Special ANS event: “Past DOE Nuclear Energy Officials Roundtable”

May 17, 2024, 12:00PMANS News

The American Nuclear Society is hosting a special online panel discussion featuring former officials from the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy. The event, “Past DOE Nuclear Energy Officials Roundtable,” will be held on Monday, May 20, from 11:00 to 12:00 p.m. (EDT).

ANS is holding the webinar in honor of Peter Lyons (1943-2021), an ANS Fellow who also was served as assistant secretary of energy for the Office of Nuclear Energy from 2011 to 2015.

Register Now: The event is complimentary and open only to ANS members. Registration will also give you access to a video recording of the panel discussion.

Kathryn Huff stepping down from DOE Nuclear Energy post

April 15, 2024, 3:04PMNuclear News


After serving two years as the Department of Energy’s assistant secretary for Nuclear Energy, Kathryn Huff will vacate that position on May 3 and return to teaching. Huff had started at the DOE in May 2021, serving for one year as the principal deputy assistant secretary for Nuclear Energy.

“Serving in this capacity has been an unparalleled privilege, and I’m immensely grateful for the opportunity to have worked alongside you--the dedicated and talented public servants in Nuclear Energy, in DOE, and across the Biden-Harris Administration,” Huff wrote in an email announcement to colleagues last week. “I chose this timing to enable the smoothest transition back to my professorship at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where my beloved research, students, husband, and dog await.”

New DOE guidance on coal-to-nuclear opportunities

April 2, 2024, 3:06PMNuclear News

The Department of Energy issued new guidance this week for converting coal-fired plants to nuclear units—an idea that has gained traction in recent years as the United States looks to cut carbon emissions.

A 2022 DOE study found potential for more than 300 coal-to-nuclear conversions across the country. While the process is complex, it would result in significant environmental and reliability benefits to the grid.

Construction of Hermes test reactor approved

December 13, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
Concept art for a Hermes plant. (Image: Kairos Power)

Kairos Power has received the go-ahead from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build its Hermes demonstration reactor at the Heritage Industrial Park in Oak Ridge, Tenn., making it the first non–light water reactor approved for construction in the United States in more than 50 years.

Investments for peace

December 8, 2023, 7:01AMNuclear NewsKathryn Huff

Kathryn Huff

President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered his “Atoms for Peace” speech to the United Nations General Assembly in December 1953. In this historic address, he invoked the existential threat of nuclear weapons proliferation and the potential horror of nuclear war to muster the diplomatic energy of the United Nations toward establishing peaceful uses for the atom. The speech launched domestic and international initiatives, including the International Atomic Energy Agency, that would underpin decades of robust, peaceful nuclear power commercialization and expansion.

This month, as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of that speech, we celebrate Eisenhower’s prescience in suggesting that “experts would be mobilized to apply atomic energy to the needs of agriculture, medicine, and other peaceful activities” and “to provide abundant electrical energy in the power-starved areas of the world.” Mobilizing American experts, of course, would mean refocusing the work of the national laboratories toward peaceful uses of the atom and repurposing the vast weapons complex investments of the 1940s toward more peaceful ends.

Recap: The 2023 ANS Winter Meeting

December 6, 2023, 3:03PMNuclear News

The American Nuclear Society’s 2023 Winter Meeting and Expo opened on November 12, and its packed opening plenary the next day generated a lot of buzz. Featured speakers included West Virginia senators Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin as well as Nuclear Regulatory Commission chair Christopher Hanson. They each addressed top issues facing the nuclear enterprise to a full house of more than 1,000 members of the wider nuclear community.

ANS Winter Meeting: The momentum equation

December 1, 2023, 6:54AMNuclear News

While the featured speakers of the American Nuclear Society’s 2023 Winter Meeting and Expo opening plenary—West Virginia senators Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin and Nuclear Regulatory Commission chair Christopher Hanson—generated a lot of buzz, the rest of the session provided constructive insights into the current state of nuclear technology and a glimpse of what the future may hold.

Westinghouse launches microreactor “accelerator hub”

October 27, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
Concept art of the eVinci accelerator hub, soon to be home to engineering and licensing operations, testing, prototype trials, business development, and sales. (Image: Westinghouse)

To help speed up commercialization of its eVinci microreactor, Westinghouse Electric Company this week launched a new design and manufacturing facility for the project near downtown Pittsburgh, Pa. Located in the borough of Etna, the 87,000-square-foot eVinci “accelerator hub” will be home to engineering and licensing operations, testing, prototype trials, business development, and sales, Westinghouse said in an October 24 announcement, adding that the facility will include manufacturing space for producing the “innovative heat pipes that are central to the eVinci technology.”

Terrestrial Energy awarded DOE grant for IMSR licensing

May 17, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
An illustration of an IMSR plant. (Image: Terrestrial Energy)

Ontario–based Terrestrial Energy announced yesterday that its U.S. branch has been awarded a regulatory assistance grant from the Department of Energy to support the company’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing program for the Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR) plant.

Promising nuclear technologies receive $22.1 million from DOE

May 10, 2023, 12:01PMNuclear News

The Department of Energy yesterday announced the awarding of $22.1 million to 10 industry-led nuclear projects, including two aimed at expanding clean hydrogen production and one at advancing a microreactor design. Other projects selected for funding are focused on addressing nuclear regulatory hurdles, improving existing reactor operation, and facilitating new advanced reactor developments.

Abstracts for all 10 projects can be found here.

DOE-NE offers inside look at FY 2024 budget request

March 24, 2023, 8:55AMNuclear News

While President Biden’s $6.9 trillion budget proposal for fiscal year 2024, submitted to Congress on March 9, was quickly pronounced “dead on arrival” by Sen. John Barrasso (R., Wyo.), it remains valuable as an indicator of the administration’s funding priorities for the coming year, including its nuclear energy priorities.

