Latest electricity cost estimates get new details on nuclear

July 1, 2024, 12:00PMNuclear News

Every year, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) puts out a set of technology-specific cost and performance parameters for electricity generation. Now in its 10th year, the Electricity Annual Technology Baseline (ATB) has nearly 100,000 users from 144 countries, according to NREL. Utility planners and grid operators who look to the ATB to assess their investment options in a changing market require complete and accurate information and will be glad to know that the 2024 Electricity ATB, released June 24, includes—for the first time—a range of data on nuclear energy.

U.S. nuclear capacity factors: Ideal for data centers?

May 10, 2024, 3:00PMNuclear NewsSusan Gallier

Baseload nuclear generation doesn’t get the respect it deserves, if you ask nuclear operators. But the hyperscale data centers that process our digital lives—like the one right next to the Susquehanna plant in northeastern Pennsylvania—are pushing electricity demand up. Clean, reliable capacity now looks a lot more valuable.

Regulators expand cooperation on reviews of advanced reactors and SMRs

March 15, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, and the U.K. Office for Nuclear Regulation have signed a memorandum of cooperation to collaborate on technical reviews of advanced reactor and small modular reactor technologies.

Buyers Guide celebrates 55 years

March 15, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear News

The newest edition of the Nuclear News Buyers Guide will be out soon, marking the 55th year of the most comprehensive goods and services publication in the nuclear industry. The American Nuclear Society invites all companies that perform or seek nuclear-related work to participate by identifying areas of expertise and providing contact information.

Reviewing the top nuclear headlines from 2023

January 7, 2024, 10:10AMNuclear News

The new year is here, and so it is time for the Nuclear News review of 2023's top stories. The recap will appear in the January issue of the magazine, on its way to American Nuclear Society members right now. In the meantime, all ANS members can read the year's issues in the ANS member center, and also review some of the most-read stories from Nuclear Newswire below. Here’s to a Happy New Year!

The Carolinas-Virginia Tube Reactor

December 22, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear NewsJeremy Hampshire
The Carolinas-Virginia Tube Reactor site, circa 1963. (Photo: Duke Energy)

The Carolinas-Virginia Tube Reactor (CVTR), also known as Parr due to its location in Parr, S.C., was a 65-MWt (17-MWe) pressurized tube reactor. Construction began in January 1960, and the reactor reached initial criticality in March 1963. Commercial operation commenced in December 1963, and the reactor was permanently shut down in January 1967 after the test program was complete.

Issues on microreactors and irradiation experiments planned for ANS's Nuclear Science and Engineering

December 14, 2023, 3:03PMANS News

Two teams of guest editors from Idaho National Laboratory have announced plans for special issues of the American Nuclear Society's Nuclear Science and Engineering, the nuclear community’s longest-running technical journal. Abdalla Abou Jaoude and Abderrafi M. Ougouag are leading the NSE issue Technical Challenges and Opportunities in the Development and Deployment of Microreactors, while Joseph Nielsen and Piyush Sabharwall are organizing the NSE issue Irradiation Experiments Supporting Advanced Nuclear Technologies.

Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” at 70

December 8, 2023, 3:03PMNuclear News

Seventy years ago to the day, President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave his historic address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. (See December 2023 Nuclear News's “Leaders” column to read the reflections of Kathryn Huff, the Department of Energy’s assistant secretary for nuclear energy, on the speech’s anniversary.)

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):

The design and legacy of Experimental Breeder Reactor-II

November 22, 2023, 4:16PMNuclear NewsJeremy Hampshire
Experimental Breeder Reactor-II (Photo: ANL)

If you head west out of Idaho Falls on U.S. Highway 20 and make your way across the Snake River Plain, it won’t be long before you’ll notice a silver dome in the distance to the north. One of the most recognizable structures in the history of nuclear energy, Experimental Breeder Reactor-II stands out from the desert landscape. The 890-square-mile site on which EBR-II is located is the former National Reactor Testing Station, now known as Idaho National Laboratory.

TAMU doctoral candidate seeks nuclear revival in the Philippines

November 22, 2023, 12:40PMNuclear News
A fuel rod is loaded into the core of PRR-1 SATER in this 2022 photo, in preparation for its operation. (Photo: PNRI)

The Philippines generates none of its electricity from nuclear energy. Until recently, it was even without a functioning research and training reactor. The lack of a nuclear facility has led to a dearth of scientific expertise in nuclear science and nuclear engineering in this nation of roughly 117 million people. Twenty-nine-year-old Ronald Daryll E. Gatchalian is on a mission to change that.

Washington state’s new nuclear energy caucus starts with a breath of fresh air

October 16, 2023, 9:15AMNuclear NewsJames Conca

Barnard

It’s late March 2023, and freshman state Rep. Stephanie Barnard (R., 8th Dist.) moves quickly through the halls of the capitol building in Olympia, Wash. She enters a room packed with state legislators—both Democrats and Republicans—who are waiting for a meeting to begin.

The event is part of the recently formed Nuclear Energy Caucus, and the featured speaker is Carol Browner, director of the Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy under President Obama and the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency during the Clinton administration. The meeting is a success, with animated discussion following Browner’s address.

