A team of researchers led by Purdue University has used X-ray imaging conducted at Argonne National Laboratory’s Advanced Photon Source to obtain a three-dimensional view of the interior of an irradiated nuclear fuel sample. The use of synchrotron micro-computed tomography could lead to more accurate modeling of fuel behavior and more efficient nuclear fuel designs, according to the researchers.
January 22, 2021, 9:32AMNuclear News
January 8, 2021, 3:10PMNuclear News
Rita Baranwal, the Department of Energy’s assistant secretary for the Office of Nuclear Energy, announced today via Twitter that she will be leaving her position at the end of the day. “It has been an absolute honor to serve in this capacity to help advance our U.S. nuclear energy R&D,” she tweeted. “I plan to continue to use my talents to promote, lead, and advance our nation’s largest source of clean energy so that our nation and my family will have a cleaner and more sustainable planet to protect.”
Baranwal previously directed the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative at Idaho National Laboratory. Before joining the DOE, Baranwal served as director of technology development and application at Westinghouse. She is a Fellow of the American Nuclear Society.
December 11, 2020, 6:58AMNuclear News
As a result of last month’s power uprate announcement from NuScale Power regarding its small modular reactor—a 25 percent increase to 77 MWe—the company has now announced updated evaluations for the technical feasibility and economics of producing hydrogen using heat and electricity from its SMR, the NuScale Power Module (NPM).
Advanced reactor demonstration projects on the horizon will challenge the nuclear supply chain in new ways. A vital component that can be east to overlook is the need for skilled construction, trades, and craft workers. That's why Idaho National Laboratory is forging valuable networks to address these needs.
December 4, 2020, 2:01PMNuclear News
Around the world, researchers in the energy industry are engaging in the work of studying, testing, and developing carbon-free energy solutions. Throughout these circles, many scientists and engineers are embracing the possibilities of advanced nuclear technologies, including small modular reactors and microreactors. While these innovative technologies are poised to address some of the nation’s biggest concerns, they also present their own unique challenges, including the need for a large and talented workforce within the construction industry.
Fortunately, the state of Idaho and its key nuclear players are well-equipped for this challenge. In southeastern Idaho, home of Idaho National Laboratory, strong partnerships throughout the region have forged networks between the lab and the educational institutions, employers, trades, and unions that are working to establish this highly specialized nuclear talent pipeline.
November 12, 2020, 9:39AMNuclear News
BWX Technologies Inc. announced on November 10 that its BWXT Nuclear Operations Group Inc. (BWXT NOG) subsidiary has completed its TRISO nuclear fuel line restart project and is actively producing fuel at its Lynchburg, Va., facility.
With the restart, BWXT now manufactures fuel across four commercial and government business lines, the company said. In addition to the TRISO line, BWXT operates fuel production lines at BWXT Nuclear Energy Canada, manufacturer of approximately half of the fuel powering the commercial reactor fleet in Ontario, Canada; BWXT subsidiary Nuclear Fuel Services, sole provider of nuclear fuel for the U.S. Navy; and BWXT’s Uranium Processing and Research Reactors operation, the only North American supplier of research reactor fuel elements for colleges, universities, and national laboratories.
Digital engineering, which uses advanced technologies to capture data and optimize design in a digital environment, is being applied for the first time to a DOE nuclear project and has already realized substantial benefits.
July 2, 2020, 4:13PMNuclear News
With a new generation of nuclear reactors in the works, Idaho National Laboratory has embraced digital engineering (DE) as a means of achieving the same efficiencies that companies in the private sector have been able to realize in everything from concert halls to aircraft engines.
DE—using advanced technologies to capture data and craft design in a digitized environment—has been evolving since the 1990s. For Mortenson Construction, a worldwide construction firm, using virtual design and construction resulted in a cumulative 600 days saved over 416 projects and a 25 percent increase in productivity. By building digital twins for assets, systems, and processes, DE has avoided more than $1.05 billion in customer, production, and mechanical losses.
Leaders at INL recognized in 2018 that DE could be useful in the design and construction of new commercial and test reactors. Managing construction costs, timing, and performance will be essential to maintain U.S. competitiveness.
June 2, 2020, 12:14PMNuclear News
Gender Champions in Nuclear Policy (GCNP), launched in November 2018, has released a report on the progress made during its inaugural year toward its goal of achieving gender equity in the nuclear policy field. According to a May 28 announcement, the group has had “mostly positive results.”
December 19, 2019, 5:29PMANS Nuclear Cafe
In the not-so-distant 20th century past, our planet was in an uncertain new-world order. The second of two major wars had dramatically reshaped the landscape of the world's nations. It was not by any means assured that the extraordinary nuclear process of fission, which itself had been discovered mere years before the second war's end, would be successfully utilized for anything but the tremendous and frightening powers realized in thermonuclear warheads. In the years following, a humble project materializing out of the National Reactor Testing Station in Idaho was to challenge that assertion and demonstrate that nuclear fission could indeed be a commercial, peaceful source of electrical power for civilizations around the globe.
December 20, 2018, 5:02PMANS Nuclear Cafe
December 20, 1951 marks an important date in the history of nuclear power; it's the date on which the first useful electric power was generated by atomic fission. While the now-famous event at that time only powered four light bulbs, the somewhat stunt-like nature of the day obscured the fact that the plant was actually set up to generate considerably more power, and did so. Let's take a look at this fact and, at the same time, the facility through illustrations from my collection and from photographs that I took myself while touring EBR-1 earlier this year.
November 8, 2016, 10:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe
The history and lore surrounding the dozens of reactors constructed and operated at the Idaho National Laboratory could fill a book - and has filled at least one whole book and parts of many others. Today, at the American Nuclear Society's 2016 Winter Meeting a unique presentation was given in the early afternoon by Harold McFarlane, who retired after 44 years working with Argonne National Laboratory (which operated a number of the reactors built in Idaho.)
November 8, 2016, 2:41AMANS Nuclear Cafe
"How do we move nuclear energy into the future?" was the question asked and answered in a variety of ways during a fascinating speakers' session that followed this morning's opening plenary. Several expert speakers in a variety of fields provided frank and illuminating commentary on the condition of nuclear now, and on the things that have to change for nuclear energy to be vibrant in the decades to come.
June 19, 2015, 6:08PMANS Nuclear Cafe
The versatile, powerful and unique ATR (Advanced Test Reactor) at Idaho National Laboratory is featured in this video describing it, the history of materials testing reactors that led up to it, and the uses for this amazing facility. Fuel handling and storage are also shown and described.
March 21, 2014, 6:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe
November 5, 2013, 4:57PMANS Nuclear Cafe
From October 30 through November 1, 2013, a group of about 150 people with questioning attitudes about small, modular reactors (SMRs) met in Idaho Falls, Idaho. They were treated to a number of presentations that described the technical progress that has been made so far and also provided a realistic, sobering look at the long, challenging development path that must be traversed to allow the technology to begin contributing to the world's energy security.
March 7, 2013, 2:45PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Don Miley, tour guide at Idaho National Laboratory, takes viewers of this video on a trip to the Experimental Breeder Reactor I (EBR-I). In 1951, the first electricity from nuclear power was generated at EBR-I-using a reactor that actually bred more fuel than it consumed, using an all-plutonium core.
January 18, 2013, 5:18PMANS Nuclear Cafe