Virginia sites targeted as competitive for SMRs

May 30, 2023, 7:01AMANS Nuclear Cafe
The LENOWISCO region of Virginia, being considered for future SMR siting, is in the far southwestern corner of the state. (Image: )

Seven sites in southwestern Virginia have been identified as “competitive hosting grounds” for small modular reactors by a feasibility study Dominion Engineering, Inc. (DEI) prepared for the LENOWISCO Planning District Commission. (The planning district, based in Duffield, Va., serves the counties of Lee, Wise, and Scott and the city of Norton.) At a May 22 press conference at LENOWISCO’s offices, DEI chemical engineer and principal investigator Chuck Marks said the review represents the “very early stages of, does this region have what it takes to site one of these reactors, successfully deploy and successfully operate. And the answer is overwhelmingly yes,” according to an article in the Cardinal News.

Nuclear Alliance calls for 50 percent increase in EU nuclear capacity by 2050

May 23, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News

Nuclear energy could provide the European Union with “up to 150 GW of electricity capacity by 2050” through the safe operation of existing nuclear facilities, the deployment of 30 to 45 new large reactors, and the development of small modular reactors, according to a statement issued last week by Europe’s Nuclear Alliance, following a meeting in Paris with European commissioner for energy Kadri Simson. Currently, nuclear energy provides the EU with about 100 GW of installed capacity.

Illinois lawmakers approve lifting ban on nuclear plant construction

May 23, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Illinois General Assembly has given the nod to S.B. 0076, a bill that would repeal the state’s decades-old moratorium on new nuclear power plant construction.

After passing the Senate in a 39–13 vote on March 30, the legislation proceeded to the House, where it was amended and approved 84–22 on May 18, then sent back to the Senate for concurrence. Late on May 19, the Senate agreed, 36–14 (with 3 voting “present”), to the proposed amendment. The bill now moves to Gov. J. B. Pritzker’s desk for consideration.

Granholm talks nuclear and other energy issues with WSJ

May 22, 2023, 9:31AMANS Nuclear Cafe


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.”

Dominion Energy exec talks SMRs for Virginia

May 16, 2023, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe


At a recent meeting of the Southwest Virginia Energy Research and Development Authority, advanced nuclear was on the docket for discussion. According to an article in the Bristol (Va.) Herald Courier, Dominion Energy vice president for business development Emil Avram discussed Dominion’s plans for developing advanced nuclear facilities featuring small modular reactors in southwestern Virginia, as well as the company’s vision regarding other energy sources.

Avram’s May 9 talk came at a time when Virginia is at the forefront of national efforts to deploy commercial SMRs. Gov. Glenn Youngkin has pledged that the commonwealth will be the first to build and deploy a commercial SMR, with plans to locate it in the coalfield region of southwestern Virginia.

Reuters: India’s nuclear industry may seek foreign investment

May 15, 2023, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe
An Indian postage stamp commemorating the country’s first nuclear reactor at Trombay. (Source: Government of India)

Reuters has reported that India is considering the recommendation of a government panel to overturn the nation’s ban on foreign investment in the domestic nuclear energy industry. The panel—established by think tank Niti Aayog, which is headed by Indian prime minister Narendra Modi—also recommended that policies be revised to allow for greater participation by private Indian companies in the nuclear energy industry, which is currently dominated by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India and Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam, both of which are wholly owned by the government of India. The panel made these recommendations, according to Reuters, so that “both domestic and foreign private companies can complement nuclear power generation by public companies.”

Purdue Boilermakers eye nuclear power for cleaner campus boilers

May 15, 2023, 7:01AMNuclear News

Purdue University and Duke Energy released an interim report on May 10 that documents the first year of an ongoing feasibility study, first announced in April 2022, that could help bring nuclear power to the state of Indiana. No technology has been selected and no decision to build a new nuclear plant has been made at Purdue University or elsewhere in the state, but in the Small Modular Reactor and Advanced Reactor Feasibility Study Interim Report the study participants conclude that “small modular reactors and advanced reactors are a viable option that warrant continued exploration to meet the future carbon-free energy needs of Purdue University and Duke Energy Indiana.”

