Nuclear I&C Modernization: The Future is Digital

June 4, 2021, 9:34AMSponsored ContentRobert Ammon, Technical Director of Digital Safety Systems at Curtiss-Wright Nuclear Division

As the U.S. nuclear industry moves into plant life extension and subsequent license renewals, the modernization of safety instrumentation and control (I&C) systems holds significant potential to transform plant operations. Automated system diagnostics, equipment health monitoring, and performance indications reduce the need for manual surveillance activities and enable condition-based maintenance, resulting in improved system reliability and reduced maintenance costs. Despite these benefits, adoption of digital I&C systems for safety-related applications across the domestic nuclear fleet has been slow. U.S. nuclear power plants that do choose to embrace the transition from analog to digital are in good company; international plants have successfully implemented digital safety systems for more than a decade. Furthermore, digital safety systems are also the first choice of the growing small modular reactor (SMR) and advanced reactor (AR) communities.

Nebraska ponders advanced nuclear

May 13, 2021, 6:59AMNuclear News

Bostelman

Companies that build advanced nuclear reactors in Nebraska would be eligible for tax incentives should a measure now being considered by that state’s lawmakers, Legislative Bill 84, become law.

Under L.B. 84, sponsored by Sen. Bruce Bostelman (R., 23rd Dist.), a renewable energy firm that uses nuclear energy to produce electricity could take advantage of the ImagiNE Nebraska Act—a business tax incentive program signed into law by Gov. Pete Ricketts in August of last year. The bill adds “nuclear electric power generation” to the act’s list of renewable energy sources qualifying for incentives. (Sources already listed in the act include wind, solar, energy storage, geothermal, hydroelectric, biomass, and transmutation of elements.)

Partnership formed to support STEM and promote nuclear in Canada

May 11, 2021, 6:59AMNuclear News

The Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) last week announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the North American Young Generation in Nuclear (NAYGN) to work together to advocate for initiatives that support STEM and the promotion of nuclear science, energy, and technology. Signed earlier this year by CNA president and chief executive officer John Gorman and NAYGN president Amber Von Ruden, the MOU also calls for collaboration on initiatives to recruit and attract students to nuclear.

Trump leaves space nuclear policy executive order for Biden team

January 20, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News

A hot fire test of the core stage for NASA’s Space Launch System rocket at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi was not completed as planned. The SLS is the vehicle meant to propel a crewed mission to the moon in 2024. Source: NASA Television

Among the executive orders President Trump issued during his last weeks in office was “Promoting Small Modular Reactors for National Defense and Space Exploration,” which builds on the Space Policy Directives published during his term. The order, issued on January 12, calls for actions within the next six months by NASA and the Department of Defense (DOD), together with the Department of Energy and other federal entities. Whether the Biden administration will retain some, all, or none of the specific goals of the Trump administration’s space nuclear policy remains to be seen, but one thing is very clear: If deep space exploration remains a priority, nuclear-powered and -propelled spacecraft will be needed.

The prospects for near-term deployment of nuclear propulsion and power systems in space improved during Trump’s presidency. However, Trump left office days after a hot fire test of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket did not go as planned. The SLS rocket is meant to propel crewed missions to the moon in 2024 and to enable a series of long-duration lunar missions that could be powered by small lunar reactor installations. The test on January 16 of four engines that were supposed to fire for over eight minutes was automatically aborted after one minute, casting some doubt that a planned November 2021 Artemis I mission can go ahead on schedule.

Advanced reactors important for carbon-free power production in U.S., tweets Vice News

December 15, 2020, 12:13PMANS Nuclear Cafe

A video posted to Twitter by Vice News discusses the prospect of advanced reactors being an important mix of carbon-free power production in the United States. Hosted by Gelareh Darabi, an award-winning Canadian-British-Iranian journalist and documentary filmmaker, the video provides quick and easy statistics for the general audience and pulls from social media influencer I_sodope. It also includes comments from nuclear experts.

Nuclear scores point in U.K. green plan

December 1, 2020, 12:03PMNuclear News

The United Kingdom, the first of the world’s major economies to adopt a legally binding commitment to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, has released a blueprint to help realize that goal—one that includes a substantial role for nuclear energy

The Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution will mobilize a total of £12 billion (about $16 billion) of government investment to create and support up to 250,000 highly skilled green jobs in the United Kingdom and spur over three times as much private sector investment by 2030, according to the UK government on November 18.

In addition to nuclear, offshore wind, hydrogen production, carbon capture, and vehicle electrification are also earmarked for significant investment in the 38-page document.

