Russia building protection over Zaporizhzhia spent fuel tanks, according to Russian news source

December 21, 2022, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe
This image from a video reportedly shows the start of installation of a protective covering over spent fuel storage tanks at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine. (Image: Telegram/Vladimir Rogov)

Russia has begun construction of protected covering at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, according to a December 17 report from Russian news outlet RT. The story has been picked up in the West by some news agencies but has not been widely circulated.

Vladimir Rogov, a Russian-appointed official in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, said, “Russia is constructing a protective dome over spent radioactive fuel stores at the [Zaporizhzhia] nuclear power plant as Ukrainian forces continue to target the facility.”

Zaporizhzhia the focus of Grossi interview

December 1, 2022, 3:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Grossi

The ongoing, tense situation surrounding the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine was the subject of a recent interview with International Atomic Energy Agency director general Rafael Mariano Grossi when he appeared on CBS's 60 Minutes program.

The Zaporizhzhia facility is in an area of Ukraine that became occupied by Russian forces in late February 2022. Though Ukrainian staff remain at the now mostly idle plant, artillery shells have repeatedly landed at and near the plant over the past several months, with Ukrainian officials—along with many Western media outlets—blaming Russia, while Russian officials and media blame Ukraine.

Action from the IAEA: Following months of negotiations with both sides, inspectors from the IAEA, led by Grossi, finally visited the site in late August and early September, and the agency has been monitoring the situation since then with an observation mission at the site. In the interview, which aired on November 20, Grossi did not attribute blame for the shelling to either side.

U.S. to assist Thailand, Philippines with nuclear energy plans

November 29, 2022, 3:10PMNuclear News
Philippine president Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and Vice President Harris meet in Manila on November 21. (Photo: Office of the Press Secretary, Republic of the Philippines)

During a recent weeklong trip to Southeast Asia aimed at bolstering U.S. economic and security ties in the region, Vice President Kamala Harris announced the launch of nuclear energy partnerships with Thailand and the Philippines.

Currently, neither country enjoys the benefits of nuclear power. Both rely primarily on some mix of petroleum, natural gas, and coal for their energy needs.

U.S., Japan team up for SMR deployment; first stop: Ghana

November 1, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
From left: U.S. undersecretary of state for arms control and international security Bonnie Jenkins; Japan’s state minister of economy, trade, and industry Fusae Ōta; Ghana’s deputy minister of Energy William Owuraku Aidoo; and U.S. assistant secretary for nuclear energy Kathryn Huff. (Photo: DOE Office of Nuclear Energy)

The United States and Japan have announced Winning an Edge Through Cooperation in Advanced Nuclear (WECAN)—a new agreement aimed at supporting the deployment of small modular reactors and other advanced reactor technologies in partner countries.

Bulletin article focuses on World Nuclear Industry Status Report

October 13, 2022, 7:02AMANS Nuclear Cafe

A picture of the state of the global nuclear energy industry has been painted in a recent article by Dawn Stover, a contributing editor at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Stover based her comments on The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2022 (WNISR), published on October 5. The report refers to itself as an “independent assessment of nuclear developments in the world” compiled by an international team.

What’s in the WNISR: In the report, 10 countries—China, Finland, France, Germany, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States—receive a focused analysis based on specific issues affecting their nuclear businesses. Other chapters deal with the statuses of Fukushima, decommissioning in general, potential newcomer countries to nuclear power, and small modular reactors. For the first time, the WNISR also contains a chapter on nuclear power and war.

SATER returns the Philippines to nuclear research and training

September 2, 2022, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe
The Philippine Research Reactor-1 building at the University of the Philippines. (Photo: PNRI)

The research reactor known as SATER (Subcritical Assembly for Training, Education, and Research), housed in at the Philippine Research Reactor-1 building at the University of the Philippines in Quezon City, has become operational. As recently reported by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the core of SATER was loaded with 44 fuel rods, bringing the Philippines its first operational nuclear reactor in 34 years. Through this event, the country has moved a big step closer to meeting the government’s goal of adding nuclear power to its energy resources. The reactor is expected to become fully operational by 2023.

