Bacteria found to reduce uranium mobility in clay

April 18, 2024, 7:04AMRadwaste Solutions
An artistic representation of a Desulfosporosinus cell with immobilized uranium on the surface. (Image: B. Schröder/HZDR)

Researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) research laboratory in Germany have investigated a microorganism capable of transforming water-soluble hexavalent uranium [U(VI)] to the less-mobile tetravalent uranium [U(IV)]. The researchers found that the sulfate-reducing bacterium Desulfosporosinus hippei, a relative of naturally occurring microorganisms present in clay rock and bentonite, showed a relatively fast removal of uranium from clay pore water.

Electron-Ion Collider coming to Brookhaven gets substantial U.K. investment

April 1, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear News
John Hill, deputy director for science and technology at BNL, with Ruqaiyah Patel, deputy director of UKRI North America, at a recent reception held by UKRI's North America office to mark the funding of the EIC. (Photo: BNL)

The U.S. Department of Energy is constructing the Electron-Ion Collider (EIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory to explore the boundaries of nuclear physics—both for the sake of science and to support diverse applications, including in nuclear medicine, radiation safety, and nuclear energy. The project, already supported by international collaborators in 40 countries, just secured a significant commitment from the United Kingdom.

Penn State welcomes neutron scattering device—a first of a kind in the U.S.

March 19, 2024, 9:37AMNuclear News
The Penn State RSEC recently received a SANS device. (Photo: Poornima Tomy/Penn State)

Staff and researchers at Penn State’s Radiation Science and Engineering Center (RSEC) will work this year to install a small angle neutron scattering (SANS) device and become the first and only U.S. university research reactor to host SANS capability. The $9.8 million device, donated by Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin (HZB) in Germany, will help researchers determine the structure of organic materials such as polymers, complex fluids, and biomolecules.

IAEA microplastic pollution research goes on location in Antarctica

January 17, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News
An IAEA researcher collects samples from the Antarctic shoreline. (Image: IAEA)

The International Atomic Energy Agency, in cooperation with Argentina, launched a scientific research expedition on January 6 to study microplastics in Antarctica—one of the planet’s most remote areas—as part of an effort to combat widespread microplastic pollution.

U.S. agrees to share data, expertise with NEA Data Bank

August 17, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
DOE assistant secretary for nuclear energy Kathryn Huff and NEA director general William D. Magwood IV affirmed U.S. membership in the NEA Data Bank at DOE headquarters in Washington, D.C. (Photo: OECD NEA)

The United States has joined the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) Data Bank, a decision that marks “a significant stride in international collaboration for nuclear energy research, safety, and knowledge exchange,” according to the August 16 NEA announcement. “As a country renowned for its scientific and technological excellence, the United States will undoubtedly enrich the Data Bank's repository of data, software, and benchmarks and enhance its role in fostering responsible nuclear development.”

New adsorbent shows promise in helping remove Cs+ from nuclear wastewater

July 11, 2023, 3:01PMNuclear News
(Image: Kuk Cho/Pusan National University)

Researchers from the Pusan National University in South Korea have developed a new calcium-doped ion exchanger for the removal of radioactive cesium from acidic nuclear power plant wastewater. The findings have the potential for developing more efficient and effective methods of remediating radioactive contamination.

Jacobs, University of Manchester launch robotics research center

May 26, 2023, 9:58AMNuclear News

The Texas-based engineering company Jacobs and the University of Manchester in England are forming a new international research center designed to create robotics and autonomous systems that the organizations say will play a key role in the response to climate change.

THOR puts fast reactor fuel to the test in U.S.-Japan TREAT collaboration

January 17, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
U.S. secretary of energy Jennifer Granholm and Japan’s minister of economy, trade, and industry Yasutoshi Nishimura lead energy discussions on January 9 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: DOE)

Researchers at Idaho National Laboratory have completed initial testing on a newly developed fuel test capsule that is expected to provide crucial performance data for sodium-cooled fast reactors. The Department of Energy announced on January 12 that the series of fuel testing experiments being carried out now at INL’s Transient Reactor Test Facility (TREAT) was developed through a joint project between the United States and Japan.

Fusion is prioritized in net-zero R&D initiative and IRA funds, but fission factors in too

November 10, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News
The U.S. ITER Project Office in Oak Ridge, Tenn. U.S. ITER has received $256 million in Inflation Reduction Act funding. (Photo: U.S. ITER)

Just days before COP27 and the U.S. midterm elections, the White House announced $1.55 billion in Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) funding for national laboratories and the launch of a Net-Zero Game Changers Initiative based on a new report, U.S. Innovation to Meet 2050 Climate Goals. Out of 37 research and development opportunities identified, fusion energy was selected as one of just five near-term priorities for the new cross-agency initiative. Together, the announcements signal policy and infrastructure support for fusion energy—the biggest chunk of Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC) IRA funding went to ITER, via Oak Ridge National Laboratory—and for advanced nuclear technologies to power the grid and provide process heat to hard-to-decarbonize industrial sectors.

The Leak: An account of Brookhaven’s HFBR, its leak, and its closure

October 18, 2022, 12:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Then energy secretary Bill Richardson decided to permanently shut down the HFBR in November 1999. (Photo: DOE)

“Why did a tiny leak bring down a hugely successful research reactor 25 years ago?”

That’s how Robert P. Crease, an academic who writes a regular column for Physics World, introduces The Leak: Politics, Activists, and Loss of Trust at Brookhaven National Laboratory, a book he wrote with former interim BNL director Peter D. Bond that was published this month by MIT Press.