The blossoming of cooperation between the U.S. and Canada

March 31, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear NewsMatt Wald

The United States and Canadian nuclear industries used to be an example of how two independent teams of engineers facing an identical problem—making electricity from uranium—could come up with completely different answers. In the 1950s, Canada began designing a reactor with tubes, heavy water, and natural uranium, while in the U.S. it was big pots of light water and enriched uranium.

But 80 years later, there is a remarkable convergence. The North American push for a new generation of nuclear reactors, mostly small modular reactors (SMRs), is becoming binational, with U.S. and Canadian companies seeking markets and regulatory certification on both sides of the border and in many cases sourcing key components in the other country.

Nuclearelectrica, ENEC team for nuclear development

March 31, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News
Romanian president Klaus Iohannis (center left) met with UAE president Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (center right) on March 21. The MOU between Nuclearelectrica and ENEC was announced during the meeting. (Photo: Ligia Deca)

Nuclearelectrica has signed a memorandum of understanding with Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) to provide both parties with an enabling framework for potential collaboration on the development and expansion of nuclear energy programs in Romania and the United Arab Emirates, as well as in Central and Eastern Europe.

Donalds, Barnard call for streamlining NRC’s regulatory process

March 27, 2023, 2:59PMNuclear News



“To be frank, any emissions-related climate goals are moonshots without nuclear energy, and next-generation nuclear technology is something that the United States can and SHOULD lead on.” So writes U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds (R., Fla.) and Christopher Barnard, vice president of external affairs for the American Conservation Coalition, in an essay published by RealClear Energy.

Good news: Donalds, one of the strongest advocates for nuclear energy in the U.S. House, and Barnard, publisher and coauthor of Green Market Revolution, begin their essay by noting some recent positive developments for nuclear power. They characterize the initial criticality of Vogtle-3, the first new nuclear reactor built in the United States in about 30 years, as “a monumental achievement for the American nuclear industry.” They praise the Biden administration’s allocation of funds to keep established nuclear plants operational.

Measure to repeal Illinois nuclear construction ban advances

March 2, 2023, 3:13PMNuclear News


A bipartisan effort in the Illinois General Assembly to repeal the state’s decades-old prohibition on new nuclear plant construction made some progress this week when the House Public Utilities Committee voted 18–3 to advance a bill lifting the ban.

Introduced on January 12 by Rep. Mark Walker (D., 53rd Dist.)—who sponsored identical legislation last year—H.B. 1079 would delete language in the Illinois Public Utilities Act that prohibits nuclear plant construction in the state “until the director of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency finds that the United States government, through its authorized agency, has identified and approved a demonstrable technology or means for the disposal of high-level nuclear waste, or until such construction has been specifically approved by a statute enacted by the General Assembly.” The bill has 31 cosponsors—four Democrats and 27 Republicans.

Study favors SMRs for use at future electric truck charging stations

January 23, 2023, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The use of small modular reactors would be an excellent, cost-effective way to recharge electric heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs), such as trucks, according to a recent study published in Applied Energy. The Idaho National Laboratory–funded study was conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan.

Lawmakers press DFC to invest in nuclear

December 19, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

A bipartisan group of senators sent a letter last week to Scott Nathan, chief executive officer of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), urging the agency to begin financing nuclear energy projects and support the continued development and deployment of advanced nuclear technology.

Signing the December 8 letter were Sens. John Barrasso (R., Wyo.), Cory Booker (D., N.J.), Shelley Moore Capito (R., W.Va.), Ben Cardin (D., Md.), Chris Coons (D., Del.), Kevin Cramer (R., N.D.), Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska), and Jim Risch (R., Idaho).

