A case of “nuclear power on the brain”

January 22, 2024, 12:22PMANS Nuclear Cafe


“I’ve got nuclear power on the brain this week.” So writes climate and energy reporter Casey Crownhart in a recent edition the Spark, the MIT Technology Review’s climate newsletter. In her article, Crownhart describes how, while she was conducting research on advanced nuclear energy for another article, she “went down some rabbit holes on . . . potential options for future nuclear plants” and has “reached new levels of obsession” about nuclear energy.

Nuclear primer: Crownhart’s article could serve as a primer for both basic nuclear and advanced nuclear technologies. She begins by discussing the “two absolutely essential pieces” of conventional nuclear power plants—namely, the enriched uranium fuel and the pressurized water cooling system—and explains that the cooling system “keeps the whole thing from getting too hot and causing problems.”

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!

National lab partnerships speed nuclear deployment

December 15, 2023, 4:56PMNuclear NewsDonna Kemp Spangler and Joel Hiller
BWXT’s microreactor components would be designed to be transported directly from the factory to the deployment site. (Image: BWXT)

“The tools of the academic designer are a piece of paper and a pencil with an eraser. If a mistake is made, it can always be erased and changed. If the practical-reactor designer errs, he wears the mistake around his neck; it cannot be erased. Everyone sees it.”

Many in the nuclear community are familiar with this sentiment from Admiral Rickover. A generation of stagnation in the industry has underscored the truth of his words. But as economies around the world put a price on carbon emissions, there’s a renewed sense of urgency to deploy clean energy technologies. This shifts the global balance of economic competitiveness, and it’s clear that the best path forward for nuclear requires combining the agility of private innovators with the technology and capabilities of national laboratories.

IAEA gives thumbs-up to Estonia’s nuclear infrastructure development

November 8, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News
Eric Mathet (left), operational lead of the IAEA’s nuclear infrastructure development section, presents the INIR mission report to Antti Tooming, deputy secretary general of Estonia’s Ministry of Climate and head of the country’s nuclear energy working group.

A team of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency recently concluded an eight-day mission to Estonia, finding that the Baltic state has developed a comprehensive assessment of its nuclear infrastructure development needs, enabling the government to make an informed decision on whether to pursue a nuclear power program.

NuScale selected to power data centers

October 10, 2023, 12:01PMNuclear News

Standard Power, a provider of infrastructure as a service to advanced data processing companies, has chosen NuScale Power as the technology provider for its plans to develop two small modular reactor–powered facilities in Ohio and Pennsylvania to run nearby data centers, the Portland, Ore.-based SMR developer announced on October 3.

U.K. picks six to advance in SMR competition

October 4, 2023, 12:08PMNuclear News

The U.K. government has chosen six companies to participate in the next stage of its small modular reactor competition: EDF, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, Holtec Britain Limited, NuScale Power, Rolls-Royce SMR (the only real home team), and Westinghouse Electric Company UK Limited. According to the government’s October 2 announcement, the advanced technologies offered by these firms are “the most able to deliver operational SMRs by the mid-2030s.”

Chubu Electric to invest in NuScale

September 14, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News

Chubu Electric Power Company, owner and operator of the three-unit Hamaoka nuclear power plant in Japan’s Shizuoka Prefecture, has entered into an agreement to acquire issued shares in U.S. small modular reactor firm NuScale Power from Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), the utility announced on September 7. (JBIC bills itself as a government-owned, policy-based financial institution that prioritizes investment in businesses that will protect the global environment.)

Kerry announces more U.S.-backed nuclear plans for Europe

September 11, 2023, 12:01PMNuclear News


During a side event held at last week’s Three Seas Initiative Summit in Bucharest, Romania, special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry announced U.S. actions to further the role of new nuclear technologies in accelerating the clean energy transition in Europe.

These actions, according to a September 7 media note from the U.S. State Department, expand on Romania’s leadership role in deploying the first small modular reactor in Europe and in converting a former Romanian coal plant to an SMR facility.

Building on his rollout of the Project Phoenix initiative at last year’s COP27 climate change conference in Egypt, Kerry said that proposals from the Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovakia have been selected to participate in the project and will receive support for coal-to-SMR feasibility studies.

NRC dockets application for updated NuScale design

August 2, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
Marking the NRC’s acceptance of NuScale’s standard design approval application for formal review are, left to right, Getachew Tesfaye, NRC senior project manager; Robert Gamble, NuScale vice president of engineering; Brian Smith, NRC director of the Division of New and Renewed Licenses; Carrie Fosaaen, NuScale vice president of regulatory affairs; Karin Feldman, NuScale vice president of the program management office; Robert Taylor, NRC deputy office director for new reactors; and Mark Shaver, NuScale director of regulatory affairs. (Photo: NuScale)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has accepted for formal review NuScale Power’s standard design approval (SDA) application for its updated small modular reactor design, the Portland, Ore.–based firm announced yesterday.

UAMPS subsidiary applies to NRC to begin CFPP construction activities

August 1, 2023, 9:37AMNuclear News
Concept art of the six-module Carbon Free Power Project, to be sited at INL. (Image: NuScale)

CFPP LLC, the limited liability company established by Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) in 2020 to bring its Carbon Free Power Project to fruition, has applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a limited work authorization (LWA) to permit certain early project construction activities prior to the issuance of a combined license (COL). In a July 31 news release, CFPP said that should its application be approved, early-scope construction on the small modular reactor project would likely begin in mid-2025.

Six firms unite for SMR deployment in Central & Eastern Europe

June 16, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
(Photo: Nuclearelectrica)

Six companies—NuScale Power, Romania’s nuclear plant operator Nuclearelectrica, E-Infra, Nova Power & Gas, Fluor Enterprises, and Samsung C&T Corporation—signed a memorandum of understanding on June 13 to collaborate on the deployment of NuScale’s VOYGR small modular reactor plants in Central and Eastern Europe, starting with Romania.

NuScale, Accelerant ally to develop operator training program

June 8, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
The NuScale control room simulator has been used to showcase the plant’s design, prototype new displays, and test the operator and supervisor procedures in a fully digital control room. (Photos: NuScale Power)

NuScale Power has signed an agreement with training and consulting firm Accelerant Solutions for the development and implementation of a reactor operator training program, the Portland, Ore.–based small modular reactor developer announced on June 7.

NuScale becomes latest member of Romanian nuclear group

May 25, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News

NuScale Power announced yesterday that it has joined the Romanian Atomic Forum, aka Romatom, as a supporting member “to champion the association’s nuclear energy goals and further the next generation of advanced nuclear technology experts, technologists, and operators in Romania.” The move further deepens the American small modular reactor company’s commitment to the deployment of a VOYGR SMR plant in the Central European state.

$275 Million for NuScale VOYGR deployment in Romania announced

May 24, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
President Biden met with the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom at the G7 Summit, held May 19–21 in Hiroshima, Japan. (Also pictured are representatives of the European Commission and European Council.)

On the sidelines of the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, over the weekend, the Biden administration and partners Japan, South Korea, and the United Arab Emirates announced a public-private commitment of up to $275 million to support the advancement of NuScale Power’s small modular reactor project in Romania.

NuScale, Nucor mull pairing SMR plants with steel mills

May 22, 2023, 12:03PMNuclear News
A Nucor electric arc furnace. (Photo: Nucor)

NuScale Power and steel manufacturer Nucor have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the deployment of NuScale’s VOYGR small modular reactor plants at Nucor’s scrap-based electric arc furnace (EAF) steel mills, the Portland, Ore.–based SMR developer announced Tuesday.

First international NuScale E2 Center opens

May 17, 2023, 7:47AMNuclear News
Officials from the U.S. and Romanian governments, NuScale, and Nuclearelectrica gather at the University Politehnica of Bucharest on May 12 to debut the first NuScale E2 Center in Europe in preparation for the deployment of a VOYGR SMR power plant in Doicești, Romania. (Photo: NuScale Power )

NuScale Power has announced the opening of its fifth Energy Exploration (E2) Center, at the University Politehnica of Bucharest, in support of the small modular reactor developer’s ongoing collaboration with the U.S. and Romanian governments and Nuclearelectrica, operator of Romania’s Cernavoda nuclear power plant.

U.S., Indonesia partner on SMRs

March 28, 2023, 12:01PMNuclear News
Dignitaries assemble after the signing of a memorandum of agreement to help Indonesia develop a nuclear energy program. Among those at the signing were Indonesia's minister for economic affairs Airlangga Hartarto, U.S. ambassador to Indonesia Sung Y. Kim, and U.S. Department of State principal deputy assistant secretary Ann Ganzer. (Photo: State Dept./Erik A. Kurniawan)

The United States and Indonesia have announced a strategic partnership to help the latter nation develop its nuclear energy program, supporting its interest in deploying small modular reactors to meet energy security and climate goals.