Congress votes on Price-Anderson Act extension

March 22, 2024, 1:39PMNuclear News

A minibus appropriations bill—the second produced this month by Congress—emerged from conference negotiations yesterday with language that would extend the Price-Anderson Act—legislation first enacted in 1954 that makes it possible for nuclear power producers to seek insurance from the private marketplace. Today the House of Representatives voted 286–134 to approve the minibus package of six fiscal year 2024 appropriations bills, and the Senate is expected to vote today, too. By extending the Price-Anderson Act—now set to expire in 2025—Congress can support the current U.S. power reactor fleet and pave the way for new reactor deployments.

How is Cold War–era radiation shaping the nuclear conversation today?

March 18, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear News

The Manhattan Project may have begun more than 80 years ago, but it’s still in the news—and not just because of Oppenheimer’s recent haul at the Academy Awards. On March 7, the Senate passed S. 3853, the Radiation Exposure Compensation Reauthorization Act, by a vote of 69 to 30, sending the bill to the House. It’s Sen. Josh Hawley's (R., Mo.) second attempt to reauthorize the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA)—which was first enacted in 1990 to address the legacy of U.S. nuclear weapons production—before it expires in June. The bill would extend the deadline to claim compensation by five years and expand it from the dozen states now covered to include individuals exposed to radiation in certain regions of Missouri, Alaska, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

The IAEA celebrates International Women's Day

March 8, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News

March 8 is International Women’s Day, and this year the International Atomic Energy Agency is marking the occasion by bringing more than 400 women together for a two-day event on March 7 and 8: For More Women in Nuclear: IAEA Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship and the Lise Meitner Programs.

After a historic COP28, it’s what happens next that matters

December 14, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
Applause at the conclusion of COP28. (Photo: Kiara Worth/UN Climate Change)

The United Nations' Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, closed on December 13 after debate on a “global stocktake” pushed negotiations a full day past the scheduled end date. Though advocates hoping for a phaseout of fossil fuels were ultimately disappointed and must settle for “transitioning away,” another first—after 30 years of global climate conferences—is the inclusion of nuclear energy among the zero-emissions and low-emissions technologies that still could, if deployment is accelerated, support deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

Wind and solar droughts can hit during peak grid demand—and last nearly a week

December 13, 2023, 12:05PMNuclear News

Cloud cover cuts solar generation, and on calm days wind turbines won’t spin. When cloudy and windless conditions coincide for hours or days, the result is called a compound energy drought. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory recently found that these energy droughts can last nearly a week in some parts of the country and that they overlap with periods of peak grid demand more often than would be expected by chance.

COP28 is the backdrop for new fuel commitments from the U.S. and allies

December 12, 2023, 12:01PMNuclear News

Leaders of five nations that collectively represent 50 percent of the world’s uranium conversion and enrichment capacity—the United States, Canada, Japan, France, and the United Kingdom—are making a habit of meeting on the sidelines of global climate talks to pledge their commitment to securing the nuclear fuel supply chain. On December 7 at the Net Zero Nuclear Summit—an event held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, during the UN Climate Change Conference, or COP28—representatives of those nations announced plans to “mobilize at least $4.2 billion” in government and private investment in enrichment and conversion capacity. The commitment expands on an initial civil nuclear fuel security agreement that the so-called Sapporo 5 reached in April 2023, when they met (as now, on the sidelines) during a G7 Ministers’ Meeting on Climate, Energy, and Environment in Sapporo, Japan.

COP28: American Nuclear Society applauds historic nuclear pledge by the U.S. and 21 countries

December 2, 2023, 11:56AMPress Releases

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES — Statement from American Nuclear Society (ANS) Executive Director and CEO Craig Piercy on the launching of the “Declaration to Triple Nuclear Energy” by the United States and twenty-one other countries during the World Climate Action Summit of the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC):

Mid-Atlantic Coast and Midwest selected for nuclear-to-hydrogen H2Hubs

October 18, 2023, 12:06PMNuclear News
Click image to enlarge.

