Battelle names INL Director Peters as head of lab operations


Mark Peters has been named executive vice president of laboratory operations for Battelle, the company announced on August 20. He will take over for Ron Townsend, who earlier this summer announced that he plans to retire in January 2021. Peters, who has served as laboratory director at Idaho National Laboratory since October 2015, will remain in this role until his successor has been selected and is in place. He will assume his new role at Battelle following this transition at INL.

EBR-1 in Photos

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.

National Nuclear Science Week 2018 Kicks Off

Advancing Nuclear: Paths to the Future

"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.

Consolidated Storage of Commercial Used Fuel

Used nuclear fuel storage; photo courtesy Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a division of the US Department of Energy

An interesting session at the ANS 2016 Annual Meeting, sponsored by the Fuel Cycle & Waste Management Division, saw the presentation of a number of interesting papers relative to the ever-increasing problem of used nuclear fuel at the various commercial nuclear plant sites in the United States.  Not only does the used fuel (which is a far better term than "spent fuel," these days, since it can conceivably be reused) continue to accumulate at the nuclear plants, but there is also a considerable amount of used fuel being stored at various sites where the nuclear plants have actually been shut down, decommissioned and completely removed for years.  Considering this, and the need to inventory, characterize and eventually move this material, a growing amount of interest is being shown in this field.

Nuclear Nonproliferation and Safeguards Education at Universities

I recently attended a Safeguards Education Roundtable at the Argonne National Laboratory sponsored by the Next Generation Safeguards Initiative (NGSI).  University professors and nonproliferation experts from U.S. national laboratories met at this event to discuss safeguards education at universities. The goal of NGSI is to "to develop the policies, concepts, technologies, expertise, and infrastructure necessary to sustain the international safeguards system" as it evolves in the future. A major pillar of the program is developing the next generation of professionals to work in the nonproliferation and safeguards field-and to make sure that the next generation of nuclear professionals is aware of nonproliferation and safeguards issues.

Nuclear Matinee: Scientists announce nuclear fusion breakthrough

Researchers at the National Ignition Facility in California announced this week that they had achieved a major milestone on the path toward nuclear fusion as an energy source, as described in a paper published in the science journal Nature. For the first time, the energy produced in a nuclear fusion reaction in a confined hydrogen fuel exceeded the energy put in to start the reaction.  Science reporter Gautam Naik explains at the Wall Street Journal:

Realistic look at Small Modular Reactors in Idaho

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.

A tour of EBR-I: Birthplace of nuclear energy

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.

Virginia ANS section discovers hidden asset - Clay Condit

On January 31, 2013, about 30 lucky members of the Virginia section of the American Nuclear Society heard a series of informative tales from one of the many innovative pioneers of the First Atomic Age. Clay Condit, a man overflowing with personal memories of important nuclear energy milestones-like the initial start-up of the Submarine Thermal Reactor and the post accident analysis of the SL-1 tragedy-entertained the assembled members for a little more than an hour.

Nuclear Cafe Matinee: Nuclear Recycling in 4 Minutes

The 800 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity produced by the 104 nuclear reactors in the United States each year -- all while emitting no greenhouse gases -- is by far America's biggest source of green energy.  And this abundant energy source can become even greener by recycling used nuclear fuel.

ANS Nuclear Cafe Matinee: DUFF Space Nuclear Reactor Prototype

A joint Department of Energy and NASA team has demonstrated a simple, robust fission reactor prototype [note: see Comments for more accurate and complete description] intended for development for future space exploration missions. The DUFF (Demonstration Using Flattop Fissions) experiment represents the first demonstration in the United State-since 1965-of a space nuclear reactor system to produce electricity.

The MTR—Gone now, but not forgotten