With reactor gone, Halden project lives on in human factors research

October 5, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear NewsPaul Menser

When Norway’s Halden research reactor shut down in 2018, nuclear researchers around the world were forced to scramble. For 60 years, the Halden Reactor Project offered a 25-MWt boiling water reactor for research where scientists could expand their understanding of nuclear fuel reliability, reactor internals, plant procedures and monitoring, and human factors.

Seaborg, Norsk Kjernekraft to explore CMSRs for Norway

July 20, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
Seaborg cofounder Eirik Eide Pettersen (left) and Norsk Kjernekraft CEO Jonny Hesthammer at a letter-of-intent signing ceremony. (Photo: Seaborg)

Denmark’s Seaborg Technologies and Norsk Kjernekraft (aka Norwegian Nuclear Power) have signed a letter of intent to investigate the possibility of deploying Seaborg’s 100-MWe compact molten salt reactor (CMSR) in Norway.

TVO to help Norway with nuclear ambitions

July 6, 2023, 7:02AMNuclear News
A map of Norway (green) and Finland (blue). (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Consulting company TVO Nuclear Services (TVONS), a subsidiary of Teollisuuden Voima Oyj, owner and operator of Finland’s three-unit Olkiluoto nuclear plant, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Norsk Kjernekraft, aka Norwegian Nuclear, a firm established last July with the goal of bringing small modular reactors to power reactor–deprived Norway.

A June 27 announcement from TVO said the new MOU provides the Norwegian firm with “access to the know-how and experience of one of the world’s best-known nuclear power companies” and stressed TVO’s 60 percent ownership of Posiva, the company responsible for the disposal of Finland’s spent nuclear fuel. “Posiva has successfully built the world’s first final disposal facility for high-level nuclear waste,” TVO stated. “This is decisively important for Norwegian Nuclear’s plans for the management of the entire life cycle of nuclear power.”

U.S. to help rid Norway of HEU

September 2, 2021, 3:02PMNuclear News

Energy secretary Jennifer Granholm (top photo) and Norwegian minister of Trade and Industry Iselin Nybø (bottom photo, right) hold up signed versions of an MOU on the conversion of Norway’s HEU to LEU. (Photos: NNSA)

The U.S. Department of Energy and Norway’s Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Fisheries have signed a memorandum of understanding to advance a project aimed at eliminating Norway’s high-enriched uranium by downblending it to low-enriched uranium. If the project is successfully completed, Norway will become the 34th country (plus Taiwan) to be considered HEU-free.

In the downblending process, HEU is mixed with depleted or natural uranium to reduce the U-235 concentration to below 20 percent, resulting in LEU, which cannot be used to make an improvised nuclear device (aka “dirty bomb”). According to the DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration, the challenge with Norway’s HEU has been that much of it is mixed with thorium, making the use of other disposition techniques more problematic.

A closer look: Signed on September 1 by U.S. energy secretary Jennifer Granholm and her Norwegian counterpart, Iselin Nybø, minister of trade and industry, the MOU calls for small-scale downblending activities to begin in 2022 using Norway’s existing infrastructure. It also paves the way for the eventual deployment of the DOE’s Mobile Melt-Consolidate system to complete the work.