A look at SMRs for Australia

October 11, 2021, 12:01PMNuclear News

The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) last week released Small Modular Reactors in the Australian Context, an overview of SMRs, their potential role in Australia, and their likely operating costs.

The 36-page report, written by Australian nuclear energy advocate Ben Heard, takes a look at three of the most advanced SMR designs currently undergoing regulatory approval: NuScale’s Power Module, GE-Hitachi’s BWRX 300, and Terrestrial Energy’s Integral Molten Salt Reactor.

NuScale advances work with BWXT, builds out Canada’s SMR supply chain

September 17, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News
BWXT Canada’s Cambridge, Ontario, facility. (Photo: BWXT Canada)

NuScale Power announced earlier this week that manufacturing process development work on its small modular reactor—the NuScale Power Module—is advancing at BWXT Canada Ltd.’s Cambridge, Ontario, facility in preparation for module fabrication. NuScale said that this work is critical to the development of its SMR technology and is an example of the supply chain development opportunities for Canadian companies with the requisite power plant equipment expertise.

DOE, U.S. companies to assist Ukraine in energy transition

September 9, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News
Energy secretary Jennifer Granholm (seated at left) and Ukrainian energy minister Herman Galushchenko (seated at right) on August 31 sign an agreement to bolster U.S.-Ukrainian energy cooperation. Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, stands in the background. (Photo: DOE)

U.S. energy secretary Jennifer Granholm and Ukrainian energy minister Herman Galushchenko last week signed a joint statement of intent to advance energy and climate cooperation through the U.S.-Ukraine Strategic Energy and Climate Dialogue. The signing took place during a visit to Washington, D.C., by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky for meetings with President Biden at the White House.

NuScale, Xcel agree to explore future partnerships

August 18, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News
A still image from a three-part video tour of NuScale’s facilities. (Photos: NuScale Power)

NuScale Power has signed a memorandum of understanding with Xcel Energy to explore the feasibility of the utility’s serving as a plant operator at NuScale plants, the Portland, Ore.-based small modular reactor developer announced earlier this week.

Xcel owns and, through subsidiary Northern States Power Company, operates Minnesota’s two nuclear plants, Monticello and Prairie Island. The Monticello facility houses one 671-MWe boiling water reactor, while Prairie Island has twin 550-MWe pressurized water reactors.

NuScale to explore SMR deployment in central Washington

May 27, 2021, 9:31AMNuclear News
An artist's rendering of the NuScale plant. Image: NuScale

Portland, Ore.–based NuScale Power has announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Grant County Public Utility District (Grant PUD) to evaluate the deployment of NuScale’s advanced nuclear technology in central Washington state.

NuScale’s Reyes spreads word on SMRs

April 21, 2021, 3:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Reyes

José Reyes, cofounder and chief technology officer at small modular reactor developer NuScale Power, touted the potential of the firm’s technology to help solve the nuclear industry’s cost-overrun issues in an interview yesterday with Yahoo Finance. (At up to 77 MWe gross, the NuScale Power Module is the smallest of the light-water SMRs in development.)

Speaking with journalist Akiko Fujita, Reyes, an ANS member since 1977, also touched on nuclear’s role in addressing the issue of climate change.

The eight-minute discussion is available online, along with the interview transcript.

Road to advanced nuclear: How DOE and industry collaborations are paving the way for advanced nuclear reactors

April 2, 2021, 8:58AMNuclear NewsCory Hatch

As electric utilities rush to reduce carbon emissions by investing in intermittent renewables such as wind and solar, they often rely heavily on fossil fuels to provide steady baseload power.

More than 60 percent of the nation’s electricity is still generated with fossil fuels, especially coal-fired and gas-fired power plants that have the ability to quickly ramp up or ramp down power to follow loads on the electric grid. Most experts agree that even with a radical advancement in energy storage technology, relying exclusively on wind and solar to replace fossil fuels won’t be enough to maintain a stable electric grid and avoid the major impacts of climate change.

To complete the transition to a carbon-free energy future, one key piece of the puzzle remains: nuclear power.

Big Sky Country mulls small modular reactors

February 18, 2021, 6:58AMNuclear News

A Montana Senate committee last week passed a joint resolution calling for the creation of a legislative panel to study the feasibility of replacing the coal-fired units at the state’s Colstrip power plant with advanced small modular reactors.

Two of Colstrip’s four coal boilers were permanently closed in January 2020, and most energy-sector observers expect the remaining two units to be retired within the next few years, given coal’s declining prospects in states such as Washington, which has passed legislation banning utilities from using coal power after 2025.

The resolution, known as SJ3, also calls on the panel to evaluate current Montana regulations that need revision in order to enable the construction and operation of advanced nuclear reactors. The study would need to be concluded before September 15, 2022.

NuScale SMR chosen for U.K. wind-nuclear hybrid

January 18, 2021, 12:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe

British hybrid clean energy company Shearwater Energy announced on January 15 that it is joining with U.S.-based NuScale Power to develop a hybrid project using wind energy and small modular reactor technology to produce power and green hydrogen.

According to news reports, the two companies signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on an initial project, which could be sited at the now-decommissioned Wylfa nuclear power station on the island of Anglesey, off the northwestern coast of Wales. No land agreements have been reached, however.

