Industry experts at ANS virtual event discuss strategies for safe and secure nuclear power expansion

February 9, 2024, 7:02AMANS News
From left: Piercy, Hart, Iyengar, Tobey

The latest virtual event produced by the American Nuclear Society brought together experts from the forefront of the global nuclear industry to discuss strategies for ensuring a safe, secure, and healthy expansion in the face of a rapidly changing energy and geopolitical landscape.

The webinar, moderated by ANS Executive Director/CEO Craig Piercy, featured J’Tia Hart, chief science officer for the National and Homeland Security Directorate at Idaho National Laboratory; Anagha Iyengar, deputy program director for analytics and innovation at the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Office of International Nuclear Security; and William Tobey, former NNSA deputy administrator for defense nuclear nonproliferation.

Student interns accept full-service roles at Savannah River

August 1, 2023, 12:05PMNuclear News
SRNS Internship Program students sign and accept their full-time position offers at the Savannah River Site as SRNS executives, managers, and mentors look on (Photo: SRNS)

Dozens of students from the Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) Internship Program were recently offered a chance at full-service positions during what SRNS called a signing day event held at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site, near Aiken, S.C.

NN Asks: How can risk management be applied to advanced reactors?

June 20, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear NewsSola Talabi

Sola Talabi

Advanced reactor risk management creates awareness, assessment, and action on issues of uncertainty to ensure safe, cost-effective, and on-schedule deployment of advanced reactors. It requires people, processes, and tools to identify and assess risks both qualitatively and quantitatively.

For safety risk, this requires characterizing how advanced reactor features such as natural convective cooling may reduce or retire risks. It also includes identifying and assessing new risks that may be introduced by advanced reactor features. Retired and reduced safety risks include certain loss-of-coolant accidents because the pumps and piping systems associated with these accident scenarios are eliminated. New safety risks that may be introduced include resuspension of fission products due to the higher containment aspect ratios that some advanced reactors have. New transportation risks may arise in the case of irradiated microreactors after service. Hence, advanced reactor risk assessments should include a mechanistic assessment of the net effect of the retired and new risks to quantitatively characterize overall plant safety. This may be achieved with probabilistic risk assessment procedures and tools.

Be rewarded for playing it safe: The SPOTY Awards is accepting nominations

June 9, 2023, 9:31AMNuclear News

For two decades, J. J. Keller & Associates has been honoring safety professionals in North America. Once again, the Wisconsin-based regulatory, safety, and compliance solutions company is accepting applications and nominations for its annual Safety Professional of the Year (SPOTY) Awards. These awards recognize environmental health and safety professionals who “go above and beyond their daily duties to build a culture and vision for safety and achieve excellence in safety for their companies,” according to the company.

Applications and nominations can be submitted through July 31 at 5:00 p.m. (CST). Safety professionals who are legal residents of the United States or Canada may apply for themselves, or they may be nominated by other individuals. All official rules for participation are available on the J. J. Keller website.

Granholm talks nuclear and other energy issues with WSJ

May 22, 2023, 9:31AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Granholm

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.”

JNSI celebrates accomplishments on 10th anniversary

November 28, 2022, 6:59AMANS Nuclear Cafe
JANSI’s chairman William Edward Webster Jr. (left), and president and CEO Hiromi Yamazaki. (Photo: JANSI)

The Japan Nuclear Safety Institute (JANSI) marked its 10th anniversary on November 15 by publishing a letter that highlighted some of the organization’s greatest accomplishments of the past decade. In the letter, William Edward Webster Jr., chairman of the JANSI board of directors, and Hiromi Yamazaki, JANSI president and chief executive officer, expressed their “sincere gratitude to all our members and other stakeholders who have provided support and guidance over the past 10 years.”

An interview with NRC Chairman Christopher T. Hanson

September 9, 2022, 3:09PMNuclear NewsRick Michal

Who better to talk with about the licensing of nuclear facilities and materials than Christopher T. Hanson, the chairman of the five-member Nuclear Regulatory Commission? Hanson is the principal executive officer of and official spokesman for the NRC. As a collegial body, the Commission formulates policies, develops regulations governing nuclear reactor and nuclear material safety, issues orders to licensees, and adjudicates legal matters.

Rensselaer to use DOE funds for nuclear efficiency and safety projects

August 16, 2021, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Photo: RPI)

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will use $1.5 million in grants from the Department of Energy to lead projects aimed at upgrading nuclear power plant efficiency and safety, the university announced earlier this month. The grants are part of more than $61 million in awards recently announced by the DOE to support nuclear energy research.

Post-Fukushima safety enhancements

April 2, 2021, 2:47PMNuclear NewsLeah Parks, Carl Mazzola, Jim Xu, and Brent Gutierrez
A map of Japan highlighting the Fukushima prefecture.

March 11 will mark the 10-­year anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi event, when a 45-­foot tsunami, caused by the 9.0-­magnitude Great Tohoku Earthquake, significantly damaged the reactors at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. In response to this event, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission took actions to evaluate and mitigate beyond-­design-­basis events, including a new requirement for the staging of so-­called Flex equipment, as well as changes to containment venting and improvements to emergency preparedness. The U.S. Department of Energy also addressed beyond-­design-­basis events in its documented safety analyses.

GAO: Concerns persist on DOE Order 140.1

November 3, 2020, 12:00PMNuclear News

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on October 29 outlining potential issues regarding a 2018 Department of Energy order on how the department, the National Nuclear Security Administration, and their contractors interact with the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB) and its staff. DNFSB is the independent agency responsible for ensuring that DOE facilities are protective of public health and safety.

According to the 81-page GAO report, provisions of DOE Order 140.1, issued in May 2018, restricted DNFSB’s access to information essential to its mission, and a subsequent revision of that order has not eliminated concerns that it would hinder DNFSB in carrying out its oversight responsibilities.

The race for outage efficiency

July 31, 2020, 2:54PMNuclear NewsEric Williams

Working in INL’s Human Systems Simulation Laboratory, senior R&D scientist Ahmed Al Rashdan co-developed the Advanced Remote Monitoring project for the LWRS Program.

There are numerous similarities between auto racing pit crews and the people in the nuclear power industry who get us through outages: Pace. Efficiency. Diagnostics. Teamwork. Skill. And safety above all else.

To Paul Hunton, a research scientist at Idaho National Laboratory, the keys to successfully navigating a nuclear plant outage are planning and preparation. “When you go into an outage, you are ready,” Hunton said. “You need to manage outage time. You want to avoid adding delays to the scheduled outage work because if you do, it can add a couple million dollars to the cost.”

Hunton was the principal investigator for the September 2019 report Addressing Nuclear Instrumentation and Control (I&C) Modernization Through Application of Techniques Employed in Other Industries, produced for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Light Water Reactor Sustainability (LWRS) Program, led by INL. Hunton drew on his experience outside the nuclear industry, including a decade at Newport News Shipbuilding.

The nexus between safety and operational performance

May 15, 2020, 4:22PMNuclear NewsDoug True and John Butler

Nuclear power plant performance includes both operational and safety aspects and is an outcome of numerous elements, such as the reliability of equipment, reduction in challenges to plant operations, protection of workers, and proficiency of operations. These elements are inextricably linked to each other and to the safety of each facility. In short, a well-run plant is a safe plant for the workers and the public, and a well-run plant is an efficient plant. By-products of high performance include improved regulatory performance, worker safety, plant reliability, and, most important, public health and safety.