Building nuclear plants faster and in a more affordable way

July 19, 2021, 3:02PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Finan

There is a lot of buzz around advanced reactors, and for good reason, according to Ashley Finan, director of the Department of Energy’s National Reactor Innovation Center (NRIC). In the article 3 Ways to Make Nuclear Power Plants Faster and More Affordable to Build, published earlier this month on the DOE’s website, Finan noted that advanced reactors promise to be cheaper to build and operate, offer enhanced versatility, and can help put the United States on a path to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

The key cost driver will be construction and project management, “areas that have plagued the industry for decades,” Finan noted.

“For advanced nuclear energy to realize its potential, we have to make it more affordable and scalable. Only then can it meaningfully contribute to our energy, security, and environmental imperatives,” she added.

House appropriators pass bill with more funding for nuclear energy

July 19, 2021, 12:01PMNuclear News

The House Committee on Appropriations last week approved an Energy and Water Development funding bill for fiscal year 2022 that provides an 11 percent increase for the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy.

Reported favorably out of committee on July 16 via a party-line vote of 33 to 24, the House bill sports a total price tag of $53.2 billion, an increase of $1.5 billion from the FY 2021 enacted level. (The committee’s official report on appropriations for the next fiscal year can be found here.)

NRIC wants to know: How could you use a hybrid nuclear energy system?

May 11, 2021, 12:02PMNuclear News
The demonstration program aims to accelerate innovation and deployment of energy concepts at the intersection of industry needs, NRIC’s mission, and the R&D portfolio of CTD IES. (Graphic: BEA)

The National Reactor Innovation Center (NRIC) wants to hear from developers and end users interested in integrated energy systems for advanced reactors. Battelle Energy Alliance (BEA), the managing and operating contractor for Idaho National Laboratory, has issued a call for Expressions of Interest for a potential multi-phase demonstration program for innovative uses of nuclear energy, to be carried out by NRIC and the Crosscutting Technology Development Integrated Energy Systems (CTD IES) program. The final date for responses is May 21.

From the ground up: Building a workforce for advanced nuclear

December 4, 2020, 2:01PMNuclear NewsMichelle Goff

INL will need technical, innovative, and safety-minded construction personnel for the advanced nuclear projects ahead. Photo: INL

Around the world, researchers in the energy industry are engaging in the work of studying, testing, and developing carbon-free energy solutions. Throughout these circles, many scientists and engineers are embracing the possibilities of advanced nuclear technologies, including small modular reactors and microreactors. While these innovative technologies are poised to address some of the nation’s biggest concerns, they also present their own unique challenges, including the need for a large and talented workforce within the construction industry.

Fortunately, the state of Idaho and its key nuclear players are well-equipped for this challenge. In southeastern Idaho, home of Idaho National Laboratory, strong partnerships throughout the region have forged networks between the lab and the educational institutions, employers, trades, and unions that are working to establish this highly specialized nuclear talent pipeline.

How the U.S. can retake the global nuclear lead

June 8, 2020, 8:17AMNuclear News

More than a thousand participants joined a Department of Energy webinar on May 29 for a discussion of the Trump administration’s strategy for restoring the United States to a globally predominant position in the field of nuclear energy. The strategy was laid out in the Nuclear Fuel Working Group’s recent report, Restoring America’s Competitive Nuclear Energy Advantage. (For details on the NRWG’s report, see our coverage here.)

DOE issues FOA for advanced reactor demos

May 18, 2020, 2:17PMNuclear News

Reactor designers and others ready to invest in advanced nuclear technology now have a defined route to apply for cost-share funding, including $160 million in initial funding to build two reactors within the next five to seven years. On May 14, the U.S. Department of Energy issued a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for the new Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP).

INL seeks input on construction technologies

April 27, 2020, 11:54AMNuclear News

Battelle Energy Alliance, the managing and operating contractor for Idaho National Laboratory, is seeking an expression of interest (EOI) from industry stakeholders interested in forming a partnership to develop and/or demonstrate advanced construction technologies and processes. The effort would be executed as an initiative of the National Reactor Innovation Center (NRIC) at INL. Battelle announced the EOI on April 17, with a deadline for responses of May 16.