U.S.-Mexico civil nuclear pact enters into force

November 9, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News
Mexico's Laguna Verde nuclear power plant, on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico in the state of Veracruz.

An agreement between the United States and Mexico on civil nuclear cooperation has entered into force, the U.S. State Department announced last week. While first proposed in 2016 and finalized and signed in 2018, the pact only received approval from the Mexican Senate this March.

Mexico’s Laguna Verde-2 receives 30-year life extension

September 1, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News
The Laguna Verde nuclear power plant. (Photo: HFStudio)

Unit 2 at Mexico’s Laguna Verde nuclear plant has been given the go-ahead to operate into the 2050s, plant owner and operator Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) announced last week.

Mexico’s secretary of energy, Norma Rocío Nahle García, approved a 30-year extension to the unit’s operating license on August 25, following a review by the country’s National Commission for Nuclear Safety and Safeguards. The reactor, one of two at the plant, is now authorized to run until April 10, 2055.

NRC to issue rule certifying NuScale design

August 1, 2022, 12:23PMNuclear News
An artist's rendering of the NuScale plant. (Image: NuScale Power)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has directed its staff to issue a final rule certifying NuScale Power’s small modular reactor design for use in the United States, the agency announced last Friday.

Certification of the Portland, Ore.–based SMR developer’s design will become effective 30 days after publication of the rule in the Federal Register. The design will be incorporated as Appendix G to 10 CFR Part 52, Licenses, Certifications, and Approvals for Nuclear Power Plants.

The origins of The Reactor Safety Study

September 10, 2021, 8:22AMUpdated December 31, 2021, 7:15AMNuclear NewsThomas R. Wellock
An aerial view of the Hanford reservation and Columbia River that shows the N (nearest), KE/KW (center), and B (top right) reactors. (Photo: U.S. DOE )

In March 1972, Stephen Hanauer, a technical advisor with the Atomic Energy Commission, met with Norman Rasmussen, a nuclear engineering professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The AEC had recruited Rasmussen to develop a report, The Reactor Safety Study (WASH-1400), to estimate the probabilities and consequences of a major nuclear power plant accident. With thousands of safety components in a modern reactor, the task was mind-boggling. Rasmussen proposed a novel approach based on more powerful computers, “fault tree” methodology, and an expanding body of operational data. By calculating and aggregating probabilities for innumerable failure chains of components, he believed he could develop a meaningful estimate of overall accident risk. WASH-1400 would be a first-of-its-kind probabilistic risk assessment (PRA).

First complete accident tolerant fuel assembly in operation at Calvert Cliffs

November 9, 2021, 3:32PMNuclear News
Framatome’s PROtect accident tolerant fuel assembly undergoes final inspection before delivery to Exelon’s Calvert Cliffs-2 in Lusby, Md.

The nuclear industry’s first 100 percent accident tolerant fuel assembly is in operation at Exelon Generation’s Calvert Cliffs plant, the Department of Energy announced yesterday. The advanced fuel will operate in the reactor for the next four to six years and will be routinely inspected to monitor its performance, the DOE said.

Located in Lusby, Md., Calvert Cliffs houses two pressurized water reactors. Unit 1 is rated at 907 Mwe, and Unit 2 at 881 Mwe.

Framatome declares ATF test at Vogtle a success

February 8, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear News

The $111.2 million in financial assistance awarded by the Department of Energy in late 2018 to nuclear fuel developers Framatome, General Electric, and Westinghouse for the development of accident tolerant fuel has yielded some encouraging results.

Framatome reports that the first 18-month fuel cycle test of its GAIA Enhanced Accident Tolerant Fuel (EATF) technology, conducted at Southern Nuclear’s Vogtle-2, has “demonstrated expected results and excellent performance.”

And last month, Westinghouse announced that the topical report on its Advanced Doped Pellet Technology fuel has been accepted for review by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, calling the decision “a major achievement for the advanced fuel portfolio Westinghouse is developing.”

Fuel innovation: Powering nuclear modernization

January 18, 2021, 9:35AMNuclear NewsBen Holtzman

Today’s U.S. commercial nuclear power plants are fueled with uranium dioxide pressed into cylindrical ceramic pellets—and have been for decades. These pellets are stacked inside long fuel rods made of a zirconium alloy cladding. Innovation in nuclear fuel, however, can improve safety, reduce operating costs, and further enable the development of a new generation of non-light-water reactors.

Rosatom, Framatome, and GE partner on proposed Bulgarian nuclear plant

June 22, 2020, 11:38AMNuclear News

Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned atomic energy corporation, announced on June 18 that it has teamed up with France’s Framatome and General Electric’s GE Steam Power to participate in a tender to construct the Belene nuclear plant in northern Bulgaria. The Belene project would involve the construction of two AES-92 units, similar to the reactors that Rosatom supplied to India.