DFC drops prohibition on nuclear project financing

The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has lifted its ban on financing nuclear power projects abroad. Last month, the DFC proposed the change to its Environmental and Social Policy and Procedures, which had specifically prohibited it from offering such support.

The change, announced by the DFC on July 23, also implements a key recommendation made in an April 2020 report issued by the U.S. Nuclear Fuel Working Group, an interagency initiative to review and modernize U.S. nuclear energy policy.

Palo Verde takes home 2020’s top TIP

A team from Arizona Public Service’s (APS) Palo Verde nuclear plant, in Wintersburg, Ariz., has won the Nuclear Energy Institute’s “Best of the Best” Top Innovative Practice (TIP) Award for developing in-house software applications that use machine learning to automate such time-consuming tasks as screening reports or searching maintenance logs. The award was announced July 9 during NEI’s first-ever virtual TIP Awards presentation.

Dems’ climate action plan makes room for nuclear

House Democrats on June 30 rolled out a vision of what U.S. climate change policy might look like in the event the Democratic party holds its current House majority, retakes the Senate, and wins the White House in November. The vision was presented in the form of a sweeping 547-page majority staff report entitled Solving the Climate Crisis: The Congressional Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy and a Healthy, Resilient, and Just America.

NEI holds virtual event on future of nuclear industry

The Nuclear Energy Institute on June 24 hosted The State of the Nuclear Energy Industry 2020, a three-segment webinar featuring remarks from Maria Korsnick, president and chief executive officer of NEI; an interview with Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), conducted by Jason Grumet, founder and president of the Bipartisan Policy Center; and a panel discussion moderated by Rich Powell, executive director of ClearPath.

Feature Article

Utilities Service Alliance’s Material Cost Reduction project

The Utilities Service Alliance’s organizational banners.

The Utilities Service Alliance (USA) was founded in 1996. Current membership stretches from coast-to-coast and includes eight utilities and nine nuclear stations: Energy Northwest, Columbia; Luminant, Comanche Peak; Indiana Michigan Power Company, Cook; Nebraska Public Power District, Cooper; DTE Energy, Fermi; Xcel Energy, Monticello and Prairie Island; STP Nuclear Operating Company, South Texas Project; and Talen Energy, Susquehanna. These plants represent 14 reactors (six boiling water reactors and eight pressurized water reactors) and more than 15,000 MWe of generation.

The USA Material Cost Reduction (MCR) project kicked off in January 2017. The Nuclear Energy Institute’s Delivering the Nuclear Promise initiative was in full swing as the utilities’ chief nuclear officers created multiple focus areas for cost reductions at the plants.

President’s Session: U.S global leadership in nuclear energy and national security

The President’s Special Session of the 2020 American Nuclear Society Virtual Annual Meeting, organized by ANS’s Young Members Group (YMG) and Student Sections Committee (SSC), featured an all-star group of nuclear policy luminaries opining on the current influence of nuclear technology on U.S. national security and where the nation stands with regard to leadership of the future global nuclear industry.

ANS members re-elected to NEI board of directors

American Nuclear Society members Mark T. Peters, Kenneth W. Robuck, and Thomas R. White were reelected to the Nuclear Energy Institute’s board of directors during its May 20 meeting. The board is composed of executives from companies that hold licenses to operate nuclear energy facilities and selected representatives of other organizations involved in commercial nuclear technologies. Members of the executive committee and the board’s non-utility members typically serve three-year terms, and officers are elected annually.

Feature Story

The nexus between safety and operational performance

Nuclear power plant performance includes both operational and safety aspects and is an outcome of numerous elements, such as the reliability of equipment, reduction in challenges to plant operations, protection of workers, and proficiency of operations. These elements are inextricably linked to each other and to the safety of each facility. In short, a well-run plant is a safe plant for the workers and the public, and a well-run plant is an efficient plant. By-products of high performance include improved regulatory performance, worker safety, plant reliability, and, most important, public health and safety.

NEI urges feds to speed recovery, support grid

Maria Korsnick, president of the Nuclear Energy Institute, wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy Larry Kudlow on March 19, citing the “severe financial strain” being anticipated or experienced by the organization’s member companies due to the COVID-19 crisis. Korsnick offered a number of policy and legislative proposals that, she said, “would be of immediate benefit in helping the people and the companies of our nation’s nuclear energy sector to withstand the ongoing operational and economic disruption.”