Contract for Darlington SMR project signed

January 27, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
A rendering of the BWRX-300 small modular reactor. (Image: GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy)

Wilmington, N.C.–based GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy and Canadian firms Ontario Power Generation, SNC-Lavalin, and Aecon announced this morning the signing of a contract for the deployment of a BWRX-300 small modular reactor at OPG’s Darlington nuclear site in Canada. According to the announcement, it is the first commercial contract for a grid-scale SMR in North America.

Holtec, GEH eye U.K. for SMR deployment

January 5, 2023, 9:31AMNuclear News
A rendering of Holtec’s SMR-160 plant. (Image: Holtec International)

Small modular reactor developers Holtec International and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) are both looking to the United Kingdom as a prime location for deployment of their units—the SMR-160 and BWRX-300, respectively.

On December 19, Holtec Britain announced that it is poised to enter the United Kingdom’s generic design assessment (GDA) process for the SMR-160 early in 2023, enabling the start of construction of the first U.K. unit as soon as 2028. (The GDA, developed by the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency, gauges the safety, security, and environmental protection aspects of a nuclear plant design. Successfully completing the assessment culminates in a design acceptance confirmation from ONR and a statement of design acceptability from the Environment Agency.)

U.S. to assist Thailand, Philippines with nuclear energy plans

November 29, 2022, 3:10PMNuclear News
Philippine president Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and Vice President Harris meet in Manila on November 21. (Photo: Office of the Press Secretary, Republic of the Philippines)

During a recent weeklong trip to Southeast Asia aimed at bolstering U.S. economic and security ties in the region, Vice President Kamala Harris announced the launch of nuclear energy partnerships with Thailand and the Philippines.

Currently, neither country enjoys the benefits of nuclear power. Both rely primarily on some mix of petroleum, natural gas, and coal for their energy needs.

U.K. government reaffirms backing of Sizewell C project

November 23, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News


U.K. chancellor of the exchequer Jeremy Hunt last week assuaged any concerns that Britain’s nuclear energy advocates might have been harboring regarding the new government’s support for the proposed Sizewell C plant. (The United Kingdom is on its third prime minister since July, when Boris Johnson’s government granted EDF Energy its long-awaited development consent order for the new nuclear build project.)

What he said: In his November 17 Autumn Statement, while noting the United Kingdom’s status as “a global leader in renewable energy,” Hunt added, “We need to go further, with a major acceleration of home-grown technologies like offshore wind, carbon capture, and storage, and, above all, nuclear. This will deliver new jobs, industries, and export opportunities and secure the clean, affordable energy we need to power our future economy and reach net zero."

Bruce Power advances nuclear carbon offset project

November 21, 2022, 3:04PMNuclear News
The Bruce Power A and B nuclear power plants. (Photo: CNSC)

Canada’s Bruce Power, operator of the eight-unit Bruce nuclear plant in Kincardine, Ontario, has announced a “made-in-Ontario solution” to the net-zero challenges faced by industries: allowing new incremental nuclear output to be accredited for an avoided emissions benefit.

Report touts nuclear energy’s investment attractiveness based on ESG standards

November 17, 2022, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Nuclear energy “has exceptional characteristics that make it uniquely qualified to address all three facets of the energy trilemma: affordability, sustainability, and reliability,” according to a new report, Solving the Energy Trilemma: The Case for Nuclear as a Sustainable Investment. Developed by the Center for ESG and Sustainability (CESG), which has a partnership with Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society, the report concludes, “Even absent ESG [environmental, social, and governance] considerations, nuclear is an investible asset. However, its strong ESG performance makes the case for investment even stronger.”

Coal-to-nuclear conversion: Opportunities and challenges

November 10, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
ANS's “Powering Our Future: The Coal to Nuclear Opportunity” panel discussion featured (top left, clockwise) Jessica Lovering, Patrick Burke, Kenya Stump, Andrew Griffith, Christine King, and Carol Lane. (ANS screenshot)

Since at least June of last year—when TerraPower and PacifiCorp announced plans to site the Natrium reactor demonstration project at one of Wyoming’s retiring coal plants—the concept of repurposing those plants to host nuclear reactors has been a popular topic of conversation among the energy cognoscenti.

New Slovakian reactor reaches first criticality

October 28, 2022, 12:01PMNuclear News
Slovakia’s Mochovce nuclear plant, located about 62 miles east of Bratislava, the nation’s capital. (Photo: Slovenské Elektrárne)

Unit 3 at Slovakia’s Mochovce nuclear power plant achieved initial criticality on October 22, plant owner Slovenské Elektrárne has announced.

The utility started the reactor’s first fuel load September 9—after receiving in August a final authorization for commissioning from the Slovak Nuclear Regulatory Authority—and completed the process three days later.

TerraPower, PacifiCorp to consider expansion of Natrium deployment

October 28, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News
An artist’s rendering of Natrium. (Image: TerraPower)

Nuclear technology firm TerraPower and utility partner PacifiCorp have launched a study to evaluate the feasibility of deploying up to five additional Natrium reactor and integrated energy storage systems in the utility’s service territory by 2035, the companies announced yesterday. (PacifiCorp’s business units—Pacific Power and Rocky Mountain Power—serve customers in California, Oregon, and Washington, and in Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming, respectively.)

OPG, ČEZ to work together on SMR deployment

October 14, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
From left: Czech Republic deputy minister of industry and trade Petr Třešňák, ČEZ’s Tomáš Pleskač, OPG’s Ken Hartwick, Ontario minister of energy Todd Smith, and Canadian ambassador to the Czech Republic Ayesha Patricia Rekhi. (Photo: CNW Group/Ontario Power Generation)

Canada’s Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and Czech Republic–based ČEZ have agreed to collaborate on nuclear technology deployment, including small modular reactors, under a memorandum of understanding signed yesterday in Prague.

Ontario’s largest electricity generator and the European energy giant have both pledged to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.

CNSC vendor design review of eVinci microreactor to begin

September 29, 2022, 12:05PMNuclear News

Westinghouse's eVinci microreactor (Image: Westinghouse)

Westinghouse Electric Company has signed a service agreement with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to bring the eVinci microreactor closer to commercialization, the company announced Tuesday. The agreement initiates a vendor design review (VDR)—a prelicensing technical assessment of a company’s reactor technology.

The objective of a VDR, according to the CNSC, is to verify the acceptability of a nuclear power plant design with respect to Canadian nuclear regulatory requirements and expectations, as well as Canadian codes and standards. The review also aims to identify fundamental barriers to licensing a new design in Canada and to assure that a resolution path exists for any design issues identified.

OPG, Microsoft to work toward net-zero future for Ontario

September 28, 2022, 3:06PMNuclear News

Ontario Power Generation and Microsoft Canada have formed a partnership aimed at combatting climate change and driving sustainable growth across the province of Ontario, the Canadian utility announced this week.

Under the partnership, Microsoft will procure clean energy credits (CECs) sourced from OPG’s nuclear and hydro assets in Ontario on an hourly basis. (OPG’s nuclear assets include the four-unit Darlington plant and six-unit Pickering facility.) According to the announcement, this will enable Microsoft to advance toward its 100/100/0 by 2030 goal, which commits the software firm to powering its data centers globally with zero-carbon energy, 24/7.

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.