Nonproliferation proponents call on Biden to oppose SHINE's proposed recycling plant

April 8, 2024, 3:01PMRadwaste Solutions

A group of 29 nonproliferation supporters sent a letter to President Biden asking that he withhold federal support for a proposed pilot plant for recycling spent nuclear fuel to be built by the Wisconsin-based fusion tech company SHINE Technologies. The experts further asked that Biden “discourage” the Nuclear Regulatory Commission from licensing the plant, claiming it would extract enough weapons-grade plutonium to build 100 atomic bombs a year.

EnergySolutions buys Cabrera; eyes work in Asia

March 21, 2024, 7:01AMNuclear News

Utah-based waste management company EnergySolutions is expanding its operations in the United States and Asia, announcing last week that it had acquired Cabrera Services, a U.S. provider of environmental and radiological remediation services. It also signed a memorandum of understanding with Germany’s GNS Gesellschaft für Nuklear-Service to provide services to the Asian nuclear market.

Orano, SHINE to cooperate on used fuel recycling plant

March 1, 2024, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions
Orano CEO Nicolas Maes (left) and SHINE Technologies founder and CEO Greg Piefer shake hands after agreeing to cooperate on a pilot used fuel recycling facility. (Photo: Orano)

Orano and SHINE Technologies have agreed to cooperate in the development of a pilot plant capable of recycling used nuclear fuel from light water reactors on a commercial scale. In announcing the signing of a memorandum of understanding on Thursday, the companies said the selection of a site for the pilot U.S. facility is expected by the end of this year.

Learn about a used fuel recycling pilot facility

February 29, 2024, 7:06AMANS News

Next Tuesday, March 5, the American Nuclear Society’s Nuclear Nonproliferation Policy Division will host a members-only event on the development of a U.S.-based used nuclear fuel recycling pilot facility. Ross Radel, chief technology officer of SHINE Technologies, will speak about the new initiative.

The webinar will take place from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (EST). Register now.

Study indicates pilot facility could significantly reduce waste volumes

February 27, 2024, 12:12PMRadwaste Solutions
Schematic of a deep horizontal borehole repository for nuclear waste. (Image: Deep Isolation)

Waste disposal start-up Deep Isolation and fusion tech company SHINE Technologies have announced the completion of a collaborative study assessing the costs of disposing of radioactive byproducts from a pilot spent nuclear fuel recycling facility.

Atoms: Get more from your fuel

September 27, 2023, 5:57AMNuclear News

From the pages of the September 2023 issue of Nuclear News.

For decades, more energy has meant more fuel: fossil fuels.

But nuclear fuel—unlike coal, oil, or even natural uranium—is a feat of engineering, not a commodity extracted from the earth. Now, “more” means more engineering—to boost uranium density or to close the fuel cycle.

Failure is not an option

July 6, 2023, 9:31AMNuclear NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy

Wow, that was a banger! The 2023 Annual Meeting had the energy level of an ANS Student Conference. That’s no easy feat. I’ve had several requests for my opening plenary remarks. Here is a shortened version, edited for reading:

So, “Failure Is Not an Option.” I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure about it in the beginning. It’s not anodyne like “Powering Our Future!” or some punny Indy reference like “Racing to the Finish.” It didn’t seem to fit our situation.

That phrase, popularized by the movie Apollo 13, has its origins in a time of crisis: three men trying to “eyeball” a free return trajectory to Earth while a team of NASA engineers figures out how to literally put a square peg into a round hole to save the astronauts’ lives.

Granholm talks nuclear and other energy issues with WSJ

May 22, 2023, 9:31AMANS Nuclear Cafe


Secretary of energy Jennifer Granholm recently discussed the future of clean energy with Christopher M. Matthews, the U.S. energy editor for the Wall Street Journal. The May 15 live Q&A focused on Granholm’s perspective on the Biden administration’s policies for decarbonization and energy security. Granholm, who mentioned nuclear briefly at beginning of her remarks, returned to the issue at the end of the half-hour interview. In her answer to Matthews’s question, she addressed nuclear industry incentives, safety and waste concerns, next-generation technologies, and fusion.

Fossil fuels? Matthews opened the discussion by noting President Biden’s signing of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) last year, allocating “billions of dollars in tax credits and federal loans to boost green energy, including electric vehicles, hydrogen production, and more.” He added, “At the same time, the administration has called on oil and gas producers to increase drilling to slow inflation and to tamp down energy prices.”

Climate group argues for recycling used fuel in fast reactors

April 10, 2023, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
Report author Mark Lynas and RePlanet’s Joel Scott-Halkes stand next to a canister of spent nuclear fuel at the Sizewell plant in the United Kingdom. (Photo: RePlanet)

A new report from the environmental advocacy group RePlanet makes the case for recycling used nuclear fuel for use in advanced power reactors. According to the report, What a Waste: How fast-fission power can provide clean energy from nuclear waste, by using current inventories of used fuel and depleted uranium stocks in Europe and the United Kingdom, fast breeder reactors could generate between 600 and 1,000 years of carbon-free electricity for the entire European Union.