IAEA’s Nuclear Security Training and Demonstration Centre nears completion

August 22, 2022, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Construction of the IAEA’s international training center for nuclear security is expected to be completed by the end of this year. (Photo: C. Daniels/IAEA)

Construction of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s new Nuclear Security Training and Demonstration Centre (NSTDC) is nearing completion in the town of Seibersdorf, Austria, near the capital city of Vienna. The IAEA expects construction to be finished by the end of the year, allowing for the facility to open and be operational by late 2023.

Accusations and dire warnings swirl over Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

August 15, 2022, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Rafael Mariano Grossi, the IAEA's director general, addresses the UN Security Council via video link on August 11. (Photo: IAEA)

Contradictory accusations concerning the artillery shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in war-torn Ukraine continue to be made by the Ukrainians and Russians. Both sides have acknowledged several hits on the facility, including 10 artillery strikes on the plant’s administrative office and fire station on August 11. As the two countries blame each other for the attacks, independent authorities have been unable to verify the opposing claims.

Meanwhile, at a meeting of the UN Security Council, Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, warned that the situation was in “a serious hour, a grave hour.” UN secretary general António Guterres added that it could “lead to disaster.”

Safety concerns grow regarding Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

August 5, 2022, 6:50AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Concerns regarding the safety and security of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in war-torn Ukraine have been heightened in recent weeks, with reports of Russian forces using the gigantic facility as a cover from which to launch artillery attacks on Ukrainian forces. On Tuesday, Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, appealed to both Ukraine and Russia to allow IAEA inspectors to visit the plant to examine its condition, make any necessary repairs, and ensure that its nuclear material is being appropriately safeguarded. Grossi said that the situation at Europe’s largest nuclear plant, in which, according to various reports, either two or three of six reactors are currently operating, is “completely out of control” and that the plant’s equipment supply chain has been interrupted.

Iran’s use of advanced enrichment centrifuges raises concerns

July 12, 2022, 9:31AMANS Nuclear Cafe
The Fordow fuel enrichment site in Iran. (Source: MDAA)

Iran has begun enriching uranium to a purity level of 20 percent using advanced IR-6 centrifuges at its Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant, a pilot facility located underground near the city of Qom. The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran made the public announcement on June 10, although it reported the news to the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency two weeks before, according to NBC News.

IAEA invites nuclear security students to apply for MSCFP internships

June 2, 2022, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s Division of Nuclear Security is inviting female students who are enrolled in master’s programs in nuclear security to apply for internships in the IAEA Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme (MSCFP). The MSCFP, launched in February 2020, has the objective of increasing the number of women in the nuclear field.

Grossi highlights the importance of nuclear energy at World Economic Forum

May 31, 2022, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe
Rafael Mariano Grossi speaks on a panel at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. (Photo: WEF)

Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has authored an article for the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting held last week in Davos, Switzerland.

IAEA report moves Uganda closer to nuclear power

May 24, 2022, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe
The flag of Uganda.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has delivered its report on Uganda’s infrastructure development for a nuclear power program to that country’s government, according to ESI Africa. The online power and energy journal states that the energy demand in the country (population: 43 million) has ballooned in recent years as the nation’s economy has expanded.

IAEA webinar notes that best-paying clean energy jobs are in nuclear

April 22, 2022, 6:59AMANS Nuclear Cafe

In the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, the highest-paying jobs will continue to be in the nuclear power industry, which provides significant and sustainable employment that benefits local and regional economies. That observation was made during a recent webinar sponsored by the International Atomic Energy Agency titled “Investing in Low Carbon Technologies: Job Creation for Just Energy Transitions.”

Representatives from the clean energy industry discussed how rising living standards and job creation around the world can be ensured as energy investments align to meet climate goals.

