DOE-NE offers inside look at FY 2024 budget request

March 24, 2023, 8:55AMNuclear News

While President Biden’s $6.9 trillion budget proposal for fiscal year 2024, submitted to Congress on March 9, was quickly pronounced “dead on arrival” by Sen. John Barrasso (R., Wyo.), it remains valuable as an indicator of the administration’s funding priorities for the coming year, including its nuclear energy priorities.

Which is why ANS on Wednesday hosted “An Inside Look at the FY 2024 Budget,” a members-only webinar moderated by ANS Executive Director/CEO Craig Piercy and featuring a team from the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy, including DOE-NE head Kathryn Huff.

First Xe-100 plant support center to open this year

March 13, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News

X-energy, the Rockville, Md.–based small modular reactor developer, has announced its plan to open the first Xe-100 reactor fleet management, monitoring, and training facility—the Plant Support Center–East (PCSE)—in the fourth quarter of this year.

Joint licensing process for Westinghouse microreactor begins

February 28, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
A rendering of an eVinci microreactor facility. (Image: Westinghouse)

Westinghouse Electric Company has filed a notice of intent to submit key licensing reports for its eVinci microreactor to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission for joint review, the firm announced last week. (The two nuclear regulators signed a memorandum of cooperation in August 2019 to increase collaboration on the technical reviews of advanced reactor and small modular reactor technologies.)

Correction: Nuclear removed from Va. energy fund bill

February 16, 2023, 7:37AMNuclear News


Nuclear Newswire erroneously reported this morning that the Virginia Senate’s Finance and Appropriations Committee on February 15 advanced legislation that included nuclear in a list of energy technologies that would receive research and development funding through a Virginia Power Innovation Fund. In fact, the bill, H.B. 2386, was approved after the committee had stripped nuclear from the list. NN regrets the error.

Following the finance panel’s vote, Del. Israel O’Quinn (R., 5th Dist.), the bill’s sponsor, expressed his disappointment. “The knee-jerk opposition to nuclear innovation is very short-sighted and puts Virginia behind the curve on energy diversification,” he said. “Nuclear energy is inevitably going to have to be a bigger part of Virginia’s energy portfolio. It produces zero carbon and is highly reliable.”

Michigan gets the ball rolling on nuclear feasibility study

January 12, 2023, 10:26AMNuclear News

The Michigan Public Service Commission has requested proposals for a feasibility study on nuclear power generation in the state. Responses to the January 5 request are due January 19, with the proposals themselves due February 3. The selected firm is to deliver a report to Michigan’s governor and leaders of the state’s legislature by April 2024.

Rethinking operations through digital control room design

December 16, 2022, 3:47PMNuclear NewsRyan Flamand
The NuScale control room simulator has been used to showcase the plant’s design, prototype new displays, and test the operator and supervisor procedures in a fully digital control room. (Photos: NuScale Power)

Since the inception of commercial nuclear power in the United States, every control room in every nuclear plant has looked essentially the same. You will see fixed alarm tiles, red and green lights, rows of switches, and analog meters. Until about a decade ago, you would even have seen paper charts (now replaced by digital versions of those same charts). Licensed operators have shown through a proven operating history that this control room design is safe and effective. Genius definitely went into the complexity of circuits and placement of switches and indications in the design, but things have come a long way over the years, and new technology, updated plant designs, and the need to improve efficiency and maintain reliability have impacted staffing and the role of operators. A control room update is long overdue. So, what lies ahead for the future of nuclear control room design? What possibilities exist for the next generation of plants?

Bill to return U.S. to a nuclear energy leadership position advances

December 16, 2022, 7:32AMNuclear News

The International Nuclear Energy Act (S. 4064), a bill aimed at developing a strategy to counter the growing influence of Russia and China on the global nuclear export market, was reported favorably out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on December 7.

The measure was introduced in April by Sens. Jim Risch (R., Idaho), the committee’s ranking member, and Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

NRC comments on NuScale’s draft application for SMR design

December 6, 2022, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

In a letter to NuScale Power, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission responded to the company’s draft standard design approval application (SDAA) for its small modular reactor design by identifying “several challenging and/or significant issues that could be focus areas for the SDAA acceptance and/or safety review.” The letter described the findings of the NRC’s preapplication readiness assessment and recommended NuScale’s “continued engagement” on a number of topics of concern before finalizing the SDAA.

Terrestrial Energy chosen for coal conversion program

November 8, 2022, 12:05PMNuclear News

Ontario’s advanced nuclear technology firm Terrestrial Energy yesterday announced the signing of a letter of intent (LOI) with TerraPraxis, a U.K.-based nonprofit devoted to climate solutions, to cooperate on the latter’s Repowering Coal initiative—a program aimed at integrating clean heat sources with existing infrastructure at coal-fired power plants in North America and elsewhere.

Michigan to weigh pros, cons of new nuclear

October 19, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

Gov. Whitmer

While the fate of Michigan’s Palisades nuclear plant remains uncertain, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has approved legislation requiring a feasibility study to examine the potential for new nuclear generation in the state.

Signed into law last Friday, House Bill 1609 instructs the Michigan Public Service Commission to engage an outside consulting firm to conduct the study.

