Legislation introduced to reestablish U.S. as global nuclear energy leader

April 13, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News



Sens. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) and Jim Risch (R., Idaho) recently introduced the International Nuclear Energy Act of 2022, a measure aimed at developing a strategy to counter the growing influence of Russia and China on the global civil nuclear export market.

Manchin is chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Risch is the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee.

Bill basics: The legislation, according to the lawmakers, would:

  • Establish an office to coordinate civil nuclear exports strategy, establish financing relationships, promote regulatory harmonization, enhance safeguards and security, promote standardization of licensing framework, and create an export working group.

Plutonium transported from IAEA laboratory to Oak Ridge

March 30, 2022, 9:46AMNuclear News

Truck loaded with nuclear cargo before departing the IAEA’s Nuclear Material Laboratory. (Photo: NNSA).

Plutonium from an International Atomic Energy Agency laboratory in Austria has been removed to the United States, the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration announced on March 29.

The plutonium was shipped from the IAEA’s Nuclear Material Laboratory in Seibersdorf, Austria, to Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, where it will be used in sealed sources for nonproliferation research and development.

Safeguards: The plutonium included in the shipment represents approximately 15 years of accumulated residue from inspection samples collected in support of the IAEA’s safeguards mission, according to the NNSA. Technical experts from ORNL and Savannah River National Laboratory worked with a team from the IAEA for several years to complete all activities required for the safe and secure transportation of the material to Oak Ridge.

ORNL researchers employ extraction probe for rapid safeguards analysis

October 19, 2021, 7:29AMNuclear News
ORNL’s Benjamin Manard places a swipe on the extraction stage of Advion’s Plate Express, a microextraction tool that has been paired with a mass spectrometer. (Photo: Carlos Jones/ORNL, DOE)

International nuclear safeguards verification relies on a precise count of isotope particles collected on swipes during International Atomic Energy Agency inspections of nuclear facilities and isolated through a series of lengthy chemical separations that can take about 30 days to complete. On October 15, Oak Ridge National Laboratory—a member of the IAEA’s Network of Analytical Laboratories (NWAL)—announced that analytical chemists at the site have developed a faster way to measure isotopic ratios of uranium and plutonium collected on swipes, which could help IAEA analysts detect the presence of undeclared nuclear activities or material.

U.S. Nuclear Nexus created to guide exporters of advanced nuclear technology

August 23, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News

Companies, universities, and national laboratories across the United States are working together to develop and demonstrate advanced nuclear technologies. To deploy those technologies on a global scale and maximize U.S. efforts to combat climate change, technology developers eyeing the export market must navigate rules and recommendations designed to ensure that international safeguards, security, and nonproliferation standards are met. Understanding and, where appropriate, integrating these standards early in the development process is crucial for streamlining export and technology deployment.

University students explore nuclear nonproliferation with LANL experts

August 2, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear News
Left: The University of Texas at Austin SBD Challenge team: from left, Michael Butero, Matthew Frangos, Daniel Gutierrez, and John (Jack) Whelan. Right: The University of Rhode Island team: from left, Jay Macchia, Sean Babin, and Peter Tillinghast. (Photo: NNSA)

The National Nuclear Security Administration's Office of Nonproliferation and Arms Control has been partnering with national laboratories and universities to introduce engineering students to the field of international safeguards. Safeguards ensure that nuclear material and facilities are not used to illicitly manufacture nuclear weapons, the NNSA noted in a July 27 article.

Ghana latest nation to ink civil nuclear MOU with U.S.

July 21, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News

The United States and the Republic of Ghana have signed a nuclear cooperation memorandum of understanding. The NCMOU is a diplomatic instrument that, according to the U.S. State Department, strengthens and expands “strategic ties between the United States and a partner country by providing a framework for cooperation on civil nuclear issues and for engagement between experts from government, industry, national laboratories, and academic institutions.”

Washington and Seoul to cooperate on overseas projects, nonproliferation

May 25, 2021, 3:02PMNuclear News



The United States and South Korea have agreed to “develop cooperation in overseas nuclear markets, including joint participation in nuclear power plant projects, while ensuring the highest standards of international nuclear safety, security, and nonproliferation are maintained,” according to a statement from the White House on last week’s Washington meeting between President Joe Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

As part of that agreement, South Korea will adopt a common policy with the United States requiring recipient countries to have a safeguards agreement “Additional Protocol” in place as a condition of doing nuclear-related business. (The Additional Protocol is an expanded set of requirements for information and access to assist the International Atomic Energy Agency in its work to confirm that states are using nuclear material solely for peaceful purposes.)

Planning ahead for advanced reactor safeguards and security

May 20, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News

Nonproliferation, safeguards, and security were on the agenda for the fifth public information-gathering meeting of the National Academies’ Committee on Merits and Viability of Different Nuclear Fuel Cycles and Technology Options and the Waste Aspects of Advanced Nuclear Reactors. Moderated by committee chair Janice Dunn Lee and NAS study director Charles Ferguson, the two-day public meeting was convened on May 17 and was to be followed by a closed committee session on May 19.

New NNSA website helps in nuclear safeguards reporting

November 5, 2020, 6:59AMNuclear News

The National Nuclear Security Administration has launched RAINS—the Reporting Assistant for International Nuclear Safeguards website—intended to assist users with the requirements surrounding international nuclear safeguards.

Nuclear safeguards are designed to verify that all nuclear material declared by a nation-state is not diverted for non-peaceful uses; detect any misuse of declared facilities or locations outside facilities; and detect any undeclared nuclear material or activities in the nation-state.

U.S., Canada sign MOU on safeguards and nonproliferation

October 19, 2020, 9:29AMNuclear News

Brent Park, the NNSA’s deputy administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, and Richard Sexton (on screen), president and chief executive officer of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, show the signed agreement. Photo: NNSA

The United States and Canada have signed a memorandum of understanding—Cooperation and Exchange of Information in Nuclear Security, Safeguards, and Nonproliferation Matters—to enable a more effective collaboration between the two countries in the areas of nuclear safety and security.

The five-year agreement was signed virtually on October 16 by Brent Park, the National Nuclear Security Administration’s deputy administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, and two Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) executives: Richard Sexton, president and chief executive officer, and Shannon Quinn, vice president of Science, Technology, and Commercial Oversight.

IAEA kicks off annual meeting in Vienna

September 22, 2020, 12:00PMNuclear News

IAEA General Director Rafael Mariano Grossi speaks to socially distanced attendees at the agency’s 64th General Conference plenary session on September 21. Photo: D. Calma/IAEA

With special precautions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Atomic Energy Agency commenced its week-long 64th General Conference yesterday with a plenary session that included remarks from Rafael Mariano Grossi, the agency’s director general.

“The latest IAEA annual projections show that nuclear power will continue to play a key role in the world’s low-carbon energy mix, with global nuclear electrical capacity seen nearly doubling by 2050 in our high-case scenario,” Grossi said, referring to a recently released agency report. “Climate change mitigation remains a key potential driver for maintaining and expanding the use of nuclear power.”

The IAEA conference runs through September 25.