Two reports agree: Diverse advanced reactor fuel cycles can succeed

November 23, 2022, 6:39AMNuclear News

Advanced reactors and small modular reactors with strikingly different coolants and sizes offer an array of different benefits, but when it comes to fuel cycle issues, including spent fuel and waste, they have a lot in common with conventional light water reactors. Two reports released within the last week—a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Mathematics (NASEM) consensus committee report two years in the making and a Department of Energy study released by Argonne National Laboratory—address the timely topic of advanced reactor fuel cycle issues. While the NASEM committee ventured to define research and infrastructure needs to support the entire nuclear power fuel cycle, inclusive of new technologies, for decades to come, the DOE report compares the front- and back-end fuel cycle metrics of three reactor designs (from NuScale Power, TerraPower, and X-energy) that have been selected for DOE cost-share–funded demonstrations within this decade. Together, these reports provide assurance that the fuel cycle needs of a fleet of new reactors can be met and point to near-term research and planning needs.

U.S., Ukraine launch SMR project for clean hydrogen production

November 21, 2022, 7:13AMNuclear News
U.S. special envoy for climate John Kerry at COP27. (Photo: Embassy of Ukraine in the United States of America)

U.S. special envoy for climate John Kerry and Ukraine’s minister of energy German Galushchenko have announced a two-to-three-year pilot project aimed at demonstrating the commercial-scale production of clean hydrogen and ammonia from small modular reactors in Ukraine using solid oxide electrolysis.

Exporting American nuclear excellence

November 15, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear NewsSteven Arndt

Steven Arndt
president@ans.org

As I write, I am reflecting on my time at the International Atomic Energy Agency General Conference, held in Vienna during the last week of September. At the GC, I was able to meet with a number of U.S. companies that are actively doing business overseas, as well as a number of representatives from countries throughout the world that are using nuclear technology or hoping to do so. This experience—coupled with several other opportunities I have had since becoming ANS president to discuss the nuclear industry’s challenges and opportunities at national and international forums—has led me to conclude that despite the challenges our country faces, the world is still very interested in what the United States is doing in nuclear. What struck me in each of these interactions is the thirst for information about what the U.S. is doing—and what we can do for them. I think the reason for this is the enduring excellence the U.S. has always brought to the nuclear industry.

Coal-to-nuclear conversion: Opportunities and challenges

November 10, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
ANS's “Powering Our Future: The Coal to Nuclear Opportunity” panel discussion featured (top left, clockwise) Jessica Lovering, Patrick Burke, Kenya Stump, Andrew Griffith, Christine King, and Carol Lane. (ANS screenshot)

Since at least June of last year—when TerraPower and PacifiCorp announced plans to site the Natrium reactor demonstration project at one of Wyoming’s retiring coal plants—the concept of repurposing those plants to host nuclear reactors has been a popular topic of conversation among the energy cognoscenti.

“There’s going to be a cliff”: Preparing an international SMR supply chain

November 3, 2022, 12:32PMNuclear News
Participating in the forum were (from left) John Hopkins (NuScale Power), Renaud Crassous (EDF), Daniel Poneman (Centrus Energy), Adriana Cristina Serquis (CNEA), and Boris Schucht (Urenco).

The nuclear industry leaders assembled in Washington, D.C., last week to discuss small modular reactor supply chains agreed that lost generation capacity from the expected retirement of hundreds or thousands of coal power plants over the next decade—a cliff, in one panelist’s words—represents an opportunity that developers of SMRs and advanced reactors are competing to meet.

“I think in total 80 projects are ongoing,” said Boris Schucht, panel moderator and chief executive officer of Urenco Group, as he opened the forum. “Of course not all of them will win, and we will discuss today what is needed so that they can be successful.”

Offshore SMR would feature coastal construction and decommissioning

October 31, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
Conceptual layout and deployment of a Prodigy SMR Marine Power Station with 12 NuScale Power Modules. (Graphic: Business Wire)

NuScale Power and Prodigy Clean Energy announced on October 26 that they have developed a conceptual design for a transportable, marine-based small modular reactor. The companies plan to present the design to utilities, regulators, and shipyard manufacturers. Prodigy, a Canadian company “specializing in the development of transportable nuclear power plants,” and NuScale signed a memorandum of understanding in 2018 agreeing to pursue the development of an SMR marine facility.

ACRS backs NuScale’s smaller, PRA-informed emergency planning zone

October 25, 2022, 12:53PMNuclear News
A rendering of the six-module Carbon Free Power Project planned for construction in Idaho. (Image: NuScale)

NuScale Power announced October 20 that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) issued a letter the previous day agreeing with NRC staff’s approval of NuScale’s methodology for determining the plume exposure pathway emergency planning zone (EPZ). As approved, the methodology would permit a smaller EPZ—dependent on site-specific conditions, including seismic hazards—that provides the same level of protection to the public as the 10-mile radius EPZs used for existing U.S. nuclear power plants.

OPG, ČEZ to work together on SMR deployment

October 14, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
From left: Czech Republic deputy minister of industry and trade Petr Třešňák, ČEZ’s Tomáš Pleskač, OPG’s Ken Hartwick, Ontario minister of energy Todd Smith, and Canadian ambassador to the Czech Republic Ayesha Patricia Rekhi. (Photo: CNW Group/Ontario Power Generation)

Canada’s Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and Czech Republic–based ČEZ have agreed to collaborate on nuclear technology deployment, including small modular reactors, under a memorandum of understanding signed yesterday in Prague.

