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.

Public support for nuclear energy is highest among plant neighbors

August 16, 2022, 7:04AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Ninety-one percent of residents living near U.S. nuclear power plants have a favorable impression of those plants, according to Bisconti Research’s ninth biennial survey. In addition, 88 percent of those residents have positive opinions of nuclear energy in general, and 78 percent would support the addition of a new reactor at their neighboring plant—a number that increases to 86 percent if the new reactor is a small modular reactor.

Purdue and Duke Energy introduce a nuclear lecture series

August 15, 2022, 3:13PMANS Nuclear Cafe


The new Understanding Tomorrow’s Nuclear Energy lecture series, sponsored by Purdue University and Duke Energy, premieres on August 30. The first scheduled speaker, Arden L. Bement Jr., professor emeritus of nuclear engineering at Purdue, will deliver a talk titled “Clean Nuclear Energy: Past, Present, and Future.”

Register now. Participants can attend the event, from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. EDT, either in person or virtually. The presentation will be delivered in the Stewart Center Fowler Hall on Purdue’s campus in West Lafayette, Ind. Advance registration is required for this free lecture.

What’s it about: The series will feature community leaders speaking on the feasibility of using advanced nuclear technologies to meet the long-term zero-carbon energy goals of the West Lafayette campus. It is designed to appeal to everyone, from nuclear industry experts to community residents with a general interest in the topic.

Small and Advanced Reactors with Diverse Fuel Cycles Can Deliver Energy Security

July 29, 2022, 7:08AMNuclear News

Nuclear energy offers a pairing of high capacity factors and low carbon emissions unrivaled by other power sources, and advanced reactors and small modular reactors (SMRs) hold promise to deliver that power with even more efficiency and versatility. Researchers in the public and private sectors, backed by government funding through programs like the Department of Energy’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program and Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E), are bringing that promise closer to fulfillment by engineering solutions to open questions about advanced reactor materials and fuel cycles.

Agency favors revising population-related siting rules for advanced reactors

July 28, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently approved, in a 2–1 vote, a recommendation from its staff that could potentially lead to the siting of advanced reactors in more densely populated areas than is permitted for traditional light water units.

NRC chairman Christopher Hanson and David Wright voted in favor of the recommendation, with Jeffery Baran casting the lone “nay” vote. (There are currently two open seats on the five-member commission.)

Purdue–Duke Energy launch lecture series on advanced nuclear technology

June 29, 2022, 12:04PMANS Nuclear Cafe

A new lecture series launched by Purdue University and Duke Energy is designed to educate the public about small modular reactors and other advances in nuclear energy. The series stems from an ongoing comprehensive joint study by Purdue and Duke, announced in April, which is investigating the feasibility of using SMRs to meet the campus’s energy needs.

Montana legislative panel hears from SMR backers and bashers

June 3, 2022, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Montana is among the states that have already expressed interest in small modular reactor technology as a possible means of decarbonizing their energy sectors.

Just last year, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte signed into law H.B. 273, transferring the power to authorize construction of nuclear power facilities in the state from the public (via referendum) to the legislature.

NuScale responds to SMR critique

June 2, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

A Stanford University–led research article on small modular reactors published Tuesday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) is not sitting well with SMR developers or, for that matter, with much of the largely pro-SMR nuclear community.

Grossi highlights the importance of nuclear energy at World Economic Forum

May 31, 2022, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe
Rafael Mariano Grossi speaks on a panel at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. (Photo: WEF)

Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has authored an article for the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting held last week in Davos, Switzerland.

Westinghouse, Hyundai E&C ink nuclear projects pact

May 26, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News
The world's first AP1000 reactors to enter operation, Sanmen units 1 and 2, in China. (Image: Westinghouse Inc.)

Westinghouse Electric Company and South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering & Construction have signed an agreement to “jointly participate in global AP1000 plant opportunities,” the Pennsylvania-based nuclear technology firm announced on May 24.

NuScale takes next step toward SMR deployment in Romania

May 25, 2022, 3:02PMNuclear News
The first overseas NuScale Energy Exploration (E2) Center is planned for Romania. (Photo: NuScale)

Small modular reactor developer NuScale Power announced on Monday the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Romania’s Nuclearelectrica to conduct engineering studies, technical reviews, and licensing and permitting activities at a site in Doiceşti, Romania, selected as the preferred location for the deployment of a NuScale VOYGR power plant.

Purdue University and Duke Energy to explore feasibility of on-campus SMR

May 4, 2022, 7:01AMNuclear News
Purdue University, in West Lafayette, Ind.

Purdue University and Duke Energy have announced that they plan to jointly explore the feasibility of using advanced nuclear energy to meet the university’s long-term energy needs, “a move that may be unprecedented for a college campus.” A small modular reactor could meet the current and future needs for Purdue’s West Lafayette, Ind., campus, as well as provide excess power to the state’s electric grid, according to a joint press release.