IAEA completes safety review of South Africa’s Koeberg nuclear plant

April 4, 2022, 7:13AMNuclear News
The Koeberg nuclear power plant, near Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo: Eskom)

An International Atomic Energy Agency team of experts has completed its review of the long-term operational safety of South Africa’s Koeberg nuclear power plant, which is operated by the public utility Eskom.

Time is running out on our opportunity to seize a better future for nuclear

March 3, 2022, 12:04PMNuclear NewsSama Bilbao y León

Sama Bilbao y León is director general of the World Nuclear Association.

The global nuclear sector is at a crucial point. The future of nuclear power looks brighter than it has in many years, but it is up to us to capitalize on the current momentum and make the most of this opportunity.

We have recently seen new proposals and policy announcements from companies and governments around the world indicating a growing recognition of the essential role nuclear energy must play in the future.

Humanity has less than 30 years to reach net zero. Nuclear energy offers a golden opportunity to build a cleaner, more equitable world in which everyone has access to clean, abundant, affordable energy and a high quality of life.


U.S. lawmakers back regional fuel bank for Middle Eastern nations

February 16, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

Graham

Menendez

Sens. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) have introduced a resolution calling for the U.S. government to adopt a policy that would permit any Middle Eastern state access to nuclear fuel via a regional fuel bank, provided it agrees to abstain from uranium enrichment and reprocessing.

Modeled on the International Atomic Energy Agency’s nuclear fuel bank in Kazakhstan, the proposed regional fuel bank would allow the commercial development of nuclear power throughout the Middle East while at the same time eliminating the need for dangerous and destabilizing domestic nuclear programs, according to a February 11 press release from the legislators.

NRC's OIG investigates presence of counterfeit parts at U.S. nuclear plants

February 15, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

Counterfeit, fraudulent, and suspect items (CFSI) are present in U.S. operating nuclear power plants, potentially increasing safety risks, a “special inquiry” report released last Thursday from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Office of the Inspector General has concluded. The term “CFSI” can refer to parts that have been intentionally altered to imitate a legitimate product or those that have been misrepresented with intent to deceive, as well as parts that merely fail to meet intended product specifications.

The OIG initiated the report to look into allegations that CFSI are present in most, if not all, U.S. nuclear plants, that the NRC has lowered its CFSI oversight standards, and that the agency has failed to address CFSI concerns.

NRC names new director for operations

October 5, 2021, 2:40PMNuclear News

Dorman

Daniel H. Dorman has been chosen as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s next executive director for operations, effective October 10. He succeeds Margaret M. Doane, who leaves the agency October 8 to take a senior position with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Dorman currently serves as the NRC’s deputy executive director for reactor and preparedness programs, which includes oversight of all four of the agency’s regional offices.

“Dan has admirably served the NRC for more than 30 years in key leadership positions,” said NRC chairman Christopher T. Hanson. “He is someone who keenly understands the needs of our agency and our people. Dan is a problem solver, a champion for agency modernization and innovation, and has proven through results his ability to rally our staff for a common purpose. He has earned the respect of our workforce, the NRC leadership, and the agency’s diverse stakeholders.”

Washington and Seoul to cooperate on overseas projects, nonproliferation

May 25, 2021, 3:02PMNuclear News

Biden

Moon

The United States and South Korea have agreed to “develop cooperation in overseas nuclear markets, including joint participation in nuclear power plant projects, while ensuring the highest standards of international nuclear safety, security, and nonproliferation are maintained,” according to a statement from the White House on last week’s Washington meeting between President Joe Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

As part of that agreement, South Korea will adopt a common policy with the United States requiring recipient countries to have a safeguards agreement “Additional Protocol” in place as a condition of doing nuclear-related business. (The Additional Protocol is an expanded set of requirements for information and access to assist the International Atomic Energy Agency in its work to confirm that states are using nuclear material solely for peaceful purposes.)