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.

Nuclear Innovation Alliance releases new reports on advanced nuclear technology

October 14, 2021, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The Nuclear Innovation Alliance (NIA) has followed up its report, Advanced Nuclear Technology: A Primer, published last month, with the release of two new reports on the subject—one for policymakers, the other for investors.

For policymakers: According to the NIA, Advanced Nuclear Reactors for State Policymakers, in Brief provides an overview of enabling federal policies and looks at state options to incentivize local development of advanced reactors. In addition, the report features a series of “topical briefs” on the characteristics of advanced reactors with respect to safety, economic benefits, waste remediation, flexibility and dispatchability, and timing and development. The report also contains case studies of state-specific advanced nuclear projects such as the Natrium reactor demonstration project in Wyoming, Energy Northwest’s plans in Washington state, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems’ consortium for the first light water small modular reactor, and the Nuclear Alternative Project in Puerto Rico.

Leaders of advanced nuclear in Canada interviewed in new video

September 14, 2021, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Nuclear Energy TV has teamed with the U.S. Nuclear Industry Council (USNIC) to launch the third program in its “Advanced Nuclear Energy Spotlight” series. According to its website, Nuclear TV is a “community-based Internet TV channel for live and on-demand nuclear energy industry video programming."

Senate panel endorses energy infrastructure bill

July 15, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee yesterday approved a bill on energy infrastructure, including initiatives that would provide a boost to the U.S. nuclear industry.

Barasso

Murkowski

The Energy Infrastructure Act, which is expected to serve as the legislative text for key portions of a more comprehensive $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package, was approved 13–7, following the adoption of 48 amendments. All committee Democrats voted in favor of the bill, as well as three of the panel’s 10 GOP members, Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Steve Daines of Montana, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Two well-known Republican proponents of nuclear, John Barrasso of Wyoming and Jim Risch of Idaho, voted no. (Barrasso expressed a number of concerns with the bill, including its price tag.)

Feasibility study for nuclear hydrogen under way in Canada

June 24, 2021, 3:05PMNuclear News

The Nuclear Innovation Institute (NII) has launched a study on the role of nuclear power in supporting a growing hydrogen economy. The study will be the first of its kind in Canada to evaluate the technical viability and business case for hydrogen production from nuclear power, according to NII, an Ontario, Canada–based nonprofit formed in 2018 to accelerate innovation in the nuclear industry.

NuScale to explore SMR deployment in central Washington

May 27, 2021, 9:31AMNuclear News
An artist's rendering of the NuScale plant. Image: NuScale

Portland, Ore.–based NuScale Power has announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Grant County Public Utility District (Grant PUD) to evaluate the deployment of NuScale’s advanced nuclear technology in central Washington state.

Consortium debuts new design for U.K. SMR

May 26, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News
Artist’s conception of the UK SMR consortium’s small modular reactor. (Image: Rolls-Royce)

The UK SMR consortium last week revealed the latest design and power upgrade—from 440 MW to 470 MW—for its proposed small modular reactor. According to the consortium’s lead company, Rolls-Royce, the “refreshed” design features a faceted roof, an earth embankment surrounding the reactor to integrate with the landscape, and a more compact building footprint.

More encouraging words on nuclear from Biden climate advisor

May 24, 2021, 3:14PMANS Nuclear Cafe

McCarthy

Despite the discordant, antinuclear note struck by President Biden’s environmental justice panel in a recent report, other administration officials continue to signal support for nuclear energy.

In an interview with the Washington Post last week touting the president’s American Jobs Plan, White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy reiterated her belief that nuclear energy is key to the administration’s stated goal of 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2035 and net-zero emissions by 2050.

A win for nuclear in Montana

May 12, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News

Gianforte

Skees

Montana governor Greg Gianforte last week signed into law H.B. 273, which transfers the power to authorize the construction of nuclear power facilities in the state from the public, via referendum, to the legislature. The new measure overturns the Montana Empowering Voters to Approve Proposed Nuclear Facilities Initiative, which had been on the books since 1978.

Sponsored by Rep. Derek Skees (R., Kalispell), H.B. 273 passed in the Montana Senate on April 15 by a vote of 30–20, following a 68–32 nod from the House in February. Both votes were cast largely along party lines, with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed.

TVA and Kairos partner on demonstration reactor

May 6, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News
Artist’s rendering of Kairos Power’s KP-FHR reactor. (Image: Kairos Power)

The Tennessee Valley Authority and nuclear technology and engineering company Kairos Power this morning announced plans to collaborate on the deployment of the latter’s low-power demonstration reactor, dubbed Hermes, at the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) in Oak Ridge, Tenn. TVA will provide engineering, operations, and licensing support to help Kairos with deployment, according to the announcement.

A first: TRISO fuel made in Canada

April 22, 2021, 9:29AMNuclear News
Fully ceramic microencapsulated fuel. Image: USNC

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) announced last week that it has fabricated fully ceramic microencapsulated (FCM) fuel pellets, a proprietary reactor fuel designed by Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC) for its Micro Modular Reactor (MMR). The FCM project, funded through the Canadian Nuclear Research Initiative (CNRI), represents the first time that tristructural isotropic (TRISO) fuel has been manufactured in Canada, according to CNL.

NuScale’s Reyes spreads word on SMRs

April 21, 2021, 3:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Reyes

José Reyes, cofounder and chief technology officer at small modular reactor developer NuScale Power, touted the potential of the firm’s technology to help solve the nuclear industry’s cost-overrun issues in an interview yesterday with Yahoo Finance. (At up to 77 MWe gross, the NuScale Power Module is the smallest of the light-water SMRs in development.)

Speaking with journalist Akiko Fujita, Reyes, an ANS member since 1977, also touched on nuclear’s role in addressing the issue of climate change.

The eight-minute discussion is available online, along with the interview transcript.

Virginia’s plan for nuclear in state’s energy strategy released

March 3, 2021, 6:58AMNuclear News

Virginia’s nuclear-sector stakeholders, led by the Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium Authority (VNECA), have drawn up a plan for helping the state reach its goal of 100 percent carbon-free electricity generation by 2045.

Released late last month, Virginia is Nuclear: 2020–2024 Strategic Plan is the result of legislation, SB 549, signed into law last year. The law directed the state’s Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy; Secretary of Commerce and Trade; and Secretary of Education to work with VNECA and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership Authority to develop a comprehensive blueprint for the role of nuclear energy in Virginia’s overall clean-energy strategy.

“The nuclear industry is vital to Virginia, and the Lynchburg region in particular,” said state Sen. Stephen Newman, who sponsored SB 549. “Jobs, economic growth, and clean air are just three of the benefits the state will see from the plan. I am proud of the industry and look forward to seeing them move forward with the plan.”

Browns Ferry-2 outage to include turbine work, loading of 3D-printed parts

March 2, 2021, 12:04PMNuclear News

A replacement rotor is lifted and staged for the upcoming Browns Ferry-2 turbine work. Photo: TVA

The Tennessee Valley Authority has begun a refueling and maintenance outage at Browns Ferry-2 that includes the largest scope of turbine deck work since the unit’s construction, as well as innovations in fuel assembly components, the utility announced on March 1.

On deck: All three of the 1,254.7-MWe boiling water reactor’s low-pressure turbines will undergo a comprehensive replacement of major components, including new rotors, inner casings, steam piping and bellows, and turbine supervisory instruments, requiring the support of more than 500 additional outage workers. TVA said that 600 crane lifts will need to be performed for some components, such as the rotors, which weigh up to 327,888 lb., and inner casings, which weigh up to 200,000 lb.