AI and data center growth equal power demand

April 3, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear NewsKen Petersen

Ken Petersen

Nuclear has been on a good roll lately and it is getting better. The 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provides a nuclear power production tax credit. This has stopped the early retirement of deregulated units. The IRA also provides a benefit for the clean production of hydrogen. Many utilities have committed to a net-zero goal by 2050. Duke and other utilities have plans to transition coal plants to nuclear with small modular reactors.

And now, nuclear has a new supporter—tech companies.

The big U.S. utility companies (like Exelon, Duke, Dominion, Southern, and Entergy) are all projecting growth in electricity demand—primarily in the commercial sector but some residential growth is also expected. Commercial growth is being driven by new factories (thank you, IRA and CHIPS, that is, the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors and Science Act). It is also being driven by data centers.

DOE makes conditional commitment to Palisades’ restoration and resumption of service

March 27, 2024, 12:00PMNuclear News
The Palisades nuclear power plant in Covert Township, Mich.

The Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) today announced a conditional commitment of up to $1.52 billion for a loan guarantee to Holtec Palisades LLC to finance the restoration and resumption of service of the 800-MWe Palisades nuclear power plant in Covert Township, Mich.

Nuclear moments

March 21, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear NewsGrace Stanke

Grace Stanke

I just spent 13 months as Miss America 2023 advocating for nuclear energy. Throughout those 13 months, I traveled approximately 280,000 miles to 23 states and eight countries. I have now seen eight different power plants (seven in the United States and one in Japan). I visited radiological isotope production facilities, reprocessing facility construction sites, research facilities, and more. My work extended to visits at schools, trips to talk with state and national legislators, and stops at varying professional groups looking to learn more about nuclear science. It certainly was an interesting year, and one that I could not have foreseen.

Experiences: One thing that this year has made me appreciate about the nuclear industry: No matter what facility, and no matter what country you are in, there is always a plan. I never thought I would be so giddy to walk into a power plant and sit down for a pre-job brief, but honestly, I love them now. The desire to be prepared and have a plan is not so present in most other industries!

Thermal hydraulics highlights of 2023

March 13, 2024, 12:00PMANS News

The American Nuclear Society’s Thermal Hydraulics Division is hosting a virtual event on Friday, March 15, from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. (ET), where experts will discuss some of the most impactful work in thermal hydraulics in 2023.

The no-cost event is open to all, but registration is required. Send in your questions now.

The arrow is pointing up

March 13, 2024, 7:10AMNuclear NewsKen Petersen

Ken Petersen

There have been significant changes in the outlook for the existing U.S. nuclear fleet in the last few years. In 2021, we were looking at the early closure of units and could not even think of license extension. Since then, the combination of the U.S. government recognizing the clean-air benefits of nuclear and the impact of the war in Ukraine has resulted in a lot of positive activity on Capitol Hill for nuclear.

Several pieces of legislation have been passed in support of nuclear as law- and policymakers have recognized the important role nuclear power can play in achieving the nation’s clean-air goals. New legislation also is supporting reducing reliance on Russia for uranium enrichment by supporting the domestic production of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU).

The Civil Nuclear Credit (CNC) Program, which was part of the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, included $6 billion to prevent premature retirement of existing zero-carbon nuclear plants. On January 17, the Department of Energy awarded Diablo Canyon $1.1 billion from the CNC Program to support continued operations of the plant.

GBN to buy sites for new nuclear

March 12, 2024, 12:00PMNuclear News
Hitachi pulled out of plans for a nuclear project at Wylfa in 2020 (Image: Horizon Nuclear Power)

Great Britain announced last week that it will purchase land at two nuclear sites from Hitachi for £160 million ($203 million).

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced the deal for the sites—Wylfa in northern Wales and Oldbury-on-Severn in southwestern England—during the annual budget speech to Parliament. Under Hitachi’s ownership, the land was prepped for developing a pair of advanced boiling water reactor units, but those plans were suspended in 2019 due to economic constraints.

Workshop on SMRs scheduled for Ottawa

January 29, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear News
The OECD NEA workshop will be held at Chateau Laurier in Ottawa, Canada. (Image: OECD NEA)

The OECD Nuclear Energy Agency is hosting a workshop on the economics of small modular reactors in Ottawa, Canada, on February 27, 2024.

The workshop will be an in-person event, with no hybrid or virtual attendance option. There is no cost for the workshop, but attendees from relevant organizations will be prioritized due to room capacity.

Registration is required.

Informal survey asks when the next U.S. nuclear plant will come on line

January 23, 2024, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe


According to an admittedly informal and unscientific survey of people from online “nuclear affinity groups” conducted by Eric Wesoff, the editorial director for clean energy newsroom Canary Media, there is no consensus regarding when the next nuclear power plant will come on line in the United States. Wesoff recently reported that upon polling his nuclear-connected network on LinkedIn, X, and Reddit, he found that “the responses were all over the map.”

Nuclear renaissance? Wesoff was prompted to try his survey about the expected date for the next nuclear plant because “conditions are perfect for the American nuclear renaissance.” He cited strong support for the nuclear industry from the Department of Energy as well as from public opinion polls and online “influencers.” He thought therefore that he would find confident predictions for when the next new U.S. reactor would go on line. Instead, he found uncertainty and varied responses.

A case of “nuclear power on the brain”

January 22, 2024, 12:22PMANS Nuclear Cafe


“I’ve got nuclear power on the brain this week.” So writes climate and energy reporter Casey Crownhart in a recent edition the Spark, the MIT Technology Review’s climate newsletter. In her article, Crownhart describes how, while she was conducting research on advanced nuclear energy for another article, she “went down some rabbit holes on . . . potential options for future nuclear plants” and has “reached new levels of obsession” about nuclear energy.

Nuclear primer: Crownhart’s article could serve as a primer for both basic nuclear and advanced nuclear technologies. She begins by discussing the “two absolutely essential pieces” of conventional nuclear power plants—namely, the enriched uranium fuel and the pressurized water cooling system—and explains that the cooling system “keeps the whole thing from getting too hot and causing problems.”

OPG, Capital Power team up to bring SMRs to Alberta

January 17, 2024, 12:00PMNuclear News

Two Canadian energy companies are teaming up to bring small modular reactors to Alberta.

Capital Power Corporation and Ontario Power Generation announced this week that they will spend the next two years exploring joint opportunities to bring SMRs to the province. Just under 13 percent of Canada’s power comes from its 19 nuclear reactors.

Scratching the surface of SMR history: What’s in a name?

January 12, 2024, 3:22PMNuclear NewsJohn Fabian

This article is the first in a series that will examine the history of small modular reactors.

Small and medium reactors have been an integral part of the U.S. nuclear power enterprise since the early days of the industry. Many of the designs for the next generation of reactors are rooted in the designs of the 1950s and ’60s, but the development and push for deployment have gained momentum only within the last decade.

This recent momentum led a reader of Nuclear News to suggest an article reviewing the history of small modular reactors. NN staff jumped on this idea, deciding a series of articles would do better justice to such a complex and interesting topic.

2023 in Review: April–June

January 11, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear News

Another calendar year has passed. Before heading too far into 2024, let’s look back at what happened in 2023 in the nuclear community. In today's post, compiled from Nuclear News and Nuclear Newswire are what we feel are the top nuclear news stories from April through June 2023.

Stay tuned for the top stories from the rest of the past year.

Notes from an international workshop on spent fuel management

January 5, 2024, 9:40AMRadwaste Solutions
Some of the participants at the NEA Workshop on Extended Storage and Transportation of Spent Fuel and Radioactive Waste from Current and Future Reactor Technologies. (Photo: NEA)

A recent event co-organized by the Nuclear Energy Agency, the Electric Power Research Institute, and Holtec International brought together about 100 international experts for a workshop on spent fuel and radioactive waste.

ARC, NB Power, KHNP join to explore global SMR deployment

December 12, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
Concept art of an ARC-100 plant. (Image: ARC)

Small modular reactor developer ARC Clean Technology, Canadian utility New Brunswick Power, and nuclear plant operator Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore opportunities for commercializing ARC technology in Canada, South Korea, and the United States, as well as in other regions where KHNP has business operations.

The spirit of international cooperation

December 11, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear NewsKen Petersen

Ken Petersen

This September, I was fortunate to be in Vienna as a delegate to the 67th International Atomic Energy Agency’s General Conference. I will admit, it was strange at first to be in another country while listening to the U.S. Departments of State, Energy, and Commerce all discuss the positive aspects of nuclear and its international influence, but it was a great experience, especially hearing firsthand the enthusiasm of the secretary of energy.

Delegations from Ghana and the Philippines provided an excellent perspective from countries new to nuclear and embracing it. The Philippines’ representative spoke of the many islands that currently depend on diesel generators to provide power, and the need to replace them. A microreactor would be able to replace the generators and provide clean energy for decades. He also talked about how his country had to ship raw metal ore to China for smelting, and how a larger nuclear plant provides the power to smelt their own ore, improving their market. The Ghanian delegation spoke of their interest in nuclear power and small modular reactor technology and how they believe SMRs will provide their industries with safe, reliable power.

Granholm visits Clinch River Site to show support for SMRs

December 7, 2023, 3:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Secretary Granholm answers press questions at the Clinch River Nuclear Site while TVA president and CEO Jeff Lyash listens. (Photo: TVA)

Energy secretary Jennifer Granholm visited the Clinch River Nuclear Site in Oak Ridge, Tenn., on December 5 to highlight the Biden administration’s support for the Tennessee Valley Authority’s advanced nuclear technology program.

Granholm indicated that the administration is willing to provide funding for the nation’s first commercial small modular reactor at the site. “Excited to see a shovel in the ground, hopefully in a few more years,” she said. “TVA is leading on small modular reactors with this site. Everybody’s looking to TVA to make sure that this can actually happen.”

ENEC inks deal with Kazatomprom, MOUs with TerraPower, GEH

December 5, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, president of Kazakhstan (standing), looks on as the commercial uranium fuel supply contract between ENEC and Kazatomprom is signed. (Photo: Kazatomprom)

On the margins of the COP28 climate conference in Dubai, UAE, this week, Barakah nuclear plant owner Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) signed its first commercial uranium fuel supply contract with Kazatomprom, in addition to memorandums of understanding with two U.S.-based advanced reactor developers—TerraPower and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH).

OPG picks fuel suppliers for first Darlington SMR

December 1, 2023, 12:01PMNuclear News
Representatives of OPG and its partners announced new contracts at the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris. (Photo: X/@urencoglobal)

At the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris this week, Ontario Power Generation announced contracts with Canadian, French, and U.S. companies to ensure a fuel supply for the first of four GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy BWRX-300 small modular reactors planned for deployment at OPG’s Darlington nuclear power plant.