X-energy to become publicly traded company

December 12, 2022, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

X-energy, a developer of small modular reactors and nuclear fuel technology, has entered into a definitive business combination agreement with Ares Acquisition Corporation (AAC). As a result of the agreement, X-energy will become a publicly traded company, a status that is expected to boost its growth strategy, investment opportunities, and financial flexibility. In addition, X-energy will receive differentiated sponsorship by Ares Management Corporation, which describes itself as a “leading global alternative investment manager.” The transaction is expected to be finalized in the second quarter of 2023.

Keystone State lawmakers show interest in SMRs

November 18, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives this week adopted a resolution directing the Joint State Government Commission to conduct a “holistic” study on the benefits of nuclear energy and small modular reactors. (The JSGC, according to its website, serves as the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s primary research organization, providing the legislature with a readily available mechanism for conducting interdisciplinary studies.) The November 15 vote was unanimous, 197–0.

“There’s going to be a cliff”: Preparing an international SMR supply chain

November 3, 2022, 12:32PMNuclear News
Participating in the forum were (from left) John Hopkins (NuScale Power), Renaud Crassous (EDF), Daniel Poneman (Centrus Energy), Adriana Cristina Serquis (CNEA), and Boris Schucht (Urenco).

The nuclear industry leaders assembled in Washington, D.C., last week to discuss small modular reactor supply chains agreed that lost generation capacity from the expected retirement of hundreds or thousands of coal power plants over the next decade—a cliff, in one panelist’s words—represents an opportunity that developers of SMRs and advanced reactors are competing to meet.

“I think in total 80 projects are ongoing,” said Boris Schucht, panel moderator and chief executive officer of Urenco Group, as he opened the forum. “Of course not all of them will win, and we will discuss today what is needed so that they can be successful.”

OECD NEA director general presents an optimistic vision for tomorrow despite challenges of today

November 1, 2022, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe


As part of the Purdue University–Duke Energy Understanding Tomorrow’s Nuclear Energy lecture series, William D. Magwood IV, director general of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), delivered a lecture on October 24 at the Purdue Memorial Union Ballrooms. “The 21st Century Nuclear Resurgence: Opportunities and Challenges” was the third lecture in the series, which focuses on small modular reactors.

Magwood reviewed the factors that have led to the current increased interest in nuclear energy around the world, the serious challenges that must be quickly and adequately addressed, and the structural barriers that require new thinking by regulators and policymakers. He also commented on the ongoing Purdue-Duke study of the feasibility of using SMRs to meet the West Lafayette campus’s long-term energy needs.

Westinghouse, Ansaldo Nucleare to develop next-gen LFR

October 10, 2022, 3:01PMNuclear News
Artist's rendering of an LFR plant. (Image: Westinghouse)

Westinghouse Electric Company and Ansaldo Nucleare have announced the signing of a cooperation agreement to develop a next-generation nuclear power plant based on lead-cooled fast reactor (LFR) technology.

Wholly owned by Italy’s Ansaldo Energia, Ansaldo Nucleare is involved in the production of high-tech nuclear components; the design and construction of new builds; decommissioning; and advanced research on radwaste management, fusion, fourth-generation plants, and small modular reactors. In addition, the firm played a significant role in the development of such Generation III technologies as Westinghouse’s AP600 and AP1000 reactors.

Under the agreement, Westinghouse and Ansaldo Nucleare will advance a common design to maximize synergies; combine experience in design, testing, and licensing; and align respective partner and supply-chain organizations.

Pickering likely to operate to 2026—and maybe well beyond

October 6, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
The Pickering nuclear power plant. (Photo: OPG)

The government of Ontario has announced its support for extending the operation of Ontario Power Generation’s Pickering nuclear plant for a year past its scheduled 2025 closure date, adding that a much longer extension is also being mulled.

OPG, at the government’s request, has reviewed its operational plans and concluded that the facility can continue to safely produce electricity for an additional year, according to a recent news release.