Turning the tide

January 26, 2024, 9:31AMNuclear NewsPatrick O’Brien

Patrick O'Brien

The adage “a rising tide raises all boats” keeps coming to my mind whenever I think about the work ahead for small modular reactor and advanced reactor development companies. The groundwork being laid by the entire industry is key to moving the whole group forward together. The drive to construct new nuclear will need to include all sizes, designs, and companies, because unlike in many industries, there is no way there can only be one “winner” if we are to meet climate goals.

Recently, at global climate summit COP28, a large portion of the international community announced a joint aim to triple worldwide nuclear power generation by 2050. This is tremendous news and a huge step in the right direction for many reactor developers. It means that the work developers are doing now will lead to a market for their product for years to come. The questions we must all be asking are “How do we get there?” “Who is going to take the leap of faith to build the first-of-a-kind designs?” and “What challenges lie ahead?”

Savannah River Site M&O contractor hosts supply chain summit

November 30, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
Savannah River Nuclear Solution’s supply chain management team discusses upcoming process changes during its first staff augmentation summit. (Photo: SRNS)

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions’ Supply Chain Management (SCM) team recently hosted its first staff augmentation summit to strengthen relationships with 25 staffing firms and provide upcoming process changes for fiscal year 2024.

WNA publishes report on the world’s nuclear supply chain

August 21, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News

In the newly released 2023 edition of The World Nuclear Supply Chain report, the World Nuclear Association recommends a number of actions to ensure that the international supply chain remains “suitably robust, competitive, and adaptive to meet the anticipated need for long-term operation and new nuclear build.”

The fifth edition of the report provides a market-oriented view that focuses on opportunities and challenges related to nuclear-grade structures, systems, components, and services. Evaluated are supply chain considerations ranging from large-scale reactors to small modular reactors to reactor refurbishment.

Failure is not an option

July 6, 2023, 9:31AMNuclear NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy
cpiercy@ans.org

Wow, that was a banger! The 2023 Annual Meeting had the energy level of an ANS Student Conference. That’s no easy feat. I’ve had several requests for my opening plenary remarks. Here is a shortened version, edited for reading:

So, “Failure Is Not an Option.” I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure about it in the beginning. It’s not anodyne like “Powering Our Future!” or some punny Indy reference like “Racing to the Finish.” It didn’t seem to fit our situation.

That phrase, popularized by the movie Apollo 13, has its origins in a time of crisis: three men trying to “eyeball” a free return trajectory to Earth while a team of NASA engineers figures out how to literally put a square peg into a round hole to save the astronauts’ lives.

Westinghouse Parts Business MG Set Control Power Cabinets

June 1, 2023, 11:37AMSponsored ContentWestinghouse Parts Business
Next Generation MG Control Power Cabinets Installed

Westinghouse Parts Business (WPB) is proud of the first next generation Motor Generator (MG) Set System fully operational at Palo Verde Generating Station. The team completed a first-of-a-kind (FOAK) implementation and installation at the power plant operated by Arizona Public Service (APS), including the next generation MG Control Power Cabinets and new MG Sets. Additionally, Westinghouse installed the new ARCH (Advanced Rod Control Hybrid) system. These systems were installed in a single outage providing additional synergies and cost savings to operations.

Two reports sound alarm on supply chain deployment risks—for fission and fusion

May 19, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News

Reports released this week point to a clean energy future fueled by atomic energy—if and when pressing supply chain issues can be resolved. Advanced Reactor Roadmap, Phase 1: North America, released on May 15 by the Electric Power Research Institute and the Nuclear Energy Institute, takes a broad look at the deployment of advanced fission reactors and identifies supply chain ramp-up as one key enabler. The Fusion Industry Supply Chain: Opportunities and Challenges, released by the Fusion Industry Association on May 17, focuses on fusion energy supply chain issues.

HALEU and the promise of nuclear energy: An interview with the DOE’s Kathryn Huff

November 4, 2022, 3:01PMNuclear News

Kathryn Huff

Deploying a fleet of advanced reactors in the 2030s means deploying high-assay low- enriched uranium (HALEU) infrastructure now.