Advanced reactors take center stage in Popular Mechanics

December 17, 2020, 6:59AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The January/February 2021 issue of Popular Mechanics hit subscriber mailboxes this week with a stark cover image of a single small reactor under the headline, “Tiny nuclear reactors are about to revolutionize American energy.” The story looks at advanced reactors as a pivotal step to “redeem nuclear’s stature in American energy.”

A good primer: The article does a good job introducing the casual reader to the idea that “bigger is no longer better” and that the future of nuclear power in the United States will most likely be “a combination of traditional large plants and smaller, safer megawatt reactors.”

Advanced reactors, including small modular reactors, show that nuclear is no longer a one-size-fits-all operation, the article notes. The industry now “is all about personalization,” says Ken Canavan, Westinghouse’s chief technical officer, who is quoted in the article. The capacity and scalability of SMRs “is just irreplaceable,” he adds.

The article explains that SMRs, microreactors, and other advanced reactor designs will be able to bring reliable, carbon-free power to small or remote locations, replacing fossil fuel power plants and supplementing the “resource-sucking downtimes left by renewables.”

NuScale module’s hydrogen production numbers updated

December 11, 2020, 6:58AMNuclear News

As a result of last month’s power uprate announcement from NuScale Power regarding its small modular reactor—a 25 percent increase to 77 MWe—the company has now announced updated evaluations for the technical feasibility and economics of producing hydrogen using heat and electricity from its SMR, the NuScale Power Module (NPM).

NuScale unveils Energy Exploration Center at Oregon State

November 30, 2020, 6:55AMNuclear News

NuScale Energy Exploration Center at Oregon State University. Photo: Business Wire

Small modular reactor developer NuScale Power has announced the opening of the NuScale Energy Exploration (E2) Center at Oregon State University (OSU).

The E2 Center is designed to offer users a hands-on learning opportunity to apply nuclear science and engineering principles through simulated, real-world nuclear power plant operation scenarios, according to NuScale on November 17. The center employs state-of-the-art computer modeling within a simulator of the NuScale SMR power plant control room, allowing users to take on the role of control room operator at a 12-unit NuScale SMR plant to learn about the features and functionality unique to the company’s SMR technology.

More to come: The E2 Center at OSU is the first of three planned installations of a NuScale power plant control room simulator at U.S. universities. Support for the centers was provided by a grant in 2019 from the Department of Energy. Additional information on the E2 Center is available here.

2020 ANS Virtual Winter Meeting: Advanced nuclear reactors and power systems

November 20, 2020, 1:04PMNuclear News

“Advanced Nuclear Reactors and Power Systems-I” on November 18 during the 2020 ANS Virtual Winter Meeting was the first of a three-session set examining the status of various advanced reactors. The sessions were sponsored by the Operations and Power Division and chaired by Piyush Sabharwall of Idaho National Laboratory.

Presentation topics in the first session included the core design and helium Brayton cycle design of the Holos-Quad microreactor, a microreactor design for a truck charging station, and a levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) estimation on HALEU (high-assay low-enriched uranium) fuels for small modular reactors.

Here are some highlights:

With DOE funds in hand, UAMPS preps for NuScale SMR licensing phase

October 20, 2020, 9:29AMNuclear News

An artist’s rendering of NuScale Power’s small modular nuclear reactor plant. Image: NuScale

Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) announced on October 16 that the Department of Energy has approved a $1.4-billion, multiyear cost-share award to Carbon Free Power Project LLC, a new business entity wholly owned by UAMPS that was created for the development and construction of a 720-MWe NuScale power plant—the Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP)—to be sited at Idaho National Laboratory. The funding comes as UAMPS prepares to develop the first combined license application (COLA) for a small modular reactor.

Statement from ANS Executive Director/CEO Craig Piercy on DOE award for UAMPS' Carbon Free Power Project

October 16, 2020, 11:54AMPress Releases

As the voice of American nuclear professionals, ANS applauds the Department of Energy's decision to award UAMPS' Carbon Free Power Project $1.355 billion in cost-sharing funding. The award will accelerate the deployment of NuScale's small modular reactors in supplying carbon-free power and ensuring the reliability of power grids with growing amounts of intermittent renewable electricity.

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Calling balls and strikes

October 13, 2020, 3:00PMANS NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy

As a not-for-profit scientific and professional organization, the American Nuclear Society’s raison d’être has always been the advancement of nuclear science and technology. While many among our diverse ranks may see themselves as advocates, it is important to recognize that ANS the organization will never take the place of industry trade associations like the Nuclear Energy Institute or the U.S. Nuclear Infrastructure Council. No, we will always be dedicated first to serving the men and women of the nuclear community, both here in the United States and around the world, as a source of news, technical knowledge, professional development opportunities, and scientific fellowship.

This should not in any way dissuade us, however—either individually or as a community—from engaging in the public discussion about nuclear technology, especially when debates become tainted by outright falsehoods or “fake news.” As we have seen in stark relief over the past eight months of pandemic-dominated life, the scientific community has a societal obligation to stand up and set the record straight when misinformation crops up. Simply put, we have to be prepared to call balls and strikes.

Op-ed: UAMPS project needed for abundant, carbon-free energy

September 18, 2020, 1:52PMAround the Web

Hunter

An op-ed piece in the September 17 Salt Lake City Tribune touts nuclear energy as needed for a carbon-free future. The piece was written by Doug Hunter, chief executive officer and general manager of Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS).