UNECE: Road to net zero needs many lanes, including one for nuclear

September 23, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

Released this week in the lead-up to November’s COP27 event in Egypt is a report from the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, Carbon Neutrality in the UNECE Region: Technology Interplay under the Carbon Neutrality Concept, which calls for maximizing the use of all low- and zero-carbon technologies—including nuclear technology—to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Termed by the UNECE a “roadmap to carbon neutrality for Europe, North America, and Central Asia,” the 60-page report finds that to attain the net-zero goal, investment in energy as a percentage of gross domestic product needs to grow from 1.24 percent in 2020 to 2.05 percent every year from 2025 until 2050—translating to between $44.8 trillion and $47.3 trillion by 2050, with any additional delay in taking action adding to that price tag.

Hydrogen production coming to Prairie Island

September 22, 2022, 6:55AMNuclear News
The Prairie Island nuclear power plant. (Photo: Xcel Energy)

Clean energy technology firm Bloom Energy has announced plans to install a 240-kW electrolyzer at Xcel Energy’s Prairie Island plant in Red Wing, Minn., to demonstrate the benefits of producing hydrogen with nuclear power. (One of Xcel’s two nuclear plants, Prairie Island houses twin 550-MWe pressurized water reactors.)

South Korean firms invest $250 million in TerraPower

August 16, 2022, 3:03PMNuclear News

U.S. nuclear technology company TerraPower announced yesterday the close of a $750 million equity raise—one of the largest advanced-nuclear investment drives to date, according to the announcement—with $250 million of that contributed by South Korean firms SK Inc. and SK Innovation.

Both firms are subsidiaries of the Seoul-based conglomerate SK Group, South Korea’s second-largest conglomerate, after Samsung Group.

Congress passes climate bill with tax credits and more for nuclear

August 15, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

After hours of debate alternating between Democratic praise for the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and Republican denunciation of it, the House of Representatives late Friday passed the sweeping energy, tax, and health care package in a straight party-line vote, 220–207. Its passage represents a significant win for President Biden, who is expected to sign the bill into law this week.

The boldly named $430 billion measure includes $369 billion in energy security and climate spending, with nuclear energy included among the beneficiaries.

Pact signed to advance IMSR development in western Canada

August 12, 2022, 9:29AMNuclear News

Evidence that Canada is serious about becoming a world leader in small modular reactor deployment continues to mount. Ontario-based SMR developer Terrestrial Energy yesterday inked a memorandum of understanding with Invest Alberta—a crown corporation of the government of Alberta that promotes the province internationally—to support commercialization of the company’s Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR) in western Canada.

Candu Energy wins Cernavoda unit refurbishment contract

July 26, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News
Romania’s Cernavoda Units 1 and 2. (Photo: Nuclearelectrica)

Romania’s Nuclearelectrica, the state-owned operator of the two-unit Cernavoda nuclear power plant, has awarded Candu Energy a contract to conduct design and engineering services for the facility’s Unit 1 refurbishment project, according to an announcement last week from SNC-Lavalin, Candu Energy’s parent company.

Holtec defines $7.4B SMR build plan, inks agreement with Entergy

July 25, 2022, 7:03AMNuclear News
Holtec’s Advanced Manufacturing Division, in Camden, N.J. (Photo: Holtec)

The Department of Energy earlier this year approved part one of a loan application from Holtec International for small modular reactor construction and invited the firm to apply for a loan to help build four of its SMR-160 units and grow its manufacturing capacity to produce the first wave of SMRs.

U.K. greenlights Sizewell C project

July 21, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News
A computer-generated rendering of the Sizewell site on the Suffolk coast. Sizewell A and B are to the left and center (respectively) in this image; the section to the right is the Sizewell C area. (Image: EDF Energy)

The U.K. government has granted a development consent order (DCO) for EDF Energy’s proposed Sizewell C plant near Leiston in Suffolk, moving the new nuclear build project closer to a reality.

Nuclear New Build (NBB) Generation Company, an EDF Energy subsidiary, submitted the DCO application to the government’s Planning Inspectorate in May 2020, setting out the range of measures the project would implement to mitigate construction effects and maximize community benefits. The Planning Inspectorate accepted the application in June 2020 and completed its examination in October 2021. Recommendations were made to the secretary of state for business, energy, and industrial strategy this February.

