The Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E), a branch of the Department of Energy, is tasked with driving the research and development of cutting-edge energy technologies. The agency’s core emphasis is on mitigating emissions, increasing energy efficiency, reducing imports, ensuring energy systems resiliency, and offering transformative solutions for the management of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel (SNF). Its mission is instrumental in ensuring the United States retains its technological superiority in the design and implementation of new energy technologies. Efforts in SNF research also benefit prior investments in ARPA-E’s MEITNER (Modeling-Enhanced Innovations Trailblazing Nuclear Energy Reinvigoration) and GEMINA (Generating Electricity Managed by Intelligent Nuclear Assets) programs, which seek to substantially decrease the capital and operational expenditures associated with advanced reactors (ARs).
September 15, 2023, 3:31PMNuclear News
September 6, 2023, 7:01AMNuclear News
The American Nuclear Society will host the online event “Hispanic Excellence in the Nuclear Field” on September 20 at 10:00 a.m. (EDT), featuring a distinguished panel of nuclear experts. The panelists will share unique insights from their careers and discuss opportunities and challenges facing the future nuclear workforce, including what they see as future opportunities for the Hispanic community in the nuclear field.
September 1, 2023, 3:07PMNuclear News
In the last few weeks of 2021, when it was clear that the Russian invasion of Ukraine had put this country’s uranium fuel supply in jeopardy, nuclear energy advocates lobbied hard to attach provisions to various pieces of “must-pass” legislation—such as the National Defense Appropriations Act (NDAA), the Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and the CHIPS and Science Act—to have the government get the ball rolling on new domestic uranium fuel production capacity. Four times they thought they had succeeded, that Congress was going to allocate enough money to start the United States on the road to a secure supply of reactor fuel, including the higher-enriched fuel needed for advanced reactors.
July 28, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
In an 86–11 vote yesterday, the Senate passed the fiscal year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and with it, the Accelerating Deployment of Versatile, Advanced Nuclear for Clean Energy (ADVANCE) Act.
Introduced March 30 by the senatorial trio of Shelley Moore Capito (R., W.Va.), Tom Carper (D., Del.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.), The ADVANCE Act was endorsed by the Environment and Public Works Committee in May in a bipartisan 16–3 vote and was made part of the annual must-pass NDAA earlier this month.
On July 14, the House narrowly passed (219–210) its own version of the NDAA, containing several controversial amendments pushed by GOP conservatives. The two chambers are now faced with reconciling the two measures and producing a compromise version that can be sent to President Biden’s desk.
July 12, 2023, 3:12PMNuclear News
The energy ministries of Bulgaria and Ukraine have announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding to expand collaboration in the energy sector, including the nuclear energy sector.
June 1, 2023, 12:01PMNuclear News
The Senate Environment & Public Works Committee on May 30 approved the Accelerating Deployment of Versatile, Advanced Nuclear for Clean Energy (ADVANCE) Act in a bipartisan 16-3 vote.
May 31, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
The House Energy and Commerce Committee has advanced a bill to the chamber’s floor that, with certain exceptions, would ban the import of low-enriched uranium from Russia into the United States. Introduced in February by the E&C Committee’s chair, Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wash.), the Prohibiting Russian Uranium Imports Act (H.R. 1042) was approved in a (slightly) bipartisan 29–21 vote on May 24.
The legislation would start banning Russian uranium 90 days after its enactment but would also allow the Department of Energy to issue waivers should the DOE determine (1) that there is no alternate source of low-enriched uranium available to keep a U.S. nuclear reactor in operation or (2) that importing Russian uranium is in the national interest.
May 19, 2023, 3:01PMNuclear News
This article is the second in a series about the domestic nuclear fuel crisis. The first in the series, “‘On the verge of a crisis’: The U.S. nuclear fuel Gordian knot,” was published on Nuclear Newswire on April 14, 2023.
Once upon a time, enrichment was a government monopoly—at least outside the Soviet bloc. But the United States, eager to get out of the field, was convinced that the private sector could do it better. Now, the West is dependent on the Soviets’ successors and is facing an uncertain supply, a complication of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Slowly, a consensus is growing that dependence on imports is a bad idea. Some experts also say that upsets like the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, and the collapse of natural gas prices due to fracking, show that the market is too prone to shocks for private companies to navigate without support. One of the architects of the U.S. government’s exit from the enrichment game is now voicing second thoughts. And belatedly—shortly after the first anniversary of the beginning of the Russian invasion—five Western countries, including the United States, announced that they have to get more deeply involved in the fuel supply chain, but didn’t say precisely how.
April 14, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
The naturalist John Muir is widely quoted as saying, “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” While he was speaking of ecology, he might as well have been talking about nuclear fuel.