The Department of Energy announced $7 billion on October 13 to launch seven regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs (H2Hubs) across the country and accelerate the commercial-scale deployment of clean hydrogen. Two of the seven hubs will feature hydrogen production using electricity—and possibly steam—from nuclear power. The federal government’s multibillion-dollar investment will be matched and exceeded by more than $40 billion from the awardees, for a total investment in clean energy and job creation near $50 billion.

U.S. agrees to share data, expertise with NEA Data Bank

August 17, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
DOE assistant secretary for nuclear energy Kathryn Huff and NEA director general William D. Magwood IV affirmed U.S. membership in the NEA Data Bank at DOE headquarters in Washington, D.C. (Photo: OECD NEA)

The United States has joined the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) Data Bank, a decision that marks “a significant stride in international collaboration for nuclear energy research, safety, and knowledge exchange,” according to the August 16 NEA announcement. “As a country renowned for its scientific and technological excellence, the United States will undoubtedly enrich the Data Bank's repository of data, software, and benchmarks and enhance its role in fostering responsible nuclear development.”

DOE land may be available for energy development projects

July 26, 2023, 7:01AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The Department of Energy is holding an initial Industry Day on July 28 that is open to parties with proven experience in implementing successful clean electricity projects generating 200 MW or larger.

The nuclear power disconnect in climate finance taxonomies

July 17, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News

The European Union agreed in July 2022 to include nuclear power in its taxonomy of environmentally sustainable economic activities. Yet as Columbia University senior research scholar Matt Bowen and research assistant Kat Guanio note in commentary published July 6 by Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, that policy decision remains “a bit of an outlier.” Despite nuclear energy’s anticipated role in achieving decarbonization, many climate finance taxonomies either explicitly exclude nuclear power or are discouragingly ambiguous.

Need a bigger nuclear workforce? Aiming for gender balance will help, says NEA

June 14, 2023, 9:46AMNuclear News
(Image: OECD NEA)

Deploying new reactors on the scale required to meet U.S. and international zero-carbon goals by 2050 will require rapid growth in the nuclear workforce, as American Nuclear Society executive director/chief executive officer Craig Piercy emphasized during his opening plenary address at the ANS Annual Meeting on June 12. Piercy pointed to the Department of Energy’s Pathways to Commercial Liftoff: Advanced Nuclear, which estimates that an additional 375,000 people will be required to construct and operate 200 GW of advanced nuclear reactors by 2050—a dramatic increase from about 100,000 today. Where will those engineers, constructors, and operators be found? The 38 nations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development agreed last week to a new recommendation from the OECD’s Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) that points to one way to increase the nuclear workforce: increase the number of women participating in the workforce.

Grandson of J. Robert Oppenheimer calls for nuclear cooperation to address energy crisis

May 19, 2023, 11:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Charles Oppenheimer, the grandson of the “father of the atomic bomb,” wants us to save the world with nuclear fission. In “Nuclear Energy’s Moment Has Come,” published in Time last week, Oppenheimer discusses why the public should embrace nuclear energy as a bipartisan solution to the climate crisis.

Purdue Boilermakers eye nuclear power for cleaner campus boilers

May 15, 2023, 7:01AMNuclear News

Purdue University and Duke Energy released an interim report on May 10 that documents the first year of an ongoing feasibility study, first announced in April 2022, that could help bring nuclear power to the state of Indiana. No technology has been selected and no decision to build a new nuclear plant has been made at Purdue University or elsewhere in the state, but in the Small Modular Reactor and Advanced Reactor Feasibility Study Interim Report the study participants conclude that “small modular reactors and advanced reactors are a viable option that warrant continued exploration to meet the future carbon-free energy needs of Purdue University and Duke Energy Indiana.”

