Nuclear economics in a changed world

May 11, 2022, 9:30AMANS NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy
cpiercy@ans.org

Laurence J. Peter, author of The Peter Principle, said, “An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn’t happen today.” By that definition, I guess we are all economists now.

As I write this column, it’s still too early to know exactly how the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the world’s response to it, will shape the long-term economics of energy production, and specifically the economics of nuclear energy. But we can make a few logical guesses.

First, I think we will see a stronger security “overlay” to every energy policy decision we make in the next few years. Energy security is a potent motivator. France’s decision to go nuclear wasn’t a decarbonization play; it was a direct result of the Arab oil embargo of 1973, when most of its electricity was generated by oil-fired power plants.

American and European nuclear societies issue joint statement denouncing attacks on Ukraine's nuclear facilities and misinformation

April 5, 2022, 11:48AMPress Releases

The European Nuclear Society (ENS) and the American Nuclear Society (ANS) issued a joint statement expressing support for their Ukrainian colleagues and the International Atomic Energy Agency in ensuring the continued safe operation of Ukraine's nuclear power plants and facilities, amid Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Europe’s confused climate strategy

March 18, 2022, 3:55PMNuclear NewsMatthew L. Wald

Europeans are taking resolute steps to reduce their output of climate-changing gases, but some countries are moving in the wrong direction.

Many countries are adding solar and wind, which are low-carbon energy sources. Some have moved to biomass, the value of which as a climate cure is not clear. A few are adding reactors, while others are defining nuclear as dirty energy and natural gas as “clean” and are changing their generation mix accordingly.

ANS webinar looked at building domestic HALEU production capacity

March 16, 2022, 12:00PMANS News

The United States must ramp up the domestic production of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU), the panelists agreed during a March 11 members-only webinar held amid heightened concerns about energy security following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the day after Congress approved $45 million for the HALEU Availability Program for fiscal year 2022.

John Starkey, ANS director of public policy, moderated the webinar, which featured panelists Scott Kopple, senior director of government relations at BWX Technologies; Everett Redmond, senior technical advisor at the Nuclear Energy Institute; Benjamin Reinke, senior director of corporate strategy and advisor to the CEO at X-energy; Patrick White, project manager at the Nuclear Innovation Alliance (NIA); and Brad Williams, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee staff.

A recording of the webinar is available to ANS members.

Off-site power restored at Chernobyl — before power lines damaged again

March 14, 2022, 8:37AMPress Releases
Energoatom, photo of Rovno (Rivne) NPP. Rivne NPP | Energoatom

External power supplies were restored to the decommissioning Chernobyl facility following repairs of damaged power lines — before being reportedly damaged again, according to Ukraine's transmission system operator Ukrenergo.

Grossi returns from talks with Ukrainian and Russian foreign ministers in Turkey

March 11, 2022, 9:13AMNuclear News
At the press conference, Grossi explained that the IAEA has stopped receiving safeguards information from certain monitoring systems installed at Ukrainian nuclear facilities, as indicated by the red dots.

IAEA director general Rafael Mariano Grossi traveled to Antalya, Turkey, on March 10 to meet with Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba and Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss the safety and security of Ukraine's nuclear facilities. After returning to Vienna, Grossi held a press conference at which he said that a “common denominator” had emerged from the discussions and that both sides agree that something needs to be done. “They are both ready to work and to engage with the IAEA,” he said. “So this is a very important building block.”

Eleven years since Fukushima

March 10, 2022, 12:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe
The Fukushima Daiichi site before the accident.

Today’s #ThrowbackThursday post looks back at some of Nuclear News’s reporting on the Fukushima Daiichi accident, which was initiated 11 years ago tomorrow. The news reporting includes the initial coverage of the event from the pages of Nuclear News in April 2011 and the in-depth coverage of the 2011 ANS Annual Meeting, where special sessions focused on the accident.

Russian invasion taking its toll on Ukrainian nuclear workers

March 8, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News

The events of the past 12 days are unprecedented and nerve-wracking for the nuclear community. Never before has a nuclear power plant been in a full-scale war zone until the Russian invasion of Ukraine started on February 24. The world watched nervously as Russian troops and heavy equipment rolled through the Chernobyl site and then a week later attacked the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Russian forces are now less than 50 kilometers from the South Ukraine nuclear power plant.

Support Ukraine’s nuclear community impacted by war

March 1, 2022, 12:17PMANS News

The brave nuclear professionals of Ukraine and their families need support from the international community as they continue to safely operate their country’s nuclear fleet during the Russian invasion. In response to this need, ANS has set up the Ukrainian Nuclear Workers Humanitarian Fund to support the nuclear community in Ukraine.

"We stand in awe of the bravery and resolution displayed by the Ukrainian people,” ANS President Steven Nesbit said. “We need to do what we can to help our fellow nuclear professionals and their families across the globe as they deal with a situation no one should have to face."

ANS launches relief fund for Ukraine’s nuclear workers and families

March 1, 2022, 12:16PMPress Releases

The American Nuclear Society (ANS) has launched a humanitarian relief fund to help Ukraine’s nuclear professionals and their families impacted by the military invasion of their country.

Zaporizhzhia remains in Ukrainian control, Energoatom says

February 28, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
Energoatom issued this graphic dismissing Russian claims of control of Zaporizhzhia as “fake” on February 28. (Image: Energoatom)

Denying a Russian claim of control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Energoatom earlier today declared that “Russian propaganda media reports that the invaders allegedly took control of the Zaporizhzhia NPP are a cynical fake.” According to Energoatom, all four of its nuclear power plants are under the control of Ukraine and are operating normally with enhanced defenses.

Ukrainian nuclear plants are “ready for safe operation,” Energoatom chief says

February 24, 2022, 9:48AMUpdated February 24, 2022, 3:10PMNuclear News
A map of Ukraine and the nuclear sites around the country.

Russian forces invaded Ukraine today in what news sources are calling the largest military attack of one state against another on the European continent since World War II. These developing events follow an extraordinary meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission in Brussels on February 22, when NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said that Russia’s recent actions constituted “serious escalation” of tensions in the region and that Russia had shifted from covert attempts to destabilize Ukraine to overt military action. Well before this juncture was reached, news outlets had questioned the readiness of Ukraine’s nuclear power fleet to operate safely in a country at war and ensure energy security, while Energoatom, which operates all of Ukraine’s nuclear power reactors, has issued assurances of safety and security.

Looking back at 2021—Nuclear News January through March

January 7, 2022, 10:35AMNuclear News

This is the second of five articles to be posted today to look back at the top news stories of 2021 for the nuclear community. The full article, "Looking back at 2021,"was published in the January 2022 issue of Nuclear News.

Quite a year was 2021. In the following stories, we have compiled what we feel are the past year’s top news stories from the January-March time frame—please enjoy this recap from a busy year in the nuclear community.

  • Click here to see the first article in the series.

Save the VTR!

December 1, 2021, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe
Artist's rendition of the Versatile Test Reactor. (Source: DOE)