Cavendish Nuclear, X-energy to collaborate on HTGR deployment in U.K.

May 13, 2022, 9:34AMNuclear News

A cross-section view of X-energy’s Xe-100 reactor. (Image: X-energy)

U.K. nuclear services company Cavendish Nuclear has signed a memorandum of understanding with U.S. reactor and fuel-design engineering firm X-energy to act as its deployment partner for high-temperature, gas-cooled reactors (HTGRs) in the United Kingdom.

Headquartered in Rockville, Md., X-energy is the developer of the Xe-100, an 80-MWe reactor with a modular design permitting it to be scaled into a “four-pack” 320-MWe power plant. As a pebble bed HTGR, the Xe-100 would use TRISO particles encased in graphite pebbles as the fuel and helium as the coolant.

According to a May 11 joint statement from the companies, development and deployment of HTGRs in the United Kingdom would support an increase in the nation’s energy security, contribute toward the government’s net-zero-by-2050 commitment, and create considerable opportunities for the U.K. nuclear supply chain.

Colorado seeks 100 percent carbon-free energy without nuclear power

May 11, 2022, 7:02AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The administration of Colorado Gov. Jared Polis “appears uninterested in nuclear energy, bucking a growing consensus that nuclear power is an essential component in eliminating carbon emissions,” writes Scott Weiser in a recent Denver Gazette article. Weiser notes that nuclear power is not part of the governor’s Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap for 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2040.

Latest training center for Hinkley Point C opens

May 9, 2022, 9:31AMNuclear News
U.K. energy minister Greg Hands cuts the ribbon on the Welding Centre of Excellence at Bridgwater & Taunton College’s campus. (Photo: EDF Energy)

The United Kingdom’s energy minister, Greg Hands, recently presided over the opening of one of three new training centers in England aimed at supporting EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point C nuclear build project in Somerset. The centers, according to EDF, will provide locals with the skills necessary to join the ranks of about 4,000 additional workers expected to be needed for the next phase of the power station’s construction. Hands unveiled the Welding Centre of Excellence, located on the Bridgwater & Taunton College campus in Bridgwater.

INL, Wyoming form partnership on advanced energy tech

May 6, 2022, 12:08PMNuclear News
The Wyoming Energy Authority’s Glen Murrell (left) shakes hands with INL’s John C. Wagner at the MOU signing ceremony on May 4. (Photo: WEA)

Battelle Energy Alliance (BEA), the management and operating contractor for Idaho National Laboratory, has signed a five-year memorandum of understanding with the State of Wyoming to collaborate on the research, development, demonstration, and deployment of advanced energy technologies and approaches, with a special focus on advanced nuclear.

DOE awards grant to Constellation to study direct air capture technology

April 22, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy has awarded a grant worth $2.5 million to Constellation and its project partners to investigate the potential benefits of direct air capture (DAC) technology at its Byron nuclear power plant in Illinois. DAC would remove carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere, a possible next-generation technology to help combat climate change.

U.S. should double its nuclear energy by 2050, says NIA report

April 19, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News

The Nuclear Innovation Alliance (NIA), a nonprofit advocating for advanced nuclear, has announced the publication of a new report, Fission Vision: Doubling Nuclear Energy Production to Meet Clean Energy Needs. According to the April 13 announcement, the United States needs a “focused national effort” to develop and deploy advanced nuclear technologies to help meet midcentury climate goals.

Current U.S. climate targets (set by the Biden administration) include a 50–52 percent reduction from 2005 levels in net greenhouse gas pollution by 2030 and a net-zero–emissions economy by 2050.

Fission Vision answers the question: What is the role advanced nuclear energy could play at a scale and at a pace to help provide safe, reliable, and affordable clean energy?” said Judi Greenwald, NIA’s executive director. “Fission Vision has three objectives: catalyzing a robust U.S. innovation and commercialization ecosystem, ensuring ‘social license’ to operate advanced nuclear energy, and reimagining and integrating advanced nuclear energy with other clean energy sources. If we can achieve these objectives—and we think we can—advanced reactors will play a major role in meeting our climate and energy goals by at least doubling U.S. nuclear energy production by 2050.”

SNC-Lavalin, Moltex to collaborate on SMR project

April 19, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
Rory O’Sullivan, Moltex Energy’s chief executive officer, North America, speaks at the SNC-Lavalin/Moltex partnership announcement ceremony at CNA2022.

SNC-Lavalin and Moltex Energy are partnering to advance the development and deployment of small modular reactor technology in Canada, the companies announced last week at the Canadian Nuclear Association’s 2022 conference in Ottawa, Ontario. The partnership will support Moltex as it pursues the licensing and construction of its 300-MW Stable Salt Reactor–Wasteburner (SSR-W), a molten salt reactor that uses nuclear waste as fuel.

U.K. energy strategy calls for up to eight new reactors

April 11, 2022, 6:52AMNuclear News

The U.K. government has released a new energy strategy aimed at boosting Britain’s energy independence, stabilizing its soaring energy prices, and accelerating the deployment of new nuclear, wind, solar, and hydrogen to mitigate climate change.

At the same time, the 38-page document, British Energy Security Strategy, calls for near-term support for domestic oil and gas, stating, “Net zero is a smooth transition, not an immediate extinction, for oil and gas.” (The United Kingdom in 2019 became the first of the world’s major economies to embrace a legal obligation to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.)

Following through with this strategy, the government says, could result in low-carbon sources generating up to 95 percent of British electricity by 2030.

