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.

TVA and OPG form partnership to develop and deploy SMRs

April 21, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Tennessee Valley Authority and Ontario Power Generation announced on April 19 that they have formed a partnership to develop and deploy advanced nuclear technology as part of their broader efforts to work toward clean energy. According to the agreement, the companies will coordinate their activities in designing, licensing, constructing, and operating small modular reactors.

SMR technology is “very promising” for the chemical industry, says Dow CEO

April 5, 2022, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Fitterling

Nuclear power from small modular reactors should be a central part of the chemical industry’s drive toward achieving carbon neutrality, according to Jim Fitterling, chairman and chief executive officer of Dow Inc. Fitterling’s comments, delivered at the 2022 International Petrochemical Conference, hosted by American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers and held March 27–29 in San Antonio, Texas, were reported by Independent Commodity Intelligence Services (ICIS).

Beyond renewables: The ICIS report noted that more than 25 percent of Dow’s manufacturing sites are fully or partially powered by renewable energy sources, including wind, solar, and hydropower. Nevertheless, Fitterling said, “We need a broader and more realistic approach to feed our energy needs. Renewables are great, and we’re a tremendous supporter . . . but renewables alone are not the answer.” He added that renewable power generation would have to increase 90 times to equal the energy that is currently provided by hydrocarbons in the United States.

TVA, ORNL partner to explore new nuclear, other clean technologies

March 2, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
High-voltage power lines carry electricity generated by the Tennessee Valley Authority to Oak Ridge National Laboratory. (Photo: Dobie Gillispie/ORNL, DOE)

The Tennessee Valley Authority and Oak Ridge National Laboratory have signed a memorandum of understanding to advance decarbonization technologies in pursuit of the federal government’s net-zero-by-2050 goal, the utility and the lab announced yesterday in a joint press release.

Czech Republic’s energy future includes nuclear, renewables, says new government

January 11, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
The Temelin nuclear power plant in Czech Republic.

In a wide-ranging “program statement” laying out its policy priorities, the Czech Republic’s new, center-right government has endorsed nuclear energy and renewables and called for power generation from coal to be phased out by 2033.

The final version of the statement was released on January 7 by the five-party coalition government, sworn into office last month and led by Prime Minister Petr Fiala, head of the Civic Democratic Party.

Attempted overturn of Montana nuclear power law fails

January 10, 2022, 7:01AMNuclear News

A Montana citizens group has failed in its effort to repeal H.B. 273, a recently enacted law that transfers the power to authorize the construction of nuclear power facilities in the state from the public, via referendum, to the legislature. H.B. 273 was signed by Montana governor Greg Gianforte last year, overturning the Montana Empowering Voters to Approve Proposed Nuclear Facilities Initiative, which had been on the books since 1978.

At Senate hearing, Markey attacks, Hanson defends

December 8, 2021, 9:36AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Markey

At an otherwise congenial Nuclear Regulatory Commission oversight hearing held last week by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Sen. Ed Markey (D., Mass.) made clear his strong disagreement with the agency’s November 3 decision to approve a proposed rule amending regulations for nuclear plants undergoing decommissioning.

“I fear the NRC now stands for Not Recognizing Concerns,” Markey said. “The NRC has decided that the best way to shield itself from criticism around the decommissioning process is to take itself out of the process. In the latest version of the proposed decommissioning rule, the NRC would have no ability to approve, no ability to change, no ability to deny plants’ decommissioning proposals, known as post-shutdown decommissioning activities reports. Its only job would be to acknowledge receipt of the report. Our independent nuclear safety regulator would serve as a glorified filing cabinet. Ceding the job of regulator to the nuclear industry itself is not a win for safety, communities, or for the energy sector.”

DOE awards $8.5 million to fund advanced nuclear projects

November 29, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News

In its latest financial nod of encouragement to the U.S. nuclear industry, the Department of Energy has announced awards totaling $8.5 million to five industry-led projects, with the aim of accelerating the commercial deployment of advanced reactors and fuels.

The awards are funded via the Office of Nuclear Energy’s U.S. Industry Opportunities for Advanced Nuclear Technology Development funding opportunity, which, since 2017, has invested more than $215 million in advanced nuclear technologies. Solicitations are broken down into three pathways: first-of-a-kind nuclear demonstration readiness projects, advanced reactor development projects, and direct regulatory assistance.

Biden signs infrastructure bill into law

November 16, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News

Surrounded by members of his cabinet, congressional leaders, and others, President Biden yesterday afternoon signed into law the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act—representing a much-needed victory for the president, whose approval rating, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, sits at 41 percent.

Trillion-dollar infrastructure bill passes House

November 8, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News

After hours of squabbling between left-wing and centrist Democrats, the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill (H.R. 3684)—one of the two main pillars of President Biden’s domestic agenda—passed the House of Representatives late Friday night and has been sent to the White House for signing. The final tally was 228–206, with 13 Republicans joining most Democrats in casting their votes in favor of the legislation.