Letting go

November 22, 2023, 8:09AMNuclear NewsCraig Piercy

Dear Nevada,

I hope you are doing well. We haven’t talked in a long time. I know you’ve moved on. But you know it’s been harder for me to do that.

Look, I’m sorry. I was forceful at times, and I know that made you feel trapped and caused you to question our relationship—pretty much from the beginning. But you also said some mean and untrue things about me. Your family still HATES me, which stinks, because we have a lot of history together.

Anyhow, just wanted to let you know that, while I might always hold out hope for a chance encounter with you that rekindles that old spark—and I will never part with our memory box—I am finally ready to move on to the next chapter of my life, and I understand that means letting go of you.

YouTube journalists offer education on nuclear energy

September 8, 2023, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe



Cleo Abram and Johnny Harris are young, independent video journalists—and friends and colleagues—who have been posting educational and supportive videos about nuclear energy on YouTube.

Abram describes her work as “making optimistic tech explainers.” The name of her show is Huge If True, “an antidote to the doom and gloom, helping its audience decode the world around them and see positive futures they can help build.”

American Nuclear Society recommends updating EPA repository regs

August 16, 2023, 9:15AMPress Releases

Downers Grove, Illinois – The American Nuclear Society (ANS) published a finalized report on recommendations for updating public health and safety standards for the permanent disposal of commercial used nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste at future geological repository projects in the United States.

New Generic Repository Environmental Standards: Draft Recommendations from ANS

February 17, 2023, 3:03PMRadwaste SolutionsPeter Swift, Michael Apted, Lake Barrett, John Kessler, and Steven Nesbit
An electric continuous miner machine cuts out a waste-emplacement panel at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant salt repository in New Mexico. (Photo: DOE)

Used nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive wastes are by-products of nuclear energy production and other applications of nuclear technology, and the consensus approach to disposing of those wastes safely is to encapsulate them and emplace them in stable geologic formations (geologic repositories) where they will be isolated from people and the environment for very long periods of time. The federal government has established environmental standards for waste isolation that any proposed geologic repository must meet.

In July 2021, the American Nuclear Society established a special committee to consider possibilities for revised generic environmental standards for disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste in the United States. The committee developed a number of recommendations, which are contained in a draft report that was to be issued in February for review and comment by stakeholders. The draft report can be found on the ANS website, at ans.org/policy/repositorystandard/.

The committee’s draft recommendations are based on two underlying assumptions. First, that the relevant legislative framework for regulation defined in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA) remains unchanged. Specifically, it is assumed that the Environmental Protection Agency will be charged with promulgating environmental standards for disposal and that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will be charged with reviewing applications for disposal facilities using licensing requirements and criteria consistent with the EPA standards. Second, that existing generic disposal standards will be updated or replaced.

Deep Isolation to launch demonstration center for borehole disposal

January 25, 2023, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions

Nuclear waste management start-up Deep Isolation has announced the formation of a new Deep Borehole Demonstration Center. The new nonprofit organization will seek to advance the maturity of the safety case for deep borehole disposal and the technical readiness levels of the borehole disposal concept, including characterization, construction, canister handling, emplacement, and retrieval.

Survey: Strong overall support in U.S. for nuclear, but with concerns

September 26, 2022, 3:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Results of the American Climate Perspectives Survey 2022 conducted by the climate-focused organization ecoAmerica suggest that the overall national support for research into advanced nuclear energy and for nuclear energy in general are continuing five-year upward trends. However, according to the survey, fewer than half of women responding to the survey support nuclear power. In addition, public concerns about nuclear-related waste disposal, health and safety, and weaponization remain high.

Profile focuses on Curio CEO and nuclear waste reprocessing

August 22, 2022, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe
Ed McGinnis, Curio CEO. (Photo: Curio)

Ed McGinnis, the chief executive officer of nuclear innovation startup Curio, is looking to solve the nuclear waste problem. In a profile published by CNBC, McGinnis says that nuclear waste is “a huge, huge unresolved problem representing pretty much the largest ball and chain on the ankle of the U.S. nuclear energy sector [which is] trying to transition itself for the next generation of reactors.” Curio, which has developed its NuCycle technology for chemically processing nuclear waste, is hoping to “rebrand nuclear as a means of unlocking the full potential of human ingenuity and aspiration,” according to the company’s website.

New Mexico governor vows that state will not accept spent fuel

July 18, 2022, 7:01AMNuclear News

In response to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s recommendation to issue a license to Holtec International for the construction of an interim nuclear waste storage site in southeastern New Mexico, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham released a statement condemning the regulatory agency as “effectively choosing profit over public interest.”

China’s prototype technology described as step toward energy independence

June 20, 2022, 9:27AMANS Nuclear Cafe
Roadmap for the China Initiative Accelerator-Driven System project development. (Image: Zhijun Wang/CAS)

Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Modern Physics are making strides with their China Initiative Accelerator-Driven System (CiADS) technology, which is being developed to get more life out of used nuclear fuel. Defense One, an online news source that focuses on “the future of U.S. defense and national security,” describes the prototype system as a step in moving China toward energy independence and advancing that nation’s “global leadership in climate-friendly technology.”