“Were this story fiction, its characters, plot twists and ironies would be entertaining,” Crease writes in his October 5 Physics World post about the book. “But because it’s fact, it’s a tragicomedy.”

After six decades of IAEA research, NN revisits one scientist’s take on the agency’s early years

October 13, 2022, 3:05PMNuclear News
G. Robert Keepin, of Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, author of a three-part feature on the IAEA published in Nuclear News in January, February, and March of 1966; the cover of the January 1966 issue, featuring the IAEA’s first headquarters in the Grand Hotel of Vienna, Austria; and a February 1966 IAEA photo of remote handling of radioisotope standard sources at the Seibersdorf laboratory.

A groundbreaking ceremony held last week at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s laboratories in Seibersdorf, Austria, marked the start of construction on a nuclear applications building that will host three state-of-the-art laboratories: Plant Breeding and Genetics, Terrestrial Environment and Radiochemistry, and Nuclear Science and Instrumentation.It was a significant achievement for the second phase of the Renovation of the Nuclear Applications Laboratories initiative, known as ReNuAL2—and a fitting way to observe the 60th anniversary of the nuclear applications laboratories at Seibersdorf, about an hour’s drive south the IAEA’s headquarters in Vienna. For Nuclear Newswire, it was all the reason we needed to dig into the Nuclear News archives and explore the bygone days of research at the IAEA.

New method produces curium crystals for research in a radiochemistry first

September 21, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News
A new compound of curium photographed at LLNL during crystallography experiments. Crystals of this curium compound are uncolored under ambient light but glow an intense pink-red when exposed to ultraviolet light. (Image: LLNL/Deblonde)

Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Oregon State University (OSU) have developed a promising new method to isolate and study some of the rarest elements on Earth. Focused first on curium, they have identified three new complexes containing curium ions and revealed the molecules’ 3D structures, as well as previously unknown features.

NIST gets confirmatory order 18 months after research reactor fuel failure

August 3, 2022, 7:01AMNuclear News
NIST's Center for Neutron Research in suburban Gaithersburg, Md. (Photo: NIST)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced on August 2 that it had issued a confirmatory order to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for violating NRC requirements during a February 2021 fuel failure at the 20-MWt NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR) research reactor in Gaithersburg, Md. NIST committed to improving its training for fuel handing procedures and related management activities, safety culture program, reactor facility operations staff and management, corrective action program and operational procedures, and emergency response resources and procedures, among other things.

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.

INL researchers take microreactor digital twin for a spin

July 19, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
A screenshot taken from a INL video demonstrating MAGNET and its digital twin. (Source: INL)

Researchers at Idaho National Laboratory (INL) recently performed their first digital twin test of the Microreactor Agile Non-nuclear Experimental Testbed (MAGNET) and captured the demonstration in a video posted July 14. The digital twin—a virtual representation of a microreactor—was built using advancements in remote monitoring, autonomous control, and predictive capabilities that could help lower operating costs of microreactor technologies and enhance their safety.

General Atomics looks to silicon carbide for modular tokamak breeding blanket

July 15, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
This fusion tokamak cutaway illustrates how the GAMBL concept would be incorporated into a fusion pilot plant. The SiC-tungsten composite wall provides superior heat-removal capabilities and durability, and a modular approach enables fabrication using existing technologies. (Image: GA)

Researchers at General Atomics (GA) are proposing a breeding blanket made of modular silicon carbide–based components to withstand the intense conditions in a high-power fusion power plant. The GA modular blanket (GAMBL) concept is described in an article published this month in the journal Fusion Engineering and Design, and was introduced by GA in a July 13 press release.

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.

Universities get $61 million for 74 nuclear research and infrastructure awards

June 20, 2022, 12:04PMNuclear News

Advanced reactor coolants, consent-based siting, and offshore nuclear production of hydrogen are just a few of the topics included among the 74 nuclear science and technology projects awarded more than $61 million by the Department of Energy on June 17. The Nuclear Energy University Program awards, Integrated Research Projects, Nuclear Science User Facilities awards, and Infrastructure awards will support nuclear technology development, infrastructure improvements, and career opportunities at more than 40 U.S. universities in 29 states.

Penn State wants a Westinghouse eVinci microreactor on campus

May 19, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News
Representatives from Westinghouse and Penn State met at Westinghouse headquarters to sign a memorandum of understanding and enter a partnership focused on researching and developing microreactors. From left: Jason Beebe, director of the global transformation office at Westinghouse; Michael Valore, senior director of advance reactor commercialization, Westinghouse; Mike Shaqqo, senior vice president of advanced reactors, Westinghouse; Lora Weiss, senior vice president for research at Penn State; Jean Paul Allain, head of the Ken and Mary Alice Lindquist Department of Nuclear Engineering at Penn State; Geanie Umberger, associate vice president for research and director of industry research collaborations at Penn State; Saya Lee, assistant professor of nuclear engineering; Elia Merzari (back), associate professor of nuclear engineering; and Hilary Ruby, director of transformation for the Americas Operating Plant Services Business Unit at Westinghouse. (Photo: Westinghouse)

Penn State University has announced plans to explore siting a Westinghouse Electric Company eVinci microreactor on its State College campus in central Pennsylvania. Under a memorandum of understanding to perform research and development work that could advance the future commercial deployment of eVinci, a team of researchers in Penn State’s Ken and Mary Alice Lindquist Department of Nuclear Engineering also plans to explore how eVinci could displace some fossil-fueled energy sources on campus.