The measure was introduced in the House on April 14 by Rep. Graham Filler (R., 93rd Dist.) and passed that chamber on May 19, 85–20. On September 28, the bill passed even more comfortably in the Senate, 32–4.

The mandated study is due to the governor and leaders of the state legislature in 18 months.

Virginia governor touts nuclear in launch of new state energy plan

October 6, 2022, 3:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe


Speaking earlier this week at the launch ceremony for Virginia’s 2022 Energy Plan, Gov. Glenn Youngkin called for an all-of-the-above approach, stressing the need for “an achievable and dynamic energy plan that provides for abundant, reliable, affordable, and clean energy.” He also left no doubt as to where nuclear power fits into that plan.

“We have to be all in [for] nuclear energy in Virginia,” Youngkin declared, addressing an audience of lawmakers, workers donning hard hats, and business executives at a power transformer manufacturing facility in Lynchburg. “When it comes to reliability, affordability, when it comes to clean power, when it comes to the abundant nature of growing power demand, absolutely nothing beats nuclear energy. It is the baseload of all baseloads. And Virginia is uniquely positioned to lead.”

The coal-to-nuclear conversion: Are Gen IV reactors the answer?

August 19, 2022, 12:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Artist’s rendering of the IMSR Core-Unit. (Credit: Terrestrial Energy)

In the ongoing quest to mitigate the effects of climate change, new technology can create new solutions. Even today, however, coal is still a main source of power around the globe, often out of necessity. Many coal-burning plants have already been converted for gas or biomass, but these measures alone are not nearly enough to meet net-zero carbon goals. There is a better solution, however: repowering coal plants with nuclear technology—specifically, Generation IV reactors.

Construction of Shin-Hanul-3 and -4 to resume

July 18, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
Artist's rendering of Shin-Hanul Units 3 and 4. (Image: KHNP)

South Korea’s new president, Yoon Suk-yeol, appears to be following through on his campaign pledge to reverse the previous administration’s domestic nuclear phaseout plan. Earlier this month, Yoon’s Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy announced a new direction for the nation’s energy policy—one that calls for, among other things, a reembrace of nuclear power. A further announcement on the subject last week provided additional details.

Canada to fund Westinghouse microreactor technology

March 23, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s minister of innovation, Science, and Industry (center, foreground), visited Westinghouse Electric Canada’s Burlington, Ontario, facility for the March 17 announcement. (Photo: Westinghouse)

The Canadian government has announced an investment of C$27.2 million (about $21.6 million) in Westinghouse Electric Canada to support the development of the company’s eVinci microreactor technology.

François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry, made the announcement on March 17 during a visit to the company’s Burlington, Ontario, facility.

House passes fiscal year 2022 omnibus appropriations bill

March 10, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News

After months of negotiations, the House passed a fiscal year 2022 omnibus spending package late Wednesday—the same day that congressional appropriators from both chambers unveiled the long-awaited measure.

Labeled H.R. 2471, the 2,741-page, $1.5 trillion package includes all 12 of the standard annual appropriations bills, providing $730 billion for nondefense programs, a $46 billion (6.7 percent) jump from FY 2021, and $782 billion for defense programs, a $42 billion (5.6 percent) boost. (The bill also includes $13.6 billion to address the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.)

The House also approved, by voice vote, a stopgap bill to extend government funding to March 15 to give the Senate time to review the omnibus bill and send it to the president’s desk for his signature. At this writing, funding for the federal government runs out tomorrow.

Oklahoma showing interest in nuclear

February 24, 2022, 7:01AMANS Nuclear Cafe

This year has been a good one so far regarding interest from state legislatures in the potential of nuclear energy. Examples reported by Nuclear Newswire include, in January, an Indiana bill to incentivize the construction of small modular reactors, and this month, West Virginia’s repeal of its ban on new nuclear plant construction and legislation in Illinois aimed at achieving the same end in that state. Slipping under our radar until now, however, is a measure in Oklahoma introduced earlier this month that would create a feasibility study to examine the possibility of nuclear power in the Sooner State.

Belgium to close both nuclear plants by 2025

December 23, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News
The Tihange nuclear power plant in Belgium. (Photo: Electrabel)

Belgium’s seven-party coalition government this morning announced via press conference a tentative agreement to close the nation’s two nuclear power plants by 2025, confirming a commitment made in October of last year when it took office. Plant closures are scheduled to begin in 2022.

NuScale pondering SMRs for Kazakhstan

December 20, 2021, 7:01AMNuclear News

In its latest show of interest in Central and Eastern European markets, Portland, Ore.–based NuScale Power has signed a memorandum of understanding with Kazakhstan Nuclear Power Plants LLP (KNPP) to explore the deployment of NuScale’s small modular reactor plants—recently christened VOYGR—in Kazakhstan.

Study finds major roles for Westinghouse microreactor in Canada

November 2, 2021, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe
eVinci micro reactor core, (Illustration: Westinghouse)

A recently completed feasibility study by Westinghouse Electric Company and Bruce Power concludes that the eVinci microreactor is capable of providing cost-competitive clean energy to decentralized, off-grid markets in Canada.