Latest stats on nuclear energy in Europe released by nucleareurope

June 14, 2022, 8:39AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The Brussels-based nuclear energy trade association nucleareurope has published its latest Infographics, containing a variety of facts and figures on the use of nuclear energy in Europe. Some of the many interesting bits of information in the publication are highlighted below.

Fast reactor technology getting renewed attention

June 7, 2022, 12:04PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Fast reactor technology, which can run on used nuclear fuel to generate energy, could fulfill U.S. energy needs for 100 years using existing waste, according to Jess Gehin, associate lab director at Idaho National Laboratory and an ANS member in a recent interview with CNBC. Gehin and other nuclear experts believe that this technology could provide substantial energy for the country, help resolve the debate over storing spent nuclear waste, and address the issue of climate change with more carbon-free energy generation. However, the commercial development of fast reactor technology has been hampered by political and economic roadblocks, which researchers are now seeking to overcome.

David Edsey: A view from outside the nuclear community

March 14, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear NewsRick Michal

David Edsey

This past October, the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis held a hearing titled “Good for Business: Private Sector Perspectives on Climate Action.” The hearing reviewed perspectives on the importance of the government’s investments in climate action and how these investments would contribute to job creation and economic growth. Those testifying included the founder of a solar energy company, the head of communications and policy for a popular outdoors clothing company, a former deputy energy secretary for the Department of Energy, and an executive from an insurance company.

While the solar company founder and the communications head spoke out against nuclear energy, the former deputy energy secretary, during testimony, was in favor of it. The insurance executive, David Edsey, also talked in support of nuclear during the committee’s Q&A session after testimony.

A look back at the Blue Ribbon Commission

March 3, 2022, 3:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Spent fuel in dry storage at the decommissioned Zion site in Illinois awaits a permanent home. (Photo: EnergySolutions)

The deadline for submitting comments on the Department of Energy’s request for information on using a consent-based approach to siting federal facilities for the interim storage of spent nuclear fuel is Friday, March 4.

Becoming agile and innovative in an evolving nuclear landscape: Changing the industry narrative for a strong future

November 29, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear NewsGleb Tsipursky
Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. (Photo: PG&E)

Last April, Entergy had to close its Indian Point nuclear plant. That’s despite the plant’s being recognized as one of the best-run U.S. nuclear plants. That’s also despite its 20-year license extension process having been nearly completed, with full support from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

This closure was due in large part to opposition by antinuclear environmental groups. These groups also mobilized existing negative public opinion on nuclear energy to get politicians to oppose the plant’s license extension. Another factor is unfair market conditions. Nuclear energy doesn’t get due government support—unlike solar, wind, and hydro—despite delivering clean, zero-emissions energy.

Oak Ridge upgrades waste shipment tracking system

November 8, 2021, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
A truck loaded with waste crosses the scale at the East Tennessee Technology Park at Oak Ridge. Each truck used by Oak Ridge contractor UCOR is equipped with a unique radio frequency identification card that logs its movements and weight and registers the data in a database.

UCOR, the primary contractor for the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OEM), recently transitioned to a new waste tracking system that improves how shipments are tracked from work sites to disposal locations.

The new system includes upgraded radio frequency identification (RFID) tracking for trucks, as well as new hardware and software, allowing for an automated tracking operation that delivers up-to-the-minute waste disposal data.

Decommissioning San Onofre

November 5, 2021, 3:37PMNuclear NewsJohn Dobken

Imagine it’s January 1998. A specially equipped train from the Department of Energy rolls up to the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) to pick up spent nuclear fuel and take it to the Yucca Mountain repository in Nevada. This scene is repeated thousands of times at nuclear plant sites across the U.S. over the ensuing decades. The solution to permanent spent fuel disposal as outlined in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (and its amendments) is working as intended. The nation’s commercial spent fuel is safely isolated deep underground for the long term.

But that is not what happened. Work on Yucca Mountain has been stalled for a full decade, and the organization within the DOE that by law is responsible for managing the spent fuel program has been defunded and disbanded.

Radiation safety expert debunks three myths about nuclear waste

July 20, 2021, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
Photo: University of Manchester (U.K.)

Nuclear waste should not be used as an excuse for trying to shut down nuclear reactors, says radiation safety expert Andrew Karam in his recent article for the American Council on Science and Health titled, “Let’s Talk about Radioactive Waste."

One small step for nuclear waste?

May 12, 2021, 5:55AMANS Nuclear CafeSteven Nesbit
The underground Exploratory Studies Facility at Yucca Mountain in Nevada built by the Department of Energy to determine whether the location was suitable as a deep geological nuclear waste repository. Courtesy of the Department of Energy.

It is no secret that the U.S. government’s program to manage and dispose of used nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste is in a deep ditch. Private companies continue to safely store used fuel at U.S. nuclear reactor sites, some of which ceased power operations decades ago. Other countries, such as Finland, Sweden, France, Canada, Switzerland, Russia, and China, are moving forward on permanent disposal, while for the past 11 years, the U.S. government has done nothing constructive to discharge its HLW disposal responsibilities. Rather than taking action, successive Congresses and administrations have sat on their collective hands.