OPG adds nuclear to Green Bond Framework

July 19, 2022, 12:05PMNuclear News
Darlington's refurbishment to be aided by Green Bond Framework funds. (Photo: OPG)

Ontario Power Generation has updated its Green Bond Framework to include nuclear energy in recognition of the role the technology stands to play in helping the company reach its decarbonization goals. (OPG’s climate change plan, established in 2020, commits the firm to achieving net-zero carbon emission status by 2040.)

The green bonds issued by the utility and its subsidiaries are used to finance and/or refinance certain energy projects and support the development of clean technologies.

TVA seeks 5 GW of clean energy, requires availability before 2029

July 13, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News
TVA's Watt Bar nuclear power plant.

As part of its strategy to achieve net-zero status by 2050, the Tennessee Valley Authority yesterday issued a request for proposals for supplying up to 5 GW of carbon-free energy that must be operational before 2029.

European Parliament backs “green” label for nuclear and gas

July 7, 2022, 12:02PMNuclear News
The European Union flag. (Photo: Håkan Dahlström, Wikicommons)

In a much-anticipated vote yesterday, EU lawmakers voted down a resolution objecting to the European Commission’s proposal to add nuclear energy and natural gas to the list of green technologies covered by the EU taxonomy—the classification system used by the European Union to steer private investment toward environmentally sustainable economic projects.

The vote, held during the European Parliament’s July 4–7 plenary session, was 328 opposed to the resolution, 278 in favor, and 33 abstaining. An absolute majority—353 members—was required for the resolution to be passed and the proposal vetoed.

Carbon value: Lifetime extensions of nuclear reactors could save billions in climate mitigation costs

June 24, 2022, 2:49PMNuclear NewsBeth Burmahl

On the road to achieving net-zero by midcentury, low- or no-carbon energy sources that slash carbon dioxide emissions are critical weapons. Nevertheless, the role of nuclear energy—the single largest source of carbon-free electricity—remains uncertain.

Nuclear energy, which provides 20 percent of the electricity in the United States, has been a constant, reliable, carbon-free source for nearly 50 years. But our fleet of nuclear reactors is aging, with more than half of the 92 operating reactors across 29 states at or over 40 years old—the length of the original operating licenses issued to the power plants. While some reactors have been retired prematurely, there are two options for those that remain: retire them or renew their license.

Barakah-3 license issued; fuel loading starts

June 21, 2022, 12:01PMNuclear News
Barakah-3 (Photo: Nawah Energy Company)

The United Arab Emirates’ Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) has issued the operating license for the Barakah nuclear plant’s Unit 3 reactor, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation announced yesterday. In addition, following receipt of the license, ENEC subsidiary Nawah Energy Company began the process of loading fuel assemblies into the unit, according to the announcement.

X-energy partners with Maryland for coal-to-nuclear study

June 17, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) has awarded grants to Rockville, Md.–based X-energy—developer of the Xe-100 small modular reactor—and Frostburg State University for a collaborative study to determine the potential for siting an SMR at a state coal site. A joint analysis of the study’s findings is to be delivered to MEA later this year.

NUWARD SMR to be test case for European regulatory review

June 10, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
Concept art for the NUWARD plant. (Image: TechnicAtome)

French utility giant EDF has announced that its NUWARD small modular reactor design will be the case study for a European early joint regulatory review led by the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN). Also participating in the review process will be the Czech Republic’s State Office for Nuclear Safety (SUJB) and Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK).

INL reactor deployments could be replicated under Net Zero Labs initiative

May 31, 2022, 7:14AMNuclear News

Four national laboratories have been chosen by the Department of Energy to receive a combined $38 million to launch the Net Zero Labs Pilot Initiative: Idaho National Laboratory, National Energy Technology Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The pilot program is planned as “a foundation of net-zero solutions that can be replicated at facilities across DOE, the federal government, and state and local governments” in support of the administration’s goal of reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions no later than 2050, according to the DOE. Additional funding is expected to be available to all 17 national laboratories on a competitive basis next year.

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.