Time flies…

December 23, 2023, 9:43AMNuclear NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy
cpiercy@ans.org

"Craig, when you are climbing a mountain, make sure you stop once in a while to enjoy the view.”

An old colleague would sometimes say this to me. It’s hard to believe, but last month marked four years as the Executive Director/CEO of the American Nuclear Society.

If you were an ANS member in the fall of 2019, you know the Society was amid a decade-long decline. Membership numbers were falling, the operational deficit was rising, staff morale was poor, and productivity was low. The fear among the elected leadership was that without significant change, ANS could cease to exist in any meaningful or functional way.

I am immensely grateful for the elected leadership of that time—people like ANS past presidents Bob Coward (2017–2018) and Marilyn Kray (2019–2020), who delivered the ANS Change Plan 2020, which provided a road map for modernizing the organizational structure of ANS.

Atoms: Get more from your fuel

September 27, 2023, 5:57AMNuclear News

From the pages of the September 2023 issue of Nuclear News.

For decades, more energy has meant more fuel: fossil fuels.

But nuclear fuel—unlike coal, oil, or even natural uranium—is a feat of engineering, not a commodity extracted from the earth. Now, “more” means more engineering—to boost uranium density or to close the fuel cycle.

Atoms: Space travel plans

April 26, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News

Earthbound air travel can be a hassle, even for careful planners. So if you’re heading to the Moon or beyond, it’s time to shift your planning into hyperdrive. Our advice, when there’s no guidebook, no proven vehicle, and your destination is a moving target? Don’t forget to pack your nuclear power bank.

Atoms for space

April 17, 2023, 12:01PMNuclear NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy
cpiercy@ans.org

Dear member:

Hello from our temporary headquarters in Downers Grove, Ill. Yes, after two years of twists and turns, we have finally completed the sale of our legacy La Grange Park property and are in the process of building out our new space, which will be ready for occupancy later this year.

I know many of you have memories made in “the Schoolhouse,” which served as American Nuclear Society headquarters for nearly 50 years. At one time during the golden age of paper recordkeeping, it housed nearly 100 employees. As the business of running a professional society evolved with the information age, however, so too did our workforce and space needs. Stately though it was, 555 Kensington Avenue proved simply too expensive to heat, cool, mow, plow, and otherwise maintain to an acceptable standard.

Nuclear science and technology in space

April 12, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear NewsSteven Arndt

Steven Arndt
president@ans.org

Anyone who has heard me speak about the American Nuclear Society recently knows that I like to remind people of the ANS mission and vision statements. I invite people to read the exact words: Our mission is to “advance, foster, and spur the development and application of nuclear science, engineering, and technology to benefit society”; our vision is to see “nuclear technology . . . embraced for its vital contributions to improving peoples’ lives and preserving our planet.”

The meaning behind these statements is that ANS is here to help the profession save the world. I take that seriously: We are here to save the world. This month, Nuclear News is focusing on nuclear science, engineering, and technology’s role in space exploration both now and in the future. When we look at our mission, this is very fitting. The use of nuclear power systems in space goes back almost to the start of ANS. In 1961, the Transit 4A satellite became the first U.S. spacecraft to be powered by a radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG). Combined with solar cells, RTGs have been used on the Moon and on satellites and to explore the solar system and beyond. One of the interesting things about these power sources is that they were used to provide both provide electricity and heat to keep the systems they were supporting from freezing. Since then, additional nuclear systems have been designed and developed—including fission power reactors and nuclear thermal propulsion—that will provide significantly more power and faster space journeys.

Notes from the 2023 NN Reference Section

March 21, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News

This year marks the 25th year that ANS's Nuclear News magazine has published its Reference Section, which features a world list of nuclear power plants, maps showing worldwide plant locations, tables with information on U.S. plant renewals, and international data tables and graphics. What follows are interesting tidbits that Nuclear Newswire has picked up from this year's Reference Section, which was published in the March NN.

From the Reference Section
Five power reactors started commercial operations around the world in 2022 and five more closed, leaving the total number of operable nuclear power reactors in this 25th Annual Reference Section at 434, the same as the year before. What’s more, that number is just one more than the 433 power reactors listed in the 1st Annual Reference Section back in 1999. But make no mistake, plenty has changed over 25 years. Read on.