Oklo submits licensing plan for fuel recycling facility

January 25, 2023, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions

Oklo said it has submitted a licensing project plan to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, outlining the company’s plans for preapplication engagement activities that support the future licensing of a used nuclear fuel recycling facility. The first-of-a-kind facility is intended to produce fuel to support the deployment of Oklo’s advanced fission power plants.

Forward fusion: Building a nuclear future in Wisconsin

January 13, 2023, 3:27PMNuclear NewsTim Gregoire
SHINE’s isotope production building, called the Chrysalis, under construction in October 2022.

In a former farm field just outside the historic town of Janesville in south-central Wisconsin, a large concrete-and-steel building is taking shape. Dubbed the Chrysalis, the building will eventually house eight accelerator-based neutron generators, which start-up company SHINE Technologies will use to produce molybdenum-99. As the precursor to the medical radioisotope technetium-99m, Mo-99 is used in tens of millions of diagnostic procedures every year, primarily as a radioactive tracer.

At the heart of the Chrysalis will be the high-flux neutron generators, being supplied by SHINE’s sister company, Phoenix. The compact accelerators use a deuterium-tritium fusion process to produce neutrons, which in turn induce a subcritical fission reaction in an aqueous low-enriched uranium target (19.75 percent uranium-235) to produce Mo-99.

DOE awards $38 million to advance used fuel recycling

October 26, 2022, 6:38AMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy is providing $38 million in funding for a dozen projects aimed at developing technologies to advance spent nuclear fuel reprocessing, reduce the volume of high-level waste requiring permanent disposal, and provide domestic advanced reactor fuel stocks. The projects are being led by universities, private companies, and national laboratories.

GAIN funds companies’ work with ORNL on reactor siting and reprocessing

October 13, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
An aerial view of ORNL’s main campus. (Photo: ORNL)

The Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) announced the three recipients of its fourth and final round of 2022 vouchers on October 10. The vouchers were awarded to Curio Solutions, which is developing a spent fuel recycling process, and to two companies that are separately investigating advanced reactor siting—Elementl Power and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The funds for each award will go directly to Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Trust is the coin of the realm

August 16, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy

It is often said that in Washington, “trust is the coin of the realm.” Of course, you can be forgiven for thinking these days that trust in politics is an outmoded concept—that the only coin of the realm today is, well, “coin.” But you would be wrong.

Behind the facade of political polarization and tribalism there still exists a genuine desire to make good policy. Of course, each side of the ideological spectrum will always have their preferred set of solutions, and those solutions will usually be “spiced” by the parties’ respective “bases.” But I never cease to be surprised by how much undetected common ground exists on practical matters.

During the last six months, in partnership with the bipartisan U.S. House Advanced Reactor Caucus, I have had the honor of moderating monthly Jeffersonian dinners on Capitol Hill with members of Congress and leaders from across the nuclear profession. If you are not familiar with the format, a Jeffersonian dinner requires that there be one single conversation at the table around a posed central question, such as, “Is nuclear energy overregulated?” or “Should the U.S. recycle its nuclear fuel?”

New Mexico State collaborates on spent fuel recycling under ARPA-E program

July 12, 2022, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

New Mexico State University is collaborating with TerraPower, Idaho National Laboratory, and Savannah River National Laboratory on a three-year project to develop a plan to recycle spent nuclear fuel. The project is being funded by an $8.5 million grant from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E), under the Optimizing Nuclear Waste and Advanced Reactor Disposal Systems (ONWARDS) program. ONWARDS is designed to increase the use of nuclear power as a reliable, clean energy source, as well to as limit the amount of waste generated by advanced nuclear reactors.

DOE funds R&D for advanced reactor fuel cycle management

March 14, 2022, 7:01AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) has awarded a total of $36 million for 11 projects to develop technologies that will limit the amount of waste produced from advanced reactors and will support sustainable domestic fuel stocks. The projects include research into the facilities and systems required to reprocess, recycle, and dispose of spent fuel generated through diverse advanced reactor fuel cycles.

ANS Grand Challenge: Closing the nuclear fuel cycle

February 15, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear NewsANS FCWMD Executive Committee

It seems like only yesterday that former ANS President Andy Klein announced the nine ANS Nuclear Grand Challenges that need to be addressed to ensure that existing and emerging nuclear technologies benefit current and future generations. The Fuel Cycle and Waste Management Division (FCWMD) immediately began tackling the grand challenge of closing the nuclear fuel cycle by sponsoring recurring panel sessions on the topic at subsequent ANS meetings.

Nuclear techniques to monitor—and prevent—plastic pollution

May 25, 2021, 12:04PMNuclear News
Plastic waste on a Galapagos beach. Sunlight, wind, and waves break down large plastic debris into smaller and smaller pieces to become microplastics. (Photo: F. Oberhaensli/IAEA)

The International Atomic Energy Agency has created a new program, NUclear TEChnology for Controlling Plastic Pollution (NUTEC Plastics), to address the global environmental impact of plastic pollution in oceans. It uses nuclear technology to monitor pollution and also to decrease the volume of plastic waste by using irradiation to complement traditional plastic recycling methods.