At the moment, by most accounts, nuclear fuel is in crisis for a lot of reasons that weave together like a Gordian knot. Today, despite decades of assertions from nuclear energy supporters that the supply of uranium is secure and will last much longer than fossil fuels, the West is in a blind alley. We find ourselves in conflict with Russia with ominous implications for uranium, for which Russia holds about a 14 percent share of the global market, and for two processes that prepare uranium for fabrication into reactor fuel: conversion (for which Russia has a 27 percent share) and enrichment (a 39 percent share).
November 17, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News
Rep. Jeff Duncan (R., S.C.), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has issued a three-page “Blueprint for Nuclear Innovation and Competitiveness,” highlighting nuclear policy priorities in the areas of licensing and regulatory modernization, financing, and fuel (including used fuel). According to a press release from Duncan’s office, the document aims “to help chart the course for the nuclear energy agenda in the next Congress and facilitate policy discussions among both lawmakers and industry leaders.” Published last week—along with a related “Dear Colleague” letter—the blueprint is also, according to E&E News, “a sign of his ambitions for landing a more senior role with the committee,” including a subcommittee leadership position should the GOP gain control of the House in the next Congress.
January 12, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
Foratom, the Brussels-based trade association for the European nuclear industry, wrote a letter yesterday to the European Commission welcoming the EC’s recent proposal to include nuclear in the EU taxonomy (under certain conditions), but also offering some suggestions for the proposal’s improvement.
The taxonomy is the European Union’s classification system for directing investments toward environmentally sustainable economic projects. On December 31, the EC’s nuclear-inclusive proposal was sent to expert panels from EU member states, with a response deadline of today. At a news briefing yesterday, however, an EC spokesperson announced an extended deadline of January 21.
January 12, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear News
The Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy (DOE-NE) last week released its Strategic Vision report, outlining its plan to support the current U.S. reactor fleet, demonstrate the latest innovations in nuclear energy technologies, and explore new market opportunities for nuclear energy.
The 36-page document identifies five goals to address challenges in the nuclear energy sector, help realize the potential of advanced technology, and leverage the unique role of the federal government in sparking innovation. Each goal also includes supporting objectives to ensure progress.
October 7, 2020, 3:01PMNuclear News
The U.S. Department of Commerce and Rosatom, Russia’s state atomic energy corporation, have signed a final amendment to the Agreement Suspending the Antidumping Investigation on Uranium from the Russian Federation. The amendment extends the 1992 pact through 2040 and reduces U.S. reliance on uranium from Russia during that time period, the DOC announced October 6.
Previously, the agreement was set to expire on December 31 of this year. According to the DOC, the document’s expiration “would have resulted in unchecked imports of Russian uranium, potentially decimating the front-end of the nuclear fuel cycle in the United States.”
The final amendment is unchanged from the draft version, released for public comment on September 11. (For more specifics on the amendment, see our story on the draft here.)
August 23, 2016, 7:56PMANS Nuclear Cafe
The era of the "first nuclear build" in the United States (from the Manhattan Project of the Second World War at the earliest, through the final commercial plant orders in 1978) was by nature one of nearly continuous "firsts" in its opening decades, as nuclear energy moved from being a thought to a possibility to a reality and took on many forms and nuances.
July 7, 2016, 6:42PMANS Nuclear Cafe
by Will Davis; information for this report obtained both from the 2016 ANS Annual Meeting session on Prototype Gen-IV Reactors and from representatives of the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI), its subsidiary Sodium-cooled Fast Reactor Development Agency (SFRA), KEPCO Engineering & Construction,+ and Argonne National Laboratory.
June 15, 2016, 11:51AMANS Nuclear Cafe
An interesting session at the ANS 2016 Annual Meeting, sponsored by the Fuel Cycle & Waste Management Division, saw the presentation of a number of interesting papers relative to the ever-increasing problem of used nuclear fuel at the various commercial nuclear plant sites in the United States. Not only does the used fuel (which is a far better term than "spent fuel," these days, since it can conceivably be reused) continue to accumulate at the nuclear plants, but there is also a considerable amount of used fuel being stored at various sites where the nuclear plants have actually been shut down, decommissioned and completely removed for years. Considering this, and the need to inventory, characterize and eventually move this material, a growing amount of interest is being shown in this field.
September 16, 2014, 1:30PMANS Nuclear Cafe
In August 2014, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved NUREG-2157, Generic Environmental Impact Statement for Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel. That action was the end result of several years worth of detailed analysis of the known and uncertain impacts of storing used nuclear fuel on the earth's surface in licensed and monitored facilities.
March 13, 2014, 2:57PMANS Nuclear Cafe
July 19, 2013, 6:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe
It's hot out! Across much of the United States, the largest heat wave of the summer has been stagnating all week.
February 19, 2013, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe