American Nuclear Society publishes special issue of Nuclear Science and Engineering on Versatile Test Reactor

October 14, 2022, 2:37PMPress Releases
A rendering of the Versatile Test Reactor site. Image: INL

LA GRANGE PARK, Ilinois – Idaho National Laboratory’s crucial Versatile Test Reactor (VTR) project is the focus of a newly released special issue of Nuclear Science and Engineering, the first and oldest peer-reviewed journal in its field. This special issue of the American Nuclear Society’s flagship journal presents a current snapshot of the nuclear innovation project at INL, which is being developed in partnership among six national labs and a host of industry and university partners.

GOP lawmakers push to lower regulatory hurdles for small nuclear firms

October 5, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News

Donalds

Rep. Byron Donalds (R., Fla.) has introduced legislation in the House to help U.S. small businesses engaged or seeking to engage in the research, development, and deployment of advanced nuclear reactors.

Dubbed the Nuclear Assistance for America’s Small Businesses Act, the bill debuted September 29 with 10 of Donalds’s fellow House Republicans as cosponsors: Arizona’s Andy Biggs, Florida’s Maria Elvira Salazar, Georgia’s Buddy Carter, North Carolina’s Dan Bishop and Ted Budd, Ohio’s Bob Latta, South Carolina’s Nancy Mace, Tennessee’s Chuck Fleischmann and John Rose, and Texas’s Chip Roy.

Bill basics: The measure would amend the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act (NEIMA) to allow small businesses to delay 50 percent of their preapplication fees to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as well as 35 percent of their postapplication fees over a period of 10 years.

White House would send the DOE $1.5 billion to set up reliable LEU/HALEU supply

September 8, 2022, 3:06PMNuclear News
HALEU in the form of 1.5–3 kg reguli ready for fuel fabrication. (Photo: INL)

Those who welcomed the $700 million earmarked for high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) supply in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) in August have cause to celebrate again. The White House sent a supplemental appropriation request to Congress on September 2 that would provide more than double the IRA funds if passed—$1.5 billion—for the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy to build a reliable supply of both low-enriched uranium for existing U.S. nuclear power plants and HALEU for the advanced reactors that will be built within the decade.

ANS welcomes WISE interns back to Washington, D.C.

September 1, 2022, 9:30AMANS News
Tiara Carrasquillo Pérez (far left) and Matt Hageman (far right) are pictured with five other WISE interns and FMR Gil Brown (center front).

For the first time since 2019, student interns were welcomed to Washington, D.C., for the summer to participate in the Washington Internships for Students of Engineering (WISE) program. Among them were two students sponsored by ANS—Tiara Carrasquillo Pérez and Matt Hageman.

NWTRB releases updated report on national HLW programs

July 26, 2022, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board has issued a report to the U.S. Congress and the secretary of energy examining the programs for managing spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste in more than a dozen countries.

The report, Survey of National Programs for Managing High-Level Radioactive Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel: 2022 Update, is an update of a survey report issued by the NWTRB in 2009, in which the board described 30 institutional and technical attributes of nuclear waste management programs in 13 countries. Those countries, which include the United States, France, China, and the United Kingdom, account for 80 percent of worldwide nuclear power–generating capacity.

ANS virtual event: Experts share their expectations for low-dose radiation research

July 20, 2022, 3:00PMANS News

The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics released a report in June recommending that the United States invest a total of $1.5 billion in low-dose radiation research over the next 15 years. Congress is working through the Fiscal Year 2023 appropriations process at this writing, and many in the nuclear community are hopeful that research programs that have been starved of funding and leadership will be reinvigorated and bring long-overdue clarity to questions of low-dose radiation science, policy, and regulation.

House subcommittee asks for improvements to nuclear cleanup strategy

July 19, 2022, 7:07AMRadwaste Solutions
Rep. Jamaal Bowman during a hearing of the House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Energy.

The House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Energy held a hearing last week to evaluate the Department of Energy’s approach to research and development on new strategies and technologies to support the nuclear waste cleanup mission of its Office of Environmental Management (EM).

