Carbon value: Lifetime extensions of nuclear reactors could save billions in climate mitigation costs

June 24, 2022, 2:49PMNuclear NewsBeth Burmahl

On the road to achieving net-zero by midcentury, low- or no-carbon energy sources that slash carbon dioxide emissions are critical weapons. Nevertheless, the role of nuclear energy—the single largest source of carbon-free electricity—remains uncertain.

Nuclear energy, which provides 20 percent of the electricity in the United States, has been a constant, reliable, carbon-free source for nearly 50 years. But our fleet of nuclear reactors is aging, with more than half of the 92 operating reactors across 29 states at or over 40 years old—the length of the original operating licenses issued to the power plants. While some reactors have been retired prematurely, there are two options for those that remain: retire them or renew their license.

Page charges eliminated from ANS technical journals

January 4, 2022, 3:02PMANS News

For well over 30 years, ANS leadership has sparred with members of the academic community about the issue of page charges for ANS’s publications. Page charges have been in place all this time as a way to cover the cost of publication for those journals, as well as to support other beneficial activities of the Society. However, especially in recent years, attitudes among academic publishers have shifted, and page charges for technical journal publications are essentially extinct. ANS’s three technical journals—Nuclear Science and Engineering, Nuclear Technology, and Fusion Science and Technology—have held on to the page charge revenue stream despite vocal criticism from the community.

Until now.

Actinide Days are here!

August 26, 2021, 12:10PMANS News

ANS is celebrating Actinide Days by giving some exceptional radioisotopes the credit they deserve on social media, and today it’s double the fun, with both plutonium-238 and uranium-238 getting a turn in the spotlight. While the actinides may be buried in the bottom row of the periodic table, isotopes of these elements are hard at work in applications in medicine, industry, power, and space. Visit ANS on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to join the conversation and speak up for your favorite actinides.

ANS offers simplified name-change process to authors of published works

August 25, 2021, 3:01PMANS News

There are reasons that individual researchers might seek to update their name on previously published work, including marriage or divorce, gender transition, or a change in religious affiliation. Having a former name listed on journal articles can cause significant problems for researchers applying for a new position or grant, effectively disclosing a personal event and potentially subjecting the individual to discrimination.

The Economist asks why are people afraid of nuclear

March 23, 2021, 3:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

The Economist published a video earlier this month trying to answer the question of why is nuclear so unpopular. The video is paired with a story that appeared on The Economist's website advocating for a well-regulated nuclear industry. The video starts off with very dramatic images of nuclear weapons and scenes from popular culture like Godzilla, The Simpsons, and the recent HBO miniseries Chernobyl. The video provides a quick history of nuclear science and technology starting with Eisenhower's Atoms for Peace speech in an attempt to prove to the viewer that "nuclear is one of the safest, most reliable, and sustainable forms of energy, and decarbonizing will be much more difficult without it."

EU Taxonomy to Include Nuclear Energy as Sustainable Energy Source ANS Position

December 21, 2020, 10:25AMPress ReleasesCraig Piercy

A PDF version of the letter can be downloaded here.

I write on behalf of the American Nuclear Society (ANS) to recommend the EU’s inclusion of nuclear energy as a sustainable energy source securing Europe’s prosperous future. ANS and the 10,000 nuclear technology professionals it represents are committed to advancing, fostering, and promoting the development and application of nuclear sciences and technologies to benefit humanity.

IAEA awards fellowships to 100 female students in nuclear

December 7, 2020, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The International Atomic Energy Agency has awarded fellowships to the first group of 100 female students from around the world under a new initiative to help close the gender gap in nuclear science and technology.

The Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Program, named after the pioneering physicist, was launched by IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi in March to support women pursuing nuclear-related careers.

Space reactor technology making strides

June 5, 2020, 9:23AMNuclear News

Nuclear technology for space exploration just took a giant step forward. Researchers at the National Nuclear Security Administration and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration have conducted a series of tests as part of NASA’s Kilopower project for the development of a nuclear space reactor. The results have been published in a special issue of the American Nuclear Society’s journal Nuclear Technology, which includes eight papers that cover the design and testing of the Kilowatt Reactor Using Stirling TechnologY (KRUSTY) reactor, a 1-kWe space reactor with a cast uranium core, heat pipes, and Stirling engine power conversion.

Nuclear Technology publishes latest research on U.S. transient testing capability

May 27, 2020, 8:49AMNuclear News

View of the top of the TREAT reactor.

The Transient Reactor Test (TREAT) Facility at Idaho National Laboratory was restarted in 2018 after being in safe standby mode since 1994. The June 2020 issue of the American Nuclear Society's Nuclear Technology (NT) journal features seven technical papers related to the benchmarking of the facility. Wade Marcum, a lead researcher on the project and guest editor of June’s NT issue, explained, “The goal of this effort was to understand, to the best of our ability, the expected response of the TREAT reactor upon its restart.”

Looking Back: A Brief History of CONTE

January 2, 2019, 2:37AMANS Nuclear CafeDr. Jane LeClair

The accident that occurred at Three Mile Island on March 28, 1979, brought about many changes to the nuclear industry. Among the changes was the industry stopping to reflect on current procedures and the training of its employees. Exhorted by the findings of the Kemeny Commission and sponsored by the Department of Energy, industry leaders and training personnel began meeting on improvements to training at the Gatlinburg Conference in the early 1980's.

Nuclear Plant Construction Delay and Cost 3

November 2, 2018, 5:24PMANS Nuclear CafeWill Davis

Reactor vessel delivered to Calvert Cliffs; from brochure in Will Davis collection.

The year 1971 saw a continuation of the general trend of rising capital costs for all types of power plants, described by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) in its publication for 1971 as having "risen rather rapidly."  According to the AEC, the aggregate major causes for the increases in costs specific to nuclear electric power plants were as follows, with author's analysis accompanying each:

Advancing Nuclear: Paths to the Future

November 8, 2016, 2:41AMANS Nuclear Cafe

"How do we move nuclear energy into the future?" was the question asked and answered in a variety of ways during a fascinating speakers' session that followed this morning's opening plenary.  Several expert speakers in a variety of fields provided frank and illuminating commentary on the condition of nuclear now, and on the things that have to change for nuclear energy to be vibrant in the decades to come.