Ontario’s largest electricity generator and the European energy giant have both pledged to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.

Bids for SMR deployment in Estonia requested

September 26, 2022, 12:01PMNuclear News
The Estonian flag. (Image: WikiCommons)

Moving forward with its plan for small modular reactor deployment in Estonia, Fermi Energia has issued tenders to three SMR firms—GE Hitachi (GEH), NuScale Power, and Rolls-Royce, developers of the BWRX-300, NuScale Power Module, and Rolls-Royce SMR, respectively.

NuScale makes further headway with SMR plans for Poland

September 16, 2022, 6:55AMNuclear News
From left: NuScale president and CEO John Hopkins, Poland prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki, KGHM CEO Marcin Chludziński, and Ludwik Pieńkowski from AGH University of Science and Technology view a model of NuScale’s SMR technology. (Photo: Business Wire)

Portland, Ore.–based NuScale Power and KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. have signed the first task order and a statement of commencement to begin work under an agreement signed in February to initiate deployment in Poland of NuScale’s small modular reactor technology, the American firm announced this week. The task order was inked September 7 at the 31st Economic Forum, held September 6–8 in Karpacz, Poland.

Small and Advanced Reactors with Diverse Fuel Cycles Can Deliver Energy Security

July 29, 2022, 7:08AMNuclear News

Nuclear energy offers a pairing of high capacity factors and low carbon emissions unrivaled by other power sources, and advanced reactors and small modular reactors (SMRs) hold promise to deliver that power with even more efficiency and versatility. Researchers in the public and private sectors, backed by government funding through programs like the Department of Energy’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program and Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E), are bringing that promise closer to fulfillment by engineering solutions to open questions about advanced reactor materials and fuel cycles.

USA summit combines industry business and charity fundraising

July 21, 2022, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe
John Wagner, director of Idaho National Laboratory and president of Batelle Energy Alliance, delivered the keynote address at the 26th Annual Nuclear Generator & Supplier Executive Summit. (Photo: USA)

The 26th Annual Nuclear Generator and Supplier Executive Summit, hosted by Utilities Service Alliance (USA), was held at the Coeur d’Alene Golf and Spa Resort in Idaho from June 28 through July 1. About 375 attendees were present for this year’s meeting, themed “Nuclear’s Next Wave” which featured presentations and discussions on emerging nuclear technologies and designs, as well as an integrated tradeshow with about 50 industry suppliers exhibiting products, services, and ideas.

From NIA: New and updated reports on advanced nuclear

July 20, 2022, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The Nuclear Innovation Alliance (NIA), a Washington, D.C.–based nonprofit, has released a new report, Advanced Nuclear Reactor Technology: A Company Compendium, along with an update to its Advanced Nuclear Reactor Technology: A Primer, first published last September.

Both reports are meant to serve as resources for investors, reporters, policymakers, regulators, and others wanting to learn more about the different technologies and key players involved in the design, licensing, construction, and operation of advanced nuclear reactors.

NuScale/Paragon agreement offers reactor protection system to broader industry

July 15, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News
Rendering of a VOYGR plant. (Image: NuScale)

NuScale Power and Paragon Energy Solutions have signed a patent license agreement that will make NuScale’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission–approved reactor protection system architecture available to the broader nuclear industry, the two companies announced on July 12.

Known as the Highly Integrated Protection System (HIPS) platform, the system was developed by NuScale and Rock Creek Innovations (RCI), a hardware supplier of commercial nuclear protections systems, over six years of collaboration that began in 2010. Paragon, a supplier of safety-related parts and components, acquired RCI in December 2021.

U.S. to provide $14 million for Romanian SMR study

July 5, 2022, 12:09PMNuclear News

At the recent G7 summit in Germany, President Biden and other world leaders launched the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment—described by the State Department as an effort “to narrow infrastructure gaps around the world, strengthen the global economy and supply chains, and advance international security through strategic investments.”

Authors of SMR study reply to NuScale comments

June 13, 2022, 3:01PMNuclear News

On June 2, Nuclear Newswire published a letter from Jose Reyes, chief technology officer at small modular reactor developer NuScale Power, to May R. Berenbaum, editor-in-chief of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, regarding a research article published by PNAS two days previous. The article, “Nuclear waste from small modular reactors,” has grabbed more than a few headlines for its claim that SMRs will actually generate more nuclear waste than a standard large pressurized water reactor.

NuScale responds to SMR critique

June 2, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

A Stanford University–led research article on small modular reactors published Tuesday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) is not sitting well with SMR developers or, for that matter, with much of the largely pro-SMR nuclear community.

NuScale takes next step toward SMR deployment in Romania

May 25, 2022, 3:02PMNuclear News
The first overseas NuScale Energy Exploration (E2) Center is planned for Romania. (Photo: NuScale)

Small modular reactor developer NuScale Power announced on Monday the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Romania’s Nuclearelectrica to conduct engineering studies, technical reviews, and licensing and permitting activities at a site in Doiceşti, Romania, selected as the preferred location for the deployment of a NuScale VOYGR power plant.