ANS-DOE discussion on decarbonization

December 6, 2022, 3:01PMANS News

ANS will host a members-only event on December 7 from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. EST with Jigar Shah, director of the Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office (LPO). Craig Piercy, ANS executive director and chief executive officer, will lead the interview.

Register now: Hear about the ambitious goals of the Biden administration to decarbonize the power sector by 2035, which were highlighted in Shah’s article in the November issue of Nuclear News. Shah will also discuss how nuclear can be an important part of the decarbonized energy mix in the United States and how he believes the LPO can support the administration’s target.

60 years of headlines from the Advanced Test Reactor

March 24, 2022, 3:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Cover of the April 1962 issue of Nuclear News (left), ATR core diagram appearing in October 1969 issue of Nuclear News (center), and cover of the October 1969 issue of Nuclear News (right).

The Department of Energy and Idaho National Laboratory announced this week that the sixth major core overhaul of the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) is complete, after an 11-month outage that began in April 2021. The ATR was built as a key piece of mission support for U.S. Navy programs and first reached full power in 1969. Today it remains “the world’s largest, most powerful and flexible materials test reactor,” in the words of INL—quite a feat for a reactor that was planned over 60 years ago.

Looking back at 2021—ANS

January 7, 2022, 7:35AMNuclear News

This is the first of five articles to be posted today to look back at the top news stories of 2021 for the nuclear community. The full article, "Looking back at 2021,"was published in the January 2022 issue of Nuclear News.

Quite a year was 2021. In the following stories, we have compiled what we feel are the past year’s top news stories—please enjoy this recap from a busy year in the nuclear community. But first, what about ANS itself? Let’s look at some of ANS’s activities in 2021.

On alpha, flak, and jack

September 7, 2021, 9:30AMANS NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy
cpiercy@ans.org

This month’s issue of Nuclear News focuses on the role of probabilistic methods in assessing and mitigating the risk of adverse events at nuclear plants and facilities. It’s a timely topic as we move to launch a new generation of nuclear technologies, but it is only half of a larger question that is universal to the human condition: Are the rewards of a particular thing worth its attendant risks?

Nuclear engineers use hard technical terms like “probabilistic risk assessment” and “core damage frequency,” but other industries have much more colorful ways of describing the holistic risk-reward construct in their world. In finance, it’s known simply as “alpha.” A zero alpha investment suggests that its returns are commensurate with the associated risks. Negative alphas get pushed to the curb, and “high alpha” deals get Wall Street hedge fund managers their house in the Hamptons.

Another year, another ANS president

July 12, 2021, 3:08PMANS NewsSteven P. Nesbit

Steven P. Nesbit
president@ans.org

It’s like clockwork. In June of every year, the American Nuclear Society brings in a new elected leader for the next 12 months. I’m Steve Nesbit, the latest in a line of distinguished (and maybe a few not so distinguished) nuclear professionals who have had the honor and privilege of serving as ANS president.

This is your lucky day. Everything you ever wanted to know about me, but were afraid to ask, is in an article in the July issue of Nuclear News (page 28). Instead of plowing that ground again here, I’ll take advantage of my monthly column to cover a few other topics that are hopefully of value.

52nd annual Buyers Guide is available

May 13, 2021, 12:01PMNuclear News

Nuclear News magazine has just released the 52nd annual Buyers Guide. This nuclear directory lists more than 600 companies worldwide in 475 business categories used throughout the nuclear community.

For more than 50 years, this annual directory has been a useful resource for utility professionals and the broader nuclear community to find the products, services, and partners needed for their next project. In addition to industry use, the Buyers Guide (and the monthly issues of Nuclear News) serves the nation’s nuclear engineering programs and are delivered to the 10,000 members of the American Nuclear Society. This special issue helps keep the current and future workforce and industry leaders informed about vendors and their areas of expertise, as well as about the ongoing projects and new innovations and technologies being used throughout all segments of the nuclear industry.

Axios reviews “green” fuel options for commercial shipping

March 10, 2021, 12:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe

In an article published on March 5, Axios reviews the ways the world’s maritime companies are trying to decarbonize. The maritime industry, “from ferries to freighters—is trying to navigate a once-in-a-century transition away from fossil fuels to new, cleaner means of propulsion,” the article explains.

Emissions from shipping: The article notes that the world’s economy relies on international shipping, with more than 90 percent of global trade traveling via maritime vessels. The issue, though, is that “the vessels burn about 4 million barrels of oil a day, accounting for almost 3 percent of the world’s carbon emissions.” The article then cites a United Nations report from 2018 that sets greenhouse gas reduction targets of 50 percent by 2050 compared to 2008 levels.

ANS participates in virtual Waste Management Symposia

March 9, 2021, 9:29AMANS News

The American Nuclear Society has a strong presence at the virtual Waste Management Symposia 2021 (WM2021), March 8-12, 2021. It is the first time the event is being held virtually, a decision made by the organizers with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in mind.

ANS’s involvement: ANS Executive Director/CEO Craig Piercy is among the presenters of awards, including those for the best oral and poster presentations/papers from last year’s event. ANS President Mary Lou Dunzik-Gougar is a featured speaker in a STEM panel. She will discuss ANS’s Navigating Nuclear program during the “Setting the Hook: Partnering to Reel in STEM Students Early” panel on Thursday. The presentation is one of three panels dedicated to STEM initiatives for younger students.

China on course to lead in nuclear by 2030, says IEA

March 4, 2021, 3:18PMNuclear News

China will have the world's largest nuclear power fleet within a decade, an International Energy Agency official noted during a session at the High-Level Workshop on Nuclear Power in Clean Energy Transitions, World Nuclear News reported on March 3.

The workshop was held jointly by the IEA and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The IEA official, Brent Wanner, head of Power Sector Modelling & Analysis for the agency's World Energy Outlook publication, said that as nuclear fleets in the United States, Canada, and Japan reach their original design lifetimes, decisions will have to be made about what will happen after that. Absent license renewals, the contribution of nuclear power could decline substantially in those countries while China’s reactor building program will boost it into the first position.

Our flagship moves forward

July 16, 2020, 7:06AMNuclear NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy

Originally published in the July 2020 issue of Nuclear News.

Dear reader:

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the new Nuclear News! What you are seeing is truly the product of a team effort, led by our Director of Publications John Fabian and veteran Editor-in-Chief Rick Mi­chal, to fundamentally reimagine the way we bring you news and insights from the wide world of nu­clear science and technology. Nuclear News has always been the flagship publication of the American Nuclear Society, but in recent decades our visual format has gotten a little, well . . . long in the tooth.

Experimental Breeder Reactor I: A retrospective

December 19, 2019, 5:29PMANS Nuclear CafeWill Searight

In the not-so-distant 20th century past, our planet was in an uncertain new-world order. The second of two major wars had dramatically reshaped the landscape of the world's nations. It was not by any means assured that the extraordinary nuclear process of fission, which itself had been discovered mere years before the second war's end, would be successfully utilized for anything but the tremendous and frightening powers realized in thermonuclear warheads. In the years following, a humble project materializing out of the National Reactor Testing Station in Idaho was to challenge that assertion and demonstrate that nuclear fission could indeed be a commercial, peaceful source of electrical power for civilizations around the globe.

RadioNuclear 22: HBO’s Chernobyl: A Setback or Opportunity?

June 27, 2019, 2:14PMANS Nuclear CafeDoug Hardtmayer

Episode 22 of RadioNuclear is now available. In this episode, we discuss the recent miniseries "Chernobyl", which recently concluded on HBO. We debunk some of the more egregious articles written in the wake of the show (see links to these articles below). We also discuss good ways to engage with individuals who are captivated with the show, and not necessarily familiar with nuclear technology.

Anniversary Observations

March 11, 2019, 6:00AMANS Nuclear CafeAlan Medsker

The seismic event was huge and was felt all over the world.  With a moment magnitude of over 9.0, the earthquake and was the fourth largest ever in the more than 100 years of recorded history.  Huge land masses shifted as much as 2.4 meters, and the rotation of the earth was changed so that days were suddenly just a little (but measurable) bit shorter.  It had sped up the world.