Register now for ANS virtual event on the future of low-dose radiation research

July 11, 2022, 7:00AMANS News

The United States could invest a total of $1.5 billion in low-dose radiation research over the next 15 years if Congress, the Department of Energy, the National Institutes of Health, and other stakeholders carry out the recommendations set forth in a National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics report released in June.

Join ANS Executive Director/CEO Craig Piercy on July 15 at 12 p.m. (EDT) for a free public webinar—“High Expectations for the Future of Low-Dose Radiation Research"—on the impact of the National Academies report as the U.S. embarks on a new era of low-dose radiation research.

U.S. Supreme Court rules against Hanford workers’ comp law

June 23, 2022, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
An aerial view of Hanford’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant in 2021. (Photo: Bechtel National)

The U.S. Supreme Court on June 21 struck down a Washington state workers’ compensation law that was designed to make it easier for workers at the Department of Energy’s Hanford Site to receive compensation benefits. The court, by unanimous decision, found that the law violates the U.S. Supremacy Clause and discriminates against the federal government and its contractors.

Located near Richland, Wash., the Hanford Site produced plutonium for the U.S. weapons program for more than 40 years and is currently undergoing a massive radiological cleanup mission involving around 10,000 workers.

The crucial role that universities play in our nuclear future

April 19, 2022, 12:09PMNuclear NewsBill Foster

Foster

New and existing nuclear reactors are among our most powerful tools if we hope to make a meaningful contribution to climate change before 2050. We don’t have a lot of time to reduce emissions to avoid catastrophic warming. It is our responsibility to develop a comprehensive response to address our dependence on fossil fuels, promote sustainable energy use, and invest in new energy technologies.

Science and engineering continue to make great strides in energy-­related technologies such as advanced nuclear reactors, long-­term energy storage, fusion energy, and the safe and secure handling of spent nuclear fuel. Using every viable tool to combat climate change will help ensure a safer world for us and for generations to come.

DOE publishes details of $6 billion civil nuclear credit program

February 17, 2022, 7:02AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy has officially launched its $6 billion civil nuclear credit program, which is intended to support nuclear power reactors at risk of shutting down because of economic factors. A notice of intent and request for information (NOI/RFI) regarding the program was published in the February 15 Federal Register. The DOE-NE had announced the program with the release of a pre-publication version of the NOI/RFI on February 10.

Levin and Issa reintroduce bill to remove spent fuel from San Onofre site

February 16, 2022, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions

Issa

Levin

Reps. Mike Levin (D., Calif.) and Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) have reintroduced bipartisan legislation that would make the San Onofre nuclear power plant in Southern California one of the highest priority sites in the United States for the removal of spent nuclear fuel. The bill is being cosponsored by Reps. Scott Peters (D., Calif.), Michelle Steel (R., Calif.), Katie Porter (D., Calif.), and Young Kim (R., Calif.).

The Spent Fuel Prioritization Act would amend the Nuclear Waste Policy Act to require the Department of Energy to prioritize spent fuel removal from decommissioned reactors based on the size of the population near the plant, the seismic hazard associated with the area, and any national security concerns. The bill does not call for a permanent repository or consolidated interim storage, nor does it authorize the transfer of spent fuel to any non-consenting state or locality.

House committee passes bipartisan university research infrastructure bill

January 21, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

A bipartisan bill to ensure that U.S. universities are equipped to play a key role in supporting the deployment of advanced nuclear technology and applications has been passed by the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

The National Nuclear University Research Infrastructure Reinvestment Act of 2021 (H.R. 4819) would boost investment in new and existing university nuclear science and engineering infrastructure, establish regional consortia to promote collaboration with industry and national laboratories, and support the development of advanced reactor technology and the workforce required for commercial advanced reactor deployment.

2022 ANS Congressional Fellow begins work on Senate committee staff

January 4, 2022, 12:01PMANS News

Marzano

Matthew Marzano is beginning a year of service in Washington, D.C., as the 2022 Glenn T. Seaborg Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow, and he is excited about bringing his nuclear power experience to the policy-making process.

