TerraPower has a design for a sodium-cooled fast reactor and federal cost-shared demonstration funding from the Department of Energy. Its partner, PacifiCorp, has four operating coal-fired power plants in the state of Wyoming. On June 2, together with Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon and others, the companies announced plans to site a Natrium reactor demonstration project at a retiring coal plant in Wyoming, with a specific site to be announced by the end of 2021.
The American Nuclear Society joined seven other prominent nuclear organizations in submitting a letter to energy secretary Jennifer Granholm requesting that the Department of Energy establish an office dedicated to developing and managing an integrated nuclear waste storage, transportation, and disposal program. The letter asks that the new office report directly to the energy secretary.
Specifically, the office would do the following:
- Provide a focal point for work on spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste.
- Facilitate necessary engagement with external stakeholders.
- Demonstrate an intent and commitment to take meaningful action.
In a letter written to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R., Wash.) has urged the Department of Energy to maintain its 2019 interpretation of high-level radioactive waste. Newhouse was responding to a letter sent to Granholm by several special interest groups and state leaders asking that the DOE immediately rescind the HLW interpretation.
That special interests/state leaders letter, sent on February 26—one day after Granholm was confirmed as energy secretary—was signed by Washington attorney general Bob Ferguson, Washington State director of ecology Laura Watson, and Phil Rigdon of the Yakama Nation, along with representatives from Natural Resources Defense Council, Hanford Challenge, and Columbia Riverkeeper. The letter said, in part, “We look forward to working with you on the Department’s cleanup of legacy nuclear waste at sites such as the Hanford Nuclear Reservation located near Tri-Cities, Washington. Washington houses 60 percent of the nation’s High-Level Radioactive Waste with 56 million gallons stored in 177 underground storage tanks at Hanford."
U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm gave her first international address as part of the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue 2021 conference, held on March 16 and 17. Granholm started her speech by stating that “America is back,” putting climate change policies front and center as part of the Biden administration’s agenda. She said that President Biden has set ambitious goals for climate policies that will set the United States on “an irreversible path toward net zero carbon emissions by 2050.”
Granholm’s message: Granholm focused her talk on renewable energy investment and she discussed how the United States is dedicated to working with the rest of the world to cut emissions to get to net-zero. She touched on assorted topics, including investing in renewables, creating a resilient grid, installing hundreds of miles of new transmission lines to reach new renewable energy sources, improving carbon removal from current fossil fuels, promoting hydrogen production, researching next-generation battery storage, and realizing the potential massive economic boom that could come with all this investment by the U.S. Department of Energy.
There was one glaring omission from that list: Nuclear.
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on Wednesday during the CERAWeek energy conference commented that Texas should look beyond its borders to join other grids following last month's winter storm that left millions without power, according to an article from The Hill.
“It would be great for Texas to consider connecting ... to its neighbors,” she said. “I understand the go-it-alone sort of ethos, but there’s also an ethos of helping your neighbor too and I think connecting could benefit Texas in times of emergency, but it could also benefit Texas and the rest of the country in good times when Texas is generating all sorts of clean energy."
Jennifer Granholm, President Joe Biden’s nominee for energy secretary, told a Congressional panel that the administration disapproves of Yucca Mountain as the country’s nuclear waste repository, preferring a consent-based strategy as proposed by President Barack Obama’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future.
“The administration opposes the use of Yucca Mountain for the storage of nuclear waste,” Granholm told Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D., Nev.), during a confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on January 27.
Granholm, a Democrat, served two terms as Michigan governor from 2003 to 2011. According to reports, Granholm was twice considered a candidate to be energy secretary under President Obama, but ultimately was not picked.