Canadian utilities to collaborate on new nuclear in Ontario

April 8, 2022, 6:56AMNuclear News
Ontario clean energy leaders. From left: John Gorman, president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Nuclear Association; Ken Hartwick, president and CEO of Ontario Power Generation; Todd Smith, Ontario’s minister of energy; and Mike Rencheck, Bruce Power president and CEO. (Photo: Bruce Power)

Bruce Power and Ontario Power Generation (OPG) have announced an agreement to work together to support new nuclear technologies in Ontario. Bruce Power operates the Bruce nuclear plant and OPG operates the Darlington and Pickering facilities.

Canadian provinces release strategic plan for SMRs

April 1, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

The governments of four Canadian provinces—Ontario, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, and Alberta—have published a plan outlining the path forward for the advancement of small modular reactors, which could provide the nation with safe, reliable, and zero-emissions energy and create new export opportunities.

The 60-page document, A Strategic Plan for the Deployment of Small Modular Reactors, builds on an SMR feasibility study conducted under a memorandum of understanding signed in 2019 by the premiers of Ontario, New Brunswick, and Saskatchewan and in 2021 by the premier of Alberta. Prepared by Ontario Power Generation, Bruce Power, New Brunswick Power, and SaskPower, the study concluded that SMR development would support domestic energy needs, curb greenhouse gas emissions, and position Canada as a global leader in clean technologies and the fight against climate change.

FY 2023 budget request released; DOE funding hiked 7 percent

March 29, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News

The White House yesterday released its $5.8 trillion fiscal year 2023 budget proposal, just two weeks after President Biden signed into law H.R. 2471, the FY 2022 omnibus bill that funds the federal government through September 30.

Second UAE reactor starts commercial operation

March 28, 2022, 2:46PMNuclear News
Unit 2 at the UAE’s Barakah nuclear plant. (Photo: ENEC)

Unit 2 at the United Arab Emirates’ Barakah nuclear power plant has entered commercial operation, Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) announced on March 24. Unit 2 adds an additional 1,400 MW of zero-carbon emission electricity to the UAE’s national grid, bringing the total amount of electricity produced at Barakah to 2,800 MW.

Nuclear excluded from Canada’s Green Bond Framework

March 23, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News

Having made significant investments in nuclear energy over the past year and a half (including C$27.2 million announced just last week), the Canadian government bewildered nuclear advocates earlier this month with its Green Bond Framework.

Released on March 3, the framework specifically excludes nuclear energy, along with the transportation, exploration, and production of fossil fuels, arms manufacturing, gambling, the manufacture and production of tobacco products, and the manufacture and production of alcoholic beverages.

Canada to fund Westinghouse microreactor technology

March 23, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s minister of innovation, Science, and Industry (center, foreground), visited Westinghouse Electric Canada’s Burlington, Ontario, facility for the March 17 announcement. (Photo: Westinghouse)

The Canadian government has announced an investment of C$27.2 million (about $21.6 million) in Westinghouse Electric Canada to support the development of the company’s eVinci microreactor technology.

François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry, made the announcement on March 17 during a visit to the company’s Burlington, Ontario, facility.

U.K. begins assessment of Rolls-Royce SMR design

March 9, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
Artist’s conception of a site for the Rolls-Royce small modular reactor. (Image: Rolls-Royce)

The United Kingdom’s Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has asked regulators—including the U.K. Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), the Environment Agency, and Natural Resources Wales—to begin a generic design assessment (GDA) of Rolls-Royce SMR’s 470-MWe small modular reactor design.

TVA, ORNL partner to explore new nuclear, other clean technologies

March 2, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
High-voltage power lines carry electricity generated by the Tennessee Valley Authority to Oak Ridge National Laboratory. (Photo: Dobie Gillispie/ORNL, DOE)

The Tennessee Valley Authority and Oak Ridge National Laboratory have signed a memorandum of understanding to advance decarbonization technologies in pursuit of the federal government’s net-zero-by-2050 goal, the utility and the lab announced yesterday in a joint press release.

Vogtle project hit with new delay, higher cost

February 22, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
Fuel preparing to be unloaded outside of Vogtle-3 last month. (Photo: Georgia Power)

Commercial operation dates for the two new reactors under construction at the Vogtle nuclear plant have been pushed back yet again, adding to the project’s total cost, Southern Company announced last week. The Vogtle plant is near Waynesboro, Ga.

During its February 17 fourth-quarter earnings call, Southern reported that the projected start dates for both reactors were being extended by three to six months. Vogtle-3 is now expected to begin providing electricity to Georgians in the fourth quarter of 2022 or first quarter of 2023, with Vogtle-4 coming on line in the third or fourth quarter of 2023.

TVA board approves advanced reactor program; initial focus on Clinch River

February 11, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
An advanced nuclear reactor technology park is hoped for the 935-acre Clinch River site. Image: TVA

The Tennessee Valley Authority’s board of directors has given the go-ahead for a program that will explore the development and potential deployment of small modular reactors as part of the utility’s decarbonization strategy.

IEA to Canadian government: Step up support for nuclear

January 18, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News

The International Energy Agency’s newly published in-depth review of Canada’s energy policies, the first since 2015, urges the nation’s government to take more action in support of nuclear energy.

The 261-page report, Canada 2022 Energy Policy Review, released on January 13, features a 17-page section devoted to nuclear that includes four specific recommendations for Canada’s federal government: