The state of U.S. Fusion

August 19, 2022, 2:56PMNuclear NewsCami Collins
The first sector of the ITER vacuum vessel was placed in the assembly pit in May. Here, a technician positions targets on the surface of the component to be used in laser metrology. (Photo: ITER Organization)

Delivery of electricity from fusion is considered by the National Academies of Engineering to be one of the grand challenges of the 21st century. The tremendous progress in fusion science and technology is underpinning efforts by nuclear experts and advocates to tackle many of the key challenges that must be addressed to construct a fusion pilot plant and make practical fusion possible.

TVA seeks 5 GW of clean energy, requires availability before 2029

July 13, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News
TVA's Watt Bar nuclear power plant.

As part of its strategy to achieve net-zero status by 2050, the Tennessee Valley Authority yesterday issued a request for proposals for supplying up to 5 GW of carbon-free energy that must be operational before 2029.

Researchers studying seismo-acoustic data application for nuclear nonproliferation

March 28, 2022, 7:09AMANS Nuclear Cafe
Aerial view of the High Flux Isotope Reactor. (Photo: ORNL)

The nonproliferation-related monitoring of nuclear reactor operations received a boost from a new study focusing on the use of seismic and acoustic data for such purposes, ScienceDaily reported last week. The study, conducted by investigators at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, was published March 9 in the journal Seismological Research Letters.

Tennessee governor gives nuclear another rhetorical boost

February 3, 2022, 7:22AMNuclear News


In his annual State of the State Address on January 31, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee offered more praise for nuclear energy, after lauding it earlier in the month during a tour of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar nuclear plant

“For decades, East Tennessee has been home to some of the best-kept secrets in nuclear energy and American innovation,” Lee told the state’s General Assembly. “Today, many may not realize that Tennessee derives more power from nuclear energy than from any other source. Recently, I visited the TVA’s Watts Bar nuclear facility, the last nuclear facility to be built in America, to see firsthand how nuclear power keeps our grid dependable even when the weather is not. Nuclear power is clean energy that actually works for the private sector.”

Tennessee Civil Rights pioneers recognized by the American Nuclear Society

December 2, 2021, 1:33PMPress Releases

The American Nuclear Society (ANS) has honored eighty-five Black former students from Tennessee, known as the Scarboro-Oak Ridge, TN 85, and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) with the society’s inaugural Social Responsibility in the Nuclear Community Award for their courage and leadership in pioneering the integration of public schools in the southeast United States.

Oak Ridge community meets a future neighbor: Hermes

September 29, 2021, 2:51PMNuclear News
Explore Kairos Power’s plans in a virtual open house.

By 2030, Kairos Power aims to demonstrate electricity production from a full-scale, 140-MWe fluoride salt–cooled high-temperature reactor, the KP-X. In service of that goal, Kairos plans to demonstrate Hermes, a scaled-down 35-MWth nonpower reactor, in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Hermes is being built to “prove our ability to deliver affordable nuclear heat,” said Mike Laufer, Kairos Power chief executive officer and cofounder, as he explained Kairos’s plans to the local community during a September 28 webinar now available to view on demand. Laufer took questions, and Kairos took the opportunity to introduce a virtual open house that visitors can tour to view videos and interactive features and even submit comments.

Kairos Power to hold virtual information session

September 24, 2021, 9:34AMANS Nuclear Cafe
An aerial view of the ETTP site. Photo: Heritage Center, LLC

Back in July, officials from the state of Tennessee and Kairos Power met in Nashville to celebrate Kairos’s plans to construct a low-power demonstration reactor in the East Tennessee Technology Park in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The demonstration facility is a scaled-down version of Kairos’s Fluoride Salt–Cooled High Temperature Reactor (KP-FHR), dubbed Hermes. The company first announced plans in December 2020 to redevelop the ETTP’s former K-33 gaseous diffusion plant site for construction of Hermes.

Innovations in instrumentation and controls from the Transformational Challenge Reactor program

August 27, 2021, 3:01PMNuclear NewsSacit Cetiner, Christian Petrie, Venugopal Varma, Nathan See, and Eliott Fountain

The Transformational Challenge Reactor (TCR) program was launched in 2019 to demonstrate that highly improved, efficient systems can be created rapidly by harnessing the major advances in manufacturing, materials, and computational sciences that have emerged since the end of the first nuclear era. The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory leads the TCR program, which includes contributing partners from other DOE national laboratories and the U.S. nuclear industry. The program leverages some of the nation’s leading scientists and engineers and draws from ORNL’s lengthy history, institutional knowledge, and capabilities in high--performance computing, materials science development, advanced manufacturing techniques, and nuclear science and engineering.

Kairos Power is building toward low-power demo operations in 2026

July 16, 2021, 9:00AMNuclear News
Artistic rendering of the Hermes low-power demonstration reactor. (Image: Kairos Power)

Today, Tennessee governor Bill Lee joined Department of Economic and Community Development commissioner Bob Rolfe and Kairos Power officials in Nashville, Tenn., to celebrate Kairos’s plans to construct a low-power demonstration reactor in the East Tennessee Technology Park in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The company first announced its plans to redevelop the former K-33 gaseous diffusion plant site at the Heritage Center, a former Department of Energy site complex, in December 2020.

Introducing the molten salt nuclear battery

June 25, 2021, 2:49PMNuclear NewsPaul Marotta, Richard Christensen, and Piyush Sabharwall

Molten salt reactor technology first gained popularity in the 1960s, through the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Now, decades later, a technology known as the molten salt nuclear battery (MsNB) is being developed to support the growing need for carbon-free, reliable, independent, and compact sources of small-scale heat and electrical power.

Oak Ridge brings fusion and fission together for clean energy synergy

June 8, 2021, 12:06PMSponsored ContentORNL
ORNL associate laboratory director Kathy McCarthy at the prototype which led to the Material Plasma Exposure eXperiment (MPEX), a device that will support fusion materials research. Photo: ORNL

Oak Ridge National Laboratory has a long record of advancing fusion and fission science and technology. Today, the lab is focused more than ever on taking advantage of that spectrum of nuclear experience to accelerate a viable path to fusion energy and to speed efficient deployment of advanced nuclear technologies to today’s power plants and future fission systems.

BWXT restarts TRISO fuel manufacturing

November 12, 2020, 9:39AMNuclear News

BWX Technologies Inc. announced on November 10 that its BWXT Nuclear Operations Group Inc. (BWXT NOG) subsidiary has completed its TRISO nuclear fuel line restart project and is actively producing fuel at its Lynchburg, Va., facility.

With the restart, BWXT now manufactures fuel across four commercial and government business lines, the company said. In addition to the TRISO line, BWXT operates fuel production lines at BWXT Nuclear Energy Canada, manufacturer of approximately half of the fuel powering the commercial reactor fleet in Ontario, Canada; BWXT subsidiary Nuclear Fuel Services, sole provider of nuclear fuel for the U.S. Navy; and BWXT’s Uranium Processing and Research Reactors operation, the only North American supplier of research reactor fuel elements for colleges, universities, and national laboratories.