Commissioning work started at Turkey’s first nuclear plant

April 11, 2024, 3:05PMNuclear News
A model of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in Mersin, Turkey. (Image: VOA)

The first unit at Akkuyu, Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, has begun the commissioning process. The goal is that the plant will begin supplying energy to the nation next year, according to Rosatom, Russia’s state atomic energy corporation.

Nations envision nuclear reactors on the moon

March 25, 2024, 12:02PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Borisov

Russian space agency Roscosmos has announced its intention to build a nuclear reactor on the lunar surface in collaboration with the China National Space Administration. According to Roscosmos director general Yury Borisov, “Today we are seriously considering a project—somewhere at the turn of 2033–2035—to deliver and install a [nuclear] power unit on the lunar surface together with our Chinese colleagues.” The reactor would apparently be used to supply power to the Russian-Chinese International Lunar Research Station (ILRS), plans for which the two nations unveiled in 2021.

These plans come on top of previously announced plans of the United States and United Kingdom for lunar nuclear reactors.

Grossi, Putin meet to discuss Ukraine nuclear plant concerns

March 6, 2024, 3:03PMNuclear News
Vladimir Putin (left), Rafael Mariano Grossi (right), with Alexey Likhachev (Image: Kremlin.ru)

International Atomic Energy Agency director general Rafael Mariano Grossi visited Russia this week to discuss the “future operational status” of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Federal appropriations bills include $212 million hike in nuclear funding

March 5, 2024, 12:03PMNuclear News

New appropriations bills currently under review in the U.S. Congress include a significant funding boost for nuclear energy.

This week, ranking members of both the U.S. House and Senate released six fiscal year 2024 appropriations, including the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies bill that has nuclear energy funding for FY 2024.

Officials: Sole power source to Ukraine plant damaged in shelling

February 22, 2024, 12:01PMNuclear News
Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine. (Photo: DOE)

Russian shelling is being blamed for damage to the single remaining power source to Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, located on the front lines of the ongoing military conflict.

“After another attack by the Russians, the line that provided the energy supply to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear station was damaged,” Ukraine's power grid operator Ukrenergo said in a February 21 statement.

U.S. must become “world leader in nuclear power” again

February 15, 2024, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Donalds

Fleischmann

Two U.S. representatives—Chuck Fleischmann (R., Tenn.) and Byron Donalds (R., Fla.)—have published an op-ed in the Washington Examiner that calls for the United States to seize “the current nuclear economic opportunity worldwide” and “once again be the world leader in nuclear power.” The congressmen emphasize that “it is in the best interest of the United States and the rest of the world for our country, instead of China and Russia, to be the preferred partner for embarking nuclear nations.”

Atoms for Peace: Fleischmann and Donalds argue that President Dwight Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” speech in 1953 established the foundational principles for the domestic and global success of the U.S. civil nuclear energy industry—and they urge the nation to reclaim those principles now. They point to the numerous benefits of nuclear energy, ranging from economic development to desalination to sustainable fuel creation, and note that the “global market is ripe for nuclear technology.”

Iran plans four new nuclear plants

February 7, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News
The Bushehr nuclear power station, a 915-MWe facility, came on line in 2013. It is Iran’s only operating nuclear power plant. (Photo: Bushehr NPP)

A ceremonial ground-breaking event took place last week at the site where the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) says four new nuclear reactors will be built over the next 20 years.

IAEA chief: Situation at Ukraine plant remains “fragile”

February 6, 2024, 3:00PMNuclear News
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. (Photo: Energoatom)

Recent staff cuts at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP) are raising concerns among international nuclear watchdogs.

Ahead of his visit to the plant on February 7, International Atomic Energy Agency director general Rafael Mariano Grossi told the Associated Press that he will focus on the impact of personnel reductions, especially while Russia has denied access to employees of Ukraine’s nuclear operator, Energoatom.

Armenia’s positive lessons learned on nuclear power

February 6, 2024, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Danagoulian

Areg Danagoulian, associate professor of nuclear science and engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, draws on his experiences growing up in Soviet-era Armenia to argue that nuclear energy is crucial to “help strengthen liberal democracies that are being unprecedently threatened” by what he calls authoritarian regimes, such as Russia and China.

Disasters both natural and man-made: In his essay “How Nuclear Power Saved Armenia,” published by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Danagoulian recalls the shutdown of Armenia’s Metsamor nuclear reactors in 1989 in the wake of fears generated by the 1986 Chernobyl accident, which “dramatically undermin[ed] public trust in nuclear power as a safe source of energy.” He asserted that “the public perception of danger from nuclear power was magnified by the outrageous lies that the Soviet leadership spread about the disaster, the obvious incompetence and irresponsibility of the Soviet nuclear designers who built and operated the Chernobyl reactor, and the poorly executed cleanup efforts, which were compounded by miscalculations and gross mistakes.”