Which is why ANS on Wednesday hosted “An Inside Look at the FY 2024 Budget,” a members-only webinar moderated by ANS Executive Director/CEO Craig Piercy and featuring a team from the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy, including DOE-NE head Kathryn Huff.

GEH Nuclear Energy celebrates three-nation plan for BWRX-300 standard design

March 23, 2023, 3:03PMNuclear News
A technical collaboration agreement was signed by (seated from left) Jay Wileman, GEH; Jeff Lyash, TVA; Ken Hartwick, OPG; and Rafał Kasprów, SGE; and was observed by dignitaries and an audience both in-person and online. (Photo: TVA)

“I’m glad you came to our party!” said GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) chief nuclear officer Nicole Holmes as she prepared to announce that Wilmington, N.C.–based GEH will develop a standard design for its BWRX-300 boiling water small modular reactor with not one but three power producers representing three countries: Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Ontario Power Generation (OPG), and Synthos Green Energy (SGE). Celebration was a theme throughout the March 23 event held in Washington, D.C., which was flush with dignitaries representing the United States, Canada, and Poland.

Senate hearing focuses on securing the entire U.S. nuclear fuel cycle

March 14, 2023, 9:39AMEdited March 14, 2023, 9:38AMNuclear News
In this screenshot from a video recording of the hearing, Huff, Wagner, and Dominguez answer a series of questions from Sen. Manchin

“Right now, our country is deficient in nearly every aspect of the fuel cycle. This must change and it must change quickly,” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.V.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR), as he opened a Full Committee Hearing to Examine the Nuclear Fuel Cycle on March 9. “Whether it is uranium mining, milling, conversion, enrichment, nuclear fuel fabrication, power generation, or nuclear waste storage and disposal, there is much work to be done, starting with conversion and enrichment. Simply put, Russia dominates the global market, representing nearly half of the international capacity for both processes.”

Constellation starts hydrogen production at Nine Mile Point

March 10, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
Constellation’s Nine Mile Point nuclear power plant. (Photo: Constellation Energy)

A nuclear-powered hydrogen production facility has commenced operation at Constellation Energy’s Nine Mile Point plant, the company announced this week. The facility is the first of its kind in the United States to generate hydrogen using nuclear power, courtesy of the New York plant’s two boiling water reactors, the 620-MWe Unit 1 and 1,287-MWe Unit 2.

Final rule certifying NuScale SMR design published

January 20, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News

A rendering of a NuScale VOYGR plant. (Image: NuScale Power)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued its final rule certifying NuScale Power’s small modular reactor design, making the Portland, Ore.–based company’s power module the first SMR design to be certified by the agency (and only the seventh reactor design okayed for use in the United States).

Published in yesterday’s Federal Register, the rule goes into effect on February 21, allowing utilities to reference the NuScale design when applying for a combined license to build and operate a reactor. The design will be incorporated as Appendix G to 10 CFR Part 52, Licenses, Certifications, and Approvals for Nuclear Power Plants.

As noted last July—when the commission voted unanimously to approve the design certification and directed staff to issue the final rule—an application for a nuclear power plant combined license that references a certified design does not need to address any of the issues resolved by the design certification rule. Instead, the combined license application and the NRC’s safety review would address any remaining safety and environmental issues for the proposed plant.

Looking back at 2022—April through June

January 4, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News

Another calendar year has passed. Before heading too far into 2023, let’s look back at what happened in 2022 for the American Nuclear Society and the nuclear community. In today's post that follows, we have compiled from Nuclear News and Nuclear Newswire what we feel are the top nuclear news stories from April through June 2022.

Stay tuned this week for the top stories from the rest of the past year.

But first:

How a nuclear victory at COP27 started with a teen and a text

December 15, 2022, 7:02AMANS News

As Seth Grae was preparing to return home from COP27, where he attended as an American Nuclear Society delegate, he had no idea that he was about to be part of a last-minute win for nuclear energy. Grae, the founder and chief executive officer of Lightbridge Corporation (NASDAQ: LTBR), felt that the nuclear industry had exceeded expectations at the two-week conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. The first-ever International Atomic Energy Agency pavilion dedicated solely to nuclear energy was buzzing with delegates eager to educate the public. But hours before COP27 was to end, Grae received a text—the message of which would end up reaching the conference negotiation room.

The text came from a delegate, a teenager from Sweden who spotted an issue with the preliminary draft of the final COP27 decision.

DOE awards $800K to ANS, ECA to engage on nuclear energy

December 9, 2022, 7:00AMANS News

The Department of Energy yesterday awarded the American Nuclear Society and Energy Communities Alliance Inc. (ECA) a combined $800,000 to connect with communities across the country and establish education and outreach opportunities in nuclear energy. (A Washington, D.C.–based nonprofit, ECA “brings together local government officials to share information, establish policy positions, and promote community interests to address an increasingly complex set of constituent, environmental, regulatory, and economic development needs,” according to its website.)

Panel on nuclear energy and climate change to be livestreamed from COP27

November 14, 2022, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe
Scheduled to appear at the Energy Security panel session at COP27: from left, moderator Sweta Chakraborty and speakers Kathryn Huff, Seth Grae, and Bonnie Jenkins.

The United Nations’ COP27 conference, held this year in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, from November 6 to 18, will feature the panel discussion “Energy Security” on Tuesday, November 15, at 9:00 a.m. EST (4:00 p.m. local time). The discussion is being sponsored by the review platform We Don’t Have Time; the live stream will be available to viewers on their COP27 Climate Hub website.

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.