade ago as the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, center of the largest nuclear accident in a generation. Now in 2021, as a result of the continuous mitigation efforts, TEPCO is currently storing 1.2 million cubic meters of treated wastewater—and counting—in more than 1,000 large storage tanks on site. This wastewater has been in the spotlight for the past few years since current projections show that storage capacity will run out by 2022.

Spotlight On: The ANS Decommissioning and Environmental Sciences Division

October 28, 2021, 7:02AMRadwaste SolutionsANS

“A group of professionals having fun in the fields of decommissioning and environmental sciences for the nuclear industry.”

That’s how the ANS DESD describes itself on its website. The focus of this professional division is the development and use of skills and technologies needed for the optimal management of the end-­of-­life care (decommissioning, decontamination, and remediation), long-­term surveillance, and maintenance of nuclear installations, materials, facilities, and sites.

Pine forest helps safely disperse tritium at Savannah River Site

September 23, 2021, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
U.S. Forest Service employees Secunda Hughes (left) and Andrew Thompson inspect irrigation piping and sprinkler heads, part of a 62-acre pine plantation used to safely disperse tritium at the Savannah River Site.

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) is managing the release of tritiated water using a 62-acre plantation of pine trees and other natural resources to limit radioactively contaminated groundwater from reaching waterways on the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.

YouTube video: Facts are on nuclear’s side

April 28, 2021, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Author Joshua Goldstein, from the video "The Nuclear Option"

Climate activists rarely mention nuclear power as a tool in the battle against climate change, consumer reporter John Stossel comments during the video "The Nuclear Option" on his YouTube channel.

Company settles dispute with TVA over Watts Bar project

April 27, 2021, 12:04PMNuclear News
Watts Bar nuclear power plant in Tennessee

Construction and maintenance services firm Day & Zimmermann (D&Z) has paid $200,000 to resolve allegations that it submitted false claims to the Tennessee Valley Authority for services performed in connection with capital improvement projects at the Watts Bar nuclear plant, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee announced last week.

Dickman sheds light on Fukushima wastewater issue during CNBC interview

April 19, 2021, 9:29AMANS News

Dickman

Paul Dickman, former senior official with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission who served as the study director for the ANS Special Committee on the Fukushima Daiichi accident, discussed Japan’s plans to dispose of Fukushima wastewater during an appearance on CNBC’s Street Signs Asia with hosts Amanda Drury and Tanvir Gill on April 16.

Appearing on the show as an ANS spokesman, Dickman assured the hosts that there will be no negative environmental impact from releasing the advanced liquid waste processing system (ALPS)-treated water into the Pacific Ocean. “The Japanese government has done an extraordinary effort to mitigate any harm that would be from the release of this water,” Dickman said. “Frankly, they’ve diluted it to such an extent that it would hardly be detectable above background (radiation).”

Adding context to Japan’s (correct) decision to dispose of Fukushima wastewater

April 13, 2021, 6:28AMNuclear News
A current picture of the Fukushima nuclear power station with the more than 1,000 water storage tanks on site. Photo: Courtesy of TEPCO.

The Japanese government will soon announce the decision to dispose of stockpiled Fukushima wastewater into the Pacific Ocean, according to an AP News story published last Friday. The decision is years in the making and follows the guidelines from a panel of government-appointed experts named the Subcommittee on Handling of the ALPS-Treated Water (ALPS Subcommittee).

ASLB to hear argument against Point Beach license renewal

April 8, 2021, 3:27PMNuclear News
Point Beach Units 1 and 2. Photo: NRC

An atomic safety and licensing board has been established to address a hearing request filed on behalf of an antinuclear group regarding the subsequent license renewal (SLR) application for NextEra Energy’s Point Beach reactors, located near Two Rivers, Wis. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission published notice of the panel’s formation in the April 2 Federal Register.

Post-Fukushima safety enhancements

April 2, 2021, 2:47PMNuclear NewsLeah Parks, Carl Mazzola, Jim Xu, and Brent Gutierrez
A map of Japan highlighting the Fukushima prefecture.

March 11 will mark the 10-­year anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi event, when a 45-­foot tsunami, caused by the 9.0-­magnitude Great Tohoku Earthquake, significantly damaged the reactors at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. In response to this event, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission took actions to evaluate and mitigate beyond-­design-­basis events, including a new requirement for the staging of so-­called Flex equipment, as well as changes to containment venting and improvements to emergency preparedness. The U.S. Department of Energy also addressed beyond-­design-­basis events in its documented safety analyses.