Ukraine accelerates plans for four new reactors

January 29, 2024, 3:10PMNuclear News
The Khmelnitskiy nuclear power plant, site of Ukraine's planned new reactors. (Photo: RLuts)

Ukraine plans to start construction on four new nuclear plants this summer or fall, the country’s energy minister said in televised remarks today.

The quicker timeline aims to compensate Ukraine for lost energy capacity as its war with Russia continues. Ukraine’s government, however, still needs to sign off on the plans.

“We need vessels,” said energy minister German Galushchenko.

U.K. backs advanced reactor future with £300 million for HALEU enrichment

January 16, 2024, 7:01AMNuclear News
Urenco UK’s Capenhurst enrichment site, which received a grant in July 2023 to prepare for HALEU enrichment. (Photo: Urenco UK)

The United Kingdom’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero announced plans on January 7 to invest £300 million (about $383 million) to build a high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) enrichment facility in northwest England. The goal? To “end Russia’s reign as the only commercial producer of HALEU.” Britain is now the first European country to declare that it will begin HALEU enrichment in a bid for supply chain security.

2023 in Review: April–June

January 11, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear News

Another calendar year has passed. Before heading too far into 2024, let’s look back at what happened in 2023 in the nuclear community. In today's post, compiled from Nuclear News and Nuclear Newswire are what we feel are the top nuclear news stories from April through June 2023.

Stay tuned for the top stories from the rest of the past year.

IAEA: Zaporizhzhia shores up backup electricity sources

January 4, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News

Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has taken action to ensure an immediate supply of backup electricity at the site in case the main external power line is lost.

Amid Ukraine's ongoing military conflict with Russia, Zaporizhzhia has experienced frequent power cuts. Since August 2022, the plant has suffered eight events with a complete loss of off-site power, according to a statement from International Atomic Energy Agency director general Rafael Mariano Grossi.

Atoms for Africa

December 18, 2023, 10:56AMNuclear NewsJames Conca
Africa is home to 1.5 billion people in 54 countries living on 12 million square miles. The economies of many of these countries are hobbled by a general dearth of energy that nuclear could solve without adding to the harm of global warming.

The World Nuclear Association and the African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE) last year signed a memorandum of understanding to encourage the use of nuclear energy in support of economic growth and sustainable energy development in Africa.

Ukraine update: Energoatom reports leak, blackout at Zaporizhzhia

November 16, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
Image: Energoatom

Blaming “the criminal actions of the ruscists,” Ukraine nuclear plant operator Energoatom this morning reported a primary-to-secondary reagent leak at Unit 5 of the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP), as well as a partial blackout at the facility earlier this week. (The term “ruscist” [рашизм] is a portmanteau of the words “Russian” and “fascist.”)

A focus where it is needed

September 7, 2023, 6:57AMNuclear NewsKen Petersen

Ken Petersen
president@ans.org

The front end of the fuel cycle is getting a lot of attention lately—and it needs it. The war in Ukraine has disrupted the global supply chain for many products, nuclear fuel being one. Several countries have determined that they no longer want to rely on nuclear fuel from Russia. This can be anything from fabricated fuel including uranium, conversion, and enrichment to just enrichment.

Since the Cold War, Russia has been a major supplier of nuclear fuel to the West. Replacing Russia as the main supplier will take both time and money—a fact that has become even more clear as the small modular reactor community grows, and with it, the demand for high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) for fuel.

The American Nuclear Society has been highlighting the immediacy of the fuel supply problem—which will become a crisis without immediate action—for years. In 2021, ANS wrote to Congress, urging swift action. This year, Nuclear News and ANS’s Nuclear Newswire have run a three-part series by energy writer and consultant Matt Wald on the domestic nuclear fuel shortage. The first article, “On the verge of a crisis: The U.S. nuclear fuel Gordian knot,” was published on Newswire on April 14; the second, “The U.S. nuclear fuel Gordian knot: From global supplier to vulnerable customer,” on May 19. The final piece of the series, “The U.S. nuclear fuel Gordian knot: The uncertain path forward,” was posted on September 1.

Statement from the American Nuclear Society on Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant following dam breach

June 6, 2023, 10:02AMPress Releases

Washington, D.C. — The American Nuclear Society Rapid Response Taskforce is monitoring the impact of the breach of the Nova Kakhovka dam on the upstream Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine.

Based on the best available information we believe there is enough water at Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to cool its six shutdown reactors, even if the downstream Nova Kakhovka dam is breached and the adjacent reservoir is drained.