Research quantifies the health and climate value of the U.S. nuclear fleet

May 9, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News
A still from a video posted by MIT that illustrates the air pollution that would be generated over one year by a grid with no nuclear power. (Credit: MIT)

Nuclear power is the single largest source of clean energy in the United States, but how can the value of “clean” be measured? Two recent reports by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, respectively, measured the clean energy benefits of nuclear energy in different ways: the benefits to human health from the air pollution avoided and the future economic value of avoided carbon emissions.

The NASEM report: Laying the foundation for a nuclear-powered, low-carbon grid

May 2, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
This slide on the right from the consensus committee’s public briefing identifies 10 core variables that are important to the success of advanced reactor deployments. (Image: NASEM, Laying the Foundation for New and Advanced Nuclear Reactors in the United States)

Richard Meserve, who for more than two years chaired the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) Consensus Committee on Laying the Foundation for New and Advanced Nuclear Reactors in the United States, introduced its 300-page report on April 27 during a public briefing.

Watch for it—Advanced nuclear “liftoff” needs 5–10 reactor contracts by 2025

March 31, 2023, 9:29AMNuclear News
These graphs illustrate how rapidly scaling the nuclear industrial base would enable nearer-term decarbonization and increase capital efficiency, versus a five-year delay to reach the same 200 GW deployment by 2050. (Source: DOE, Pathways to Commercial Liftoff: Advanced Nuclear, Fig. 1)

The Department of Energy released Pathways to Commercial Liftoff: Advanced Nuclear earlier this month. It is one of the first in a series of reports on clean energy technologies and the private and public investments needed to overcome hurdles to full-scale deployment. The report makes a clear case for investment in nuclear power and challenges potential investors and operators to move beyond the current “wait and see” stalemate and generate “a committed orderbook . . . for 5–10 deployments of at least one reactor design by 2025.”

X-energy, Dow agree to embed an Xe-100 demo at a Gulf Coast industrial facility

March 1, 2023, 3:07PMNuclear News
Artist’s rendering of an Xe-100 plant. (Image: X-energy)

Dow and X-energy announced today that they have signed a joint development agreement (JDA) to demonstrate the first grid-scale advanced nuclear reactor at an industrial site in North America within a decade. As part of the agreement, Dow is now a subawardee under X-energy’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP) Cooperative Agreement with the Department of Energy.

Fusion is prioritized in net-zero R&D initiative and IRA funds, but fission factors in too

November 10, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News
The U.S. ITER Project Office in Oak Ridge, Tenn. U.S. ITER has received $256 million in Inflation Reduction Act funding. (Photo: U.S. ITER)

Just days before COP27 and the U.S. midterm elections, the White House announced $1.55 billion in Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) funding for national laboratories and the launch of a Net-Zero Game Changers Initiative based on a new report, U.S. Innovation to Meet 2050 Climate Goals. Out of 37 research and development opportunities identified, fusion energy was selected as one of just five near-term priorities for the new cross-agency initiative. Together, the announcements signal policy and infrastructure support for fusion energy—the biggest chunk of Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC) IRA funding went to ITER, via Oak Ridge National Laboratory—and for advanced nuclear technologies to power the grid and provide process heat to hard-to-decarbonize industrial sectors.

GAIN’s Rachel Taow recognized as first C3E awardee from the nuclear field

November 8, 2022, 3:15PMNuclear News


Rachel Taow, who is the process modernization lead for the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) at Idaho National Laboratory, received an award in the category of law and finance during the 11th Annual C3E Women in Clean Energy Symposium and Awards, held on November 2 in Washington, D.C. Taow has 16 years of government contracting experience—the last six spent with GAIN—and was nominated for the award by GAIN director Christine King.

The Clean Energy Education & Empowerment (C3E) Initiative was created in 2010 to close the gender gap in clean energy fields, and since 2012, outstanding mid-career women in clean energy have been recognized at the annual C3E symposium. Nine women received awards this year, including—for the first time in the 11 years of the C3E award program—a woman working to advance nuclear energy.