Destruction of Ukrainian dam threatens Zaporizhzhia

June 6, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News

A Soviet-era dam downstream from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine collapsed last evening, causing the water level of the Kakhovka Reservoir north of the dam to drop and raising new concerns over the already jeopardized safety of the Russian-occupied nuclear facility, Europe’s largest. The reservoir supplies water for, among other things, Zaporizhzhia’s cooling systems.

Statement from the American Nuclear Society on Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant following dam breach

June 6, 2023, 10:02AMPress Releases

Washington, D.C. — The American Nuclear Society Rapid Response Taskforce is monitoring the impact of the breach of the Nova Kakhovka dam on the upstream Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine.

Based on the best available information we believe there is enough water at Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to cool its six shutdown reactors, even if the downstream Nova Kakhovka dam is breached and the adjacent reservoir is drained.

IAEA and IsDB collaborate to increase cancer care

May 11, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News
The IAEA is helping expand the use of nuclear medicine to control cancer in developing nations. (Photo: P.Pavlicek/IAEA)

With funding from the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the International Atomic Energy Agency is working to help developing countries scale up their cancer care capacities in radiotherapy, the agency said. A multilateral development bank, IsDB works to improve lives by promoting social and economic development in 57 member states and Muslim communities around the world.

Savannah River lab qualified to provide safeguards reference materials to IAEA

May 3, 2023, 12:03PMNuclear News

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s Department of Safeguards recently qualified Savannah River National Laboratory to produce microparticle reference materials that can be used to evaluate measurement quality in support of the Network of Analytical Laboratories (NWAL) and the IAEA’s verification mission. SRNL announced the development on April 25.

Olsen: ANS scholarships provide stepping stone to career goals

April 25, 2023, 12:08PMANS News
Olsen was part of the IAEA team that inspected the Rivne nuclear power plant in Ukraine last year. (Photo: IAEA)

Student members are the future of the American Nuclear Society, and ANS believes in the importance of supporting students those who have shown academic, service, and leadership excellence as they navigate their early careers. Robert Olsen, now a nuclear security officer with the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria, was one such beneficiary.

IAEA issues report on nuclear safety and security in Ukraine

February 24, 2023, 6:16AMANS Nuclear Cafe
The IAEA team of of nuclear safety, security, and safeguards experts inspecting damage last year at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. (Photo: Dean Calma/IAEA)

As the war in Ukraine enters its second year, the International Atomic Energy Agency has released Nuclear Safety, Security and Safeguards in Ukraine, an overview of the conflict’s impact on the beleaguered nation’s nuclear facilities and of the agency’s actions to lessen the likelihood of a nuclear accident.

Social media “takeover” helps OSU cover IAEA Nuclear Power Ministerial

February 10, 2023, 11:59AMNuclear News
The student social media ambassadors at the IAEA Nuclear Power Ministerial in October 2022 (left to right): Sam Dotson from the University of Illinois, Madison Gitzen from Pennsylvania State University, Peter Hotvedt from the University of Michigan, Jillian Newmyer from Oregon State University, Brienna Johnson from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and Pearle Lipinski from Ohio State University.

Pearle Lipinski is a nuclear engineering Ph.D. student in Ohio State University’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE). In October 2022, at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s fifth International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century (also known as the Nuclear Power Ministerial, or NPM), she acted as a student social media ambassador, where she was a “huge success in getting the word out,” according to Lei Raymond Cao, director of the OSU nuclear engineering program.

IAEA support teams sent to bolster Ukrainian power plants

January 18, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
The Rivne nuclear power plant in western Ukraine, home to four VVER pressurized water reactors. (Photo: Victor Korniyenko/Wikipedia)

In what it is calling a “major expansion” of its efforts to prevent a severe nuclear accident befalling Ukraine, the International Atomic Energy Agency yesterday announced that it is deploying teams of nuclear security and safety experts this week to the beleaguered nation’s nuclear power plants and the Chernobyl site. (The agency has already stationed a team of experts at Ukraine’s largest nuclear facility, the six-unit Zaporizhzhia plant, which has been under Russian military occupation since last March.)