Advanced nuclear to be a focus of reopened Arctic Energy Office

September 29, 2020, 3:00PMNuclear News

The Department of Energy has announced the reestablishment of the Arctic Energy Office (AEO), to be located on the campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The AEO was originally established in 2001 but failed to receive sufficient funding. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette had pledged to reopen the office by the close of the current federal fiscal year.

The focus of the AEO, according to the DOE, will include international cooperation on Arctic issues, research on methane hydrates, and the development of advanced microgrids and nuclear power systems, such as small modular reactors.

Sixty-day extension for comments on proposed SMR rule

July 22, 2020, 7:12AMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has extended the deadline for comments on its “Proposed Rule for Emergency Preparedness for Small Modular Reactors and Other New Technologies” to allow more time for members of the public and other stakeholders to develop and submit their comments. The proposed rule and associated draft regulatory guide apply to non-light-water reactors and certain nonpower facilities, and were originally published in the Federal Register on May 12 with a deadline of July 27. The new deadline is September 25.

White House appointee sees advanced nuclear option for Puerto Rico

July 16, 2020, 12:43PMNuclear News

All energy sources, including small modular reactors, are being considered to meet Puerto Rico’s energy needs, U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Peter J. Brown said on July 15 during the second day of PR-Grid Virtual, a three-day online conference on Puerto Rico’s energy grid. Brown’s comments were quickly circulated on Twitter by people who are already working to make nuclear power a reality for Puerto Rico, including members of the Nuclear Alternative Project (NAP), a non-profit organization of Puerto Rican engineers in the nuclear industry.

Comments requested on proposed EP rule

May 28, 2020, 9:24AMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is taking comments on its “Proposed Rule for Emergency Preparedness for Small Modular Reactors and Other New Technologies,” published in the Federal Register on May 12. The proposed rule and associated draft regulatory guide apply to non–light-water reactors and certain nonpower facilities.

RadioNuclear 22: HBO’s Chernobyl: A Setback or Opportunity?

June 27, 2019, 2:14PMANS Nuclear CafeDoug Hardtmayer

Episode 22 of RadioNuclear is now available. In this episode, we discuss the recent miniseries "Chernobyl", which recently concluded on HBO. We debunk some of the more egregious articles written in the wake of the show (see links to these articles below). We also discuss good ways to engage with individuals who are captivated with the show, and not necessarily familiar with nuclear technology.

Advancing Nuclear: Paths to the Future

November 8, 2016, 2:41AMANS Nuclear Cafe

"How do we move nuclear energy into the future?" was the question asked and answered in a variety of ways during a fascinating speakers' session that followed this morning's opening plenary.  Several expert speakers in a variety of fields provided frank and illuminating commentary on the condition of nuclear now, and on the things that have to change for nuclear energy to be vibrant in the decades to come.

Small Modular Reactors Take Large Step Forward

July 20, 2016, 12:03PMANS Nuclear Cafe

In recent years the allure of small, flexible, easy to construct and operate nuclear plants incorporating small modular reactors (SMR) have continued to grow for a host of reasons. Here in the United States, we've watched the saga of the SMR unfold fairly slowly over the last few years, as companies have entered the fray to various levels of success and have achieved varied degrees of progress.*  Now, the latest large step in getting these small and versatile reactors into the worldwide commercial market has been taken - by an effort involving Saudi Arabia and South Korea.

Business focused approach to molten salt reactors

September 30, 2014, 4:00PMANS Nuclear CafeRod Adams

I've been listening to an evangelical group of molten salt reactor enthusiasts for several years. Their pitch is attractive and they often make good arguments about the value of rethinking the light water reactor technology model, but most of the participants are unrealistic about the economic, material, technical, and regulatory barriers that their concepts must overcome before they can serve market needs.

Nuclear Video Matinee: NuScale and TerraPower at CERAWeek

April 11, 2014, 6:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

ICOSA Media caught up with NuScale chief executive officer Chris Colbert and TerraPower CEO John Gilleland at the recent CERAWeek energy conference in Houston, Tex. The two leaders of these innovative nuclear energy companies discuss the how's and why's of their small and beautiful reactor designs-the NuScale Small Modular reactor and the TerraPower Traveling Wave reactor.

Argentina carries torch for SMR construction

February 13, 2014, 7:25PMANS Nuclear CafeWill Davis

CAREM 25 Prototype Plant; illustration courtesy CNEA

News came out this week that the first concrete had been poured at the construction site for the world's first small modular reactor (SMR) project-and it wasn't for a Generation mPower SMR at the former Clinch River site, or for a SMART SMR (which was the first type in the world to receive governmental design certification) at a site in South Korea.