With reactor gone, Halden project lives on in human factors research

October 5, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear NewsPaul Menser

When Norway’s Halden research reactor shut down in 2018, nuclear researchers around the world were forced to scramble. For 60 years, the Halden Reactor Project offered a 25-MWt boiling water reactor for research where scientists could expand their understanding of nuclear fuel reliability, reactor internals, plant procedures and monitoring, and human factors.

NN Asks: How are universities approaching nuclear workforce issues?

August 29, 2023, 7:01AMNuclear NewsJohn Mobley IV

John Mobley IV

With the release of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pathways to Commercial Liftoff: Advanced Nuclear report this past March, there have been considerable discussions as to the multifaceted roles and responsibilities of universities in this epoch of renewed interest in nuclear energy. In particular, the imperative of securing an estimated 375,000 additional individuals for the construction and operation of 200 gigawatts of advanced nuclear reactors by 2050 is a significant endeavor that is front of mind for educational practitioners and policymakers. An understanding that the challenges in meeting the projected workforce needs of the nuclear community rely on dynamic, responsive, and innovative solutions thus is contingent on enhanced recruitment, retention, and development. To this point, a threefold approach of (1) IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity, accessibility) initiatives, (2) AGI (academia-government-industry) partnerships, and (3) gap analysis offers a promising avenue for addressing these issues.

Evolving finance structures drive new joint ventures for SMRs

June 7, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear NewsAndrew Paterson

Andrew Paterson

Having worked at the U.S. Department of Energy for a decade (1997–2007) and across the energy sector on the Environmental Business International board for 30 years, I have witnessed firsthand the widely shared opinion that the “next big thing” in nuclear will be small modular reactors for urban centers and to provide both heat and power for a variety of energy-intensive sectors. To meet the decarbonization demands of these urban centers, the current energy landscape is pushing many countries away from a “renewables-only” strategy. For example, the German Energiewende (or “energy turnaround”) formally started around 2000 under then chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to phase out nuclear toward mostly renewables (with natural gas backup imported from Russia). As demonstrated by the 2022 gas supply shock and price spikes, Germany created its own nightmare: They now suffer the highest energy prices in Europe, have an unstable grid, and are forced to use more coal.