Bechtel recruiting for Knoxville office

October 16, 2023, 6:59AMNuclear News
A ribbon cutting marked the opening of Bechtel’s Engineering Execution Center in Knoxville, Tenn. Pictured, from left, are Glenn Jacobs, Angela McAlpin, Sujal Lagowala, John Howanitz, Craig Albert, Wes Hines, and Mark Field. (Photo: Bechtel)

International engineering, construction, and project-management company Bechtel, which is headquartered in Reston, Va., opened its newest office, the Engineering Execution Center, in Knoxville, Tenn. The office—the second Bechtel has opened stateside in the last few months—will provide engineering support for the company’s numerous mission-based projects, and it is the second new U.S. office opened by Bechtel in the past few months—the other being in Chandler, Arizona.

2023 ANS Winter Conference and Expo coming to Washington, D.C.

October 6, 2023, 7:00AMANS News

The American Nuclear Society’s largest and most anticipated annual event, the Winter Conference and Expo, will take place November 12–15 at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C.

This year’s theme is “Maintaining the Momentum,” which suits nuclear energy’s current moment in the spotlight. In the last few years, public investment in both new and existing nuclear technology has expanded alongside a rise in public support and acceptance. Now is the perfect time for the nuclear industry to seize this momentum by coming together to maintain current nuclear plants, expand the nuclear workforce, strengthen supply chains and infrastructure, increase public and private sector investments, and continue to advocate for the benefits of nuclear power.

National Museum of Nuclear Science and History explores “atomic” culture

September 29, 2023, 12:06PMNuclear News
Comic books and cartoon characters began to be used to provide information and propaganda about nuclear weapons and energy in the 1940s. Items in the exhibition include True Comics #47 (1946), Bert the Turtle Says Duck and Cover (1951), The Mighty Atom, Starring Reddy Kilowatt (1959), and The H-Bomb and You (1955). (Photo: National Museum of Nuclear Science and History)

For many of us, the toys of our childhood leave indelible marks on our consciousness, affecting our long-term perceptions and attitudes about certain things. Hot Wheels may inspire a lifelong fascination with fast, flashy automobiles, while Barbies might shape ideas about beauty and self-­image. For the generation who grew up during the Atomic Age—the post–World War II era from roughly the mid-1940s to the early 1960s—the toys, games, and entertainment of their childhoods might have included things like atomic pistols, atomic trains, rings with tiny amounts of radioactive elements, and comic books, puzzles, and music about nuclear weapons.

The Shape of Water: Nuclear Divers Return to Sellafield’s Legacy Ponds

September 28, 2023, 3:38PMRadwaste Solutions
Josh Everett, a diver with UCC UK Ltd., enters bay No. 11 of Sellafield’s Pile Fuel Storage Pond in December 2022, the first time in over 60 years a diver has entered the legacy pond, used to store a variety of spent nuclear fuel types and wastes. During this commissioning nuclear dive, Everett’s underwater tasks included emergency diver extraction trial confirmation, radiation monitoring system verification, and radiation contact meter commissioning. (Photos courtesy of Sellafield Ltd.)

The last time a human entered the Pile Fuel Storage Pond at the Sellafield nuclear site in Cumbria, England, was in 1958, when records show a maintenance operator and health physics monitor carried out a dive into the newly constructed pond to repair a broken winch. At least that was true until December 2022, when Josh Everett, a diver from the U.K. specialist nuclear diving team Underwater Construction Corporation (UCC) UK Ltd., became the first person in more than 60 years to work in one of the most unique workplaces in the world.

50 minerals critical to our society

September 28, 2023, 7:15AMNuclear NewsJames Conca
Three of the USGS's critical minerals: (Left to right) A piece of native copper recovered by dissolution of the host rock (Photo: Jonathan Zander); A sample of praseodymium in a vial of argon (Photo: Jurii/Wikimedia Commons); A billet of high-enriched uranium that was recovered from scrap processed at the DOE’s Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn (Photo: DOE).

Last year, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released its 2022 list of 50 minerals that are essential to the function of our society, especially the economy and national security. Whether it’s indium for LCD screens and aircraft wind shielding, cobalt for iPhones, uranium for nuclear reactors and munitions, rare earth elements for wind turbine magnets, lithium for rechargeable batteries, or tantalum for electronic components, if we do not have an ample supply, bad things will happen.

Advancing fuel production and performance for the next generation of reactors

September 26, 2023, 7:05AMNuclear NewsW. A. “Art” Wharton III

W. A. “Art” Wharton III

Multiple market forces on nuclear fuel have arisen seemingly at the same time since the Russian war in Ukraine started. Accident tolerant fuels (ATF), lead test rods, and lead test assemblies have had their first shot in real operating conditions, in recent cycles. But the popularity of their so-called accident tolerance has nothing to do with accidents, since any practical nuclear professional knows that the safety of nuclear energy is already higher than that of any other electricity generation source. The popularity comes down to fuel performance. Are we on the cusp of a revolution in nuclear fuel performance under the guise of accident tolerance?

The U.S. nuclear fuel Gordian knot: The uncertain path forward

September 1, 2023, 3:07PMNuclear NewsMatt Wald

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.

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.