It’s amazing all the things nuclear can do

January 3, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear NewsSteven Arndt

Steven Arndt

It has always amazed me how broad and diverse the nuclear science and technology field is. It is one of the things that drew me to the nuclear business in the first place. The American Nuclear Society, with its eighteen technical divisions, embraces this diversity from accelerator applications and space nuclear to isotopes and robotics. We are truly a disparate group of engineers and scientists. Based on this, I guess I should not be surprised by the renewed interest we are seeing in uses of nuclear energy beyond the generation of electricity. In recent years, engineers and scientists from all around the world have focused on reducing the impact of electric energy generation on the environment and on finding ways to also reduce the impact of other industrial processes. What I have been seeing—including at COP27—is a renewed interest in nuclear power not only for electric generation but also for its unique capabilities in a diverse set of applications. To name only a few, I have seen strong interest in desalinization, hydrogen generation, process heat, and district heat.

The male business of nuclear diplomacy

November 30, 2022, 9:30AMANS Nuclear CafeMaria Rentetzi

Maria Rentetzi

An unusual event during the recent General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency distracted the delegations of member states and the press from the Russian war in Ukraine and the fear of the next nuclear disaster. It was a small exhibition, Building the IAEA Headquarters and its Laboratories, at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, which brought to life the history of the agency’s laboratories through photographs, original letters and documents, explanatory texts, and timetables.

I was invited to participate in a related panel discussion that shed light on the early days of the “world’s first full-fledged laboratory of a truly international character” (in the words of an article about Seibersdorf Laboratory that ran in the January 1962 edition of the IAEA Bulletin) and its role in science diplomacy. There, I spoke of something that had struck me: Women were totally missing from the agency during this early period—making nuclear diplomacy an exclusively male business. To a large extent (as, for example, the recent IAEA missions to Ukraine show) nuclear continues to be a gendered endeavor.

Nuclear: Building enthusiasm at COP27

November 22, 2022, 12:05PMNuclear News
Energy secretary Jennifer Granholm (in purple blazer) and the ANS-sponsored delegates pose in front of the Nuclear for Climate booth at COP27.

Nuclear energy is no longer on the fringes of the international climate conversation. At COP27, the United Nations climate change conference held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, from November 6 to 18, pronuclear advocates were everywhere—and they were talking to everyone. They populated the International Atomic Energy Agency’s #Atoms4Climate pavilion, the first-ever nuclear pavilion in the 27-year history of the negotiations. Echoing such strong representation, the final statement issued by the conference used language that included nuclear power.

Impressions from the IAEA General Conference

November 16, 2022, 9:30AMANS NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy

There are worse places to be than Vienna, Austria, in the early fall. The place has an old-world vibe for sure. The U-Bahn doesn’t have turnstiles; it runs on the honor system. People take care to dress up before they amble down the Kärntner Strasse, the city’s main shopping district.

Every September, a little further north, 3,000 delegates from around the world, along with 200 representatives from nongovernmental organizations, descend on the Vienna International Center of the United Nations—the VIC, for short—for the International Atomic Energy Agency’s General Conference. Attendees ply its curving hallways and attend side events, engage in meetings on the margins, and tour the national booth displays.

Inside the large, purpose-built plenary hall, a seemingly endless procession of national speakers, each allotted seven minutes (with flashing red digits to let all know who’s run over time), tout their nation’s achievements in nuclear technology and express its views on nuclear matters of any sort. As an accredited NGO, ANS has a desk in the plenary complete with microphone and wireless translation headset. An IAEA plenary is a highly scripted affair—one that looks boring at first glance, but once you put the headphones on and get acclimated to the vagaries of real-time translation, a coherent and interesting picture starts to emerge.