“I am most looking forward to the opportunity to learn about the legislative process and the conduct of business on Capitol Hill. Oftentimes we are presented a picture of a dysfunctional Congress through the media, but I’ve gathered through the orientation process and congressional interviews that collaboration is alive and well, especially in the area of clean energy,” Marzano said.

Senators probe nuclear priorities: HALEU, hydrogen, reactor siting, and more

November 5, 2021, 9:29AMNuclear News
From left, Shannon Bragg-Sitton, Paul Chodak, and Michael J. Guastella appear before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on November 4.

As Congress awaited key votes yesterday on spending bills that include production tax credits for at-risk plants and a new amendment adding $500 million in supplemental funding over five years to increase the availability of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU), the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a Full Committee Hearing On Potential Non-Electric Applications Of Civilian Nuclear Energy. Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.V.), chairman of the committee, emphasized that “advanced nuclear reactors hold enormous potential to provide opportunity to communities across the country with zero-emission baseload power” and made it clear he expects new reactors to replace retiring coal plants in his home state of West Virginia.

Speaking before the committee were Shannon Bragg-Sitton of Idaho National Laboratory, Paul Chodak III of American Electric Power, and Michael J. Guastella of the Council of Radionuclides and Radiopharmaceuticals.

DOE releases its climate adaptation and resilience plan

October 11, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy has released its 2021 Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plan, outlining steps that it will take to ensure its facilities and operations adapt to and are increasingly resilient to the impacts of a changing climate. As announced by the White House last week , the DOE was one of more than 20 federal agencies to release climate change plans, which were developed in response to President Biden’s executive order on tackling the climate crisis, issued in January.

Markey, Levin introduce spent fuel legislation

September 30, 2021, 7:02AMRadwaste Solutions

Markey

Levin

Sen. Edward J. Markey (D., Mass.) and Rep. Mike Levin (D., Calif.) have introduced the Nuclear Waste Task Force Act. The legislation is intended to establish a new task force to consider the implications of amending the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 to remove exemptions from environmental laws for nuclear waste. Eliminating this loophole could help enable consent-based siting of long-term storage solutions for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste, the lawmakers said.

Intended to continue the work of 2012's Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, the task force would also be responsible for providing a clear explanation of what constitutes “consent-based siting.”

GAO urges Congress to address spent fuel stalemate

September 28, 2021, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
Spent nuclear fuel in dry storage at the decommissioned Zion nuclear power plant in Illinois.

Congress needs to take action to break the impasse over a permanent solution for commercial spent nuclear fuel, according to a report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. The GAO recommends that Congress amend the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA) to authorize a new consent-based siting process, restructure the Nuclear Waste Fund, and direct the Department of Energy to develop and implement an integrated waste management strategy.

The GAO also recommends that the DOE finalize the consent-based process it began in 2015 for siting consolidated interim storage and permanent geologic repository facilities. The DOE agrees with that recommendation.

Reps. Levin, Davis form bipartisan caucus to tackle stranded spent fuel issue

July 26, 2021, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions

Levin

Davis

Hoping to drive progress on the safe storage, transportation, and disposal of spent nuclear fuel across the country, Reps. Mike Levin (D., Calif.) and Rodney Davis (R., Ill.) have formed the Spent Nuclear Fuel Solutions Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives.

According to Levin and Davis, the bipartisan caucus seeks to address the challenges associated with stranded commercial spent fuel across the country and serve as a forum where House members can come together to make headway on the issue, regardless of whether or not they have a preferred solution.

In announcing the formation of the caucus on July 21, Levin and Davis said that the current system of spent nuclear fuel storage is not sustainable, particularly for sites that no longer have operating reactors and could be redeveloped for other beneficial uses. They added that it is also a violation of the promise, codified by law, that the federal government would take title to the waste in return for ratepayers’ contributions to the Nuclear Waste Fund.