Exporting American nuclear excellence

November 15, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear NewsSteven Arndt

Steven Arndt

As I write, I am reflecting on my time at the International Atomic Energy Agency General Conference, held in Vienna during the last week of September. At the GC, I was able to meet with a number of U.S. companies that are actively doing business overseas, as well as a number of representatives from countries throughout the world that are using nuclear technology or hoping to do so. This experience—coupled with several other opportunities I have had since becoming ANS president to discuss the nuclear industry’s challenges and opportunities at national and international forums—has led me to conclude that despite the challenges our country faces, the world is still very interested in what the United States is doing in nuclear. What struck me in each of these interactions is the thirst for information about what the U.S. is doing—and what we can do for them. I think the reason for this is the enduring excellence the U.S. has always brought to the nuclear industry.

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.

Seeds in space: IAEA/FAO experiment goes the distance for better crops on earth

November 8, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket, with the Cygnus spacecraft Sally Ride aboard (so named for first American woman to fly in space), launched at 5:32 a.m. EST on November 7, from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The rocket is captured just after liftoff in this still image from NASA’s live broadcast of the event.

Seeds from the joint laboratories of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) are onboard a Cygnus spacecraft launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia early on November 7. Now orbiting the Earth en route to the International Space Station, the seeds are part of a commercial resupply mission with a payload that includes resources to support more than 250 scientific investigations.

“There’s going to be a cliff”: Preparing an international SMR supply chain

November 3, 2022, 12:32PMNuclear News
Participating in the forum were (from left) John Hopkins (NuScale Power), Renaud Crassous (EDF), Daniel Poneman (Centrus Energy), Adriana Cristina Serquis (CNEA), and Boris Schucht (Urenco).

The nuclear industry leaders assembled in Washington, D.C., last week to discuss small modular reactor supply chains agreed that lost generation capacity from the expected retirement of hundreds or thousands of coal power plants over the next decade—a cliff, in one panelist’s words—represents an opportunity that developers of SMRs and advanced reactors are competing to meet.

“I think in total 80 projects are ongoing,” said Boris Schucht, panel moderator and chief executive officer of Urenco Group, as he opened the forum. “Of course not all of them will win, and we will discuss today what is needed so that they can be successful.”

Now out from IAEA: 2022 Country Nuclear Power Profiles report

October 25, 2022, 8:43AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The International Atomic Energy Agency has released this year’s edition of Country Nuclear Power Profiles (CNPP), an annual report providing background information on the status and development of IAEA member states’ nuclear power programs. It contains historical information for 50 countries, including 30 with operating plants and 20 with past or planned programs.

After six decades of IAEA research, NN revisits one scientist’s take on the agency’s early years

October 13, 2022, 3:05PMNuclear News
G. Robert Keepin, of Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, author of a three-part feature on the IAEA published in Nuclear News in January, February, and March of 1966; the cover of the January 1966 issue, featuring the IAEA’s first headquarters in the Grand Hotel of Vienna, Austria; and a February 1966 IAEA photo of remote handling of radioisotope standard sources at the Seibersdorf laboratory.

A groundbreaking ceremony held last week at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s laboratories in Seibersdorf, Austria, marked the start of construction on a nuclear applications building that will host three state-of-the-art laboratories: Plant Breeding and Genetics, Terrestrial Environment and Radiochemistry, and Nuclear Science and Instrumentation.It was a significant achievement for the second phase of the Renovation of the Nuclear Applications Laboratories initiative, known as ReNuAL2—and a fitting way to observe the 60th anniversary of the nuclear applications laboratories at Seibersdorf, about an hour’s drive south the IAEA’s headquarters in Vienna. For Nuclear Newswire, it was all the reason we needed to dig into the Nuclear News archives and explore the bygone days of research at the IAEA.

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.

IAEA demands Russian exit from Zaporizhzhia

September 16, 2022, 9:29AMNuclear News
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s board of governors has adopted a resolution calling for an immediate end to the Russian occupation of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. According to a report from Reuters, the 35-member board voted 26–2 yesterday in favor of the resolution, with seven abstentions. The two “no” votes were cast, unsurprisingly, by Russia and China, while abstentions came from Burundi, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Senegal, South Africa, and Vietnam.