The future fleet will need more than 40 metric tons of HALEU by 2030, according to Department of Energy projections. Getting to the 5–20 percent fissile uranium-235 content of HALEU involves either enriching natural or low-enriched uranium (LEU) or downblending high-enriched uranium (HEU).

Because downblending the limited stocks of HEU held at the DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory and Savannah River Site is a short-term option at best, the Energy Act of 2020 authorized a HALEU Availability Program to build a sustainable enrichment infrastructure by the time advanced reactors are ready for commercial deployment.

Comments on a request for information reached the DOE in February 2022, just before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine amplified global energy security concerns. While the war in Ukraine didn’t change the DOE’s plans, it “accelerated everything,” said Kathryn Huff, who leads the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy (DOE-NE) as assistant secretary. “Our attention is now laser-focused on this issue in a way that it wouldn’t have been in the past.”

“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.”

Advanced reactor licensing and the path to cost certainty

September 20, 2022, 3:13PMNuclear NewsMike Laufer

Laufer

Developing a first-­of-­a-­kind reactor is a daunting endeavor. To be successful, advanced reactor designers need to achieve cost certainty by delivering a safe and affordable product at the promised cost. To meet this goal, Kairos Power structured its approach around four key strategies: 1) achieving technology certainty through a rapid iterative approach; 2) achieving construction certainty by demonstrating the ability to build it; 3) achieving licensing certainty by proving Kairos can license it; and 4) achieving supply chain certainty by vertically integrating critical capabilities. By mitigating risk in these four key areas, Kairos Power is confident that it will get true cost certainty for our future products.

The third prong in Kairos’s strategy—achieving licensing certainty—was a key driver in the decision to build the Hermes low-­power demonstration reactor, and it remains a major workstream as the company’s construction permit application (CPA) undergoes review by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Licensing a new nuclear technology is no small challenge, and there are multiple approaches companies can take. Here’s a look at how we at Kairos are approaching it.

Collaboration and teamwork are crucial to solving nuclear supply chain challenges

August 26, 2022, 2:59PMNuclear NewsGeorge Shampy

George Shampy

Across the country, supply chain issues continue making the news: price escalation, inflation, logistical delays, scarcity of products and services, obsolescence, risk associated with just-­in-­time inventory, equipment and service quality, and—especially in nuclear—the financial pressures to reduce costs while maintaining our focus on safe, secure, and reliable plant operations.

Unfortunately, these are not new challenges for nuclear supply chain professionals.

In fact, in 2001, the Nuclear Energy Institute formed the Nuclear Supply Chain Strategic Leaders Group (NSCSL) in conjunction with the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) and Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) after an American Nuclear Society Utility Working Conference networking event. The NSCSL is composed of utility supply chain managers and directors and serves as the “community of practice” for these subject matter experts. I am privileged to be an NSCSL participant and an Entergy team member. The NSCSL was designed to be the industry go-­to group for materials and service collaborations and needed supply chain solutions.

NuScale and U.S. Reactor Forging Consortium to collaborate on SMR deployment

May 3, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

NuScale Power has signed a collaboration agreement with the U.S. Reactor Forging Consortium (RFC) to leverage the nation’s forging supply chain to prepare for the deployment of NuScale’s small modular reactor technology and to support, maintain, and expand U.S. manufacturing jobs.

Radiological waste transportation & disposal: A decommissioning manager’s perspective

April 1, 2022, 12:00PMRadwaste SolutionsAndy Lombardo
Waste packages are loaded with contaminated soil during remediation work at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. (Photo: PermaFix)

Depending on the size and complexity of a decommissioning project, the transportation and disposal of radioactive waste will have an oversized impact on planning, schedule, and budget. The scope of decommissioning a site contaminated with radioactive material begins and ends with the proper and safe packaging of waste and subsequent transportation from the site to the final disposal location. Once all of the waste is gone from the site, the compliance exercise can be completed and the site released from controls (i.e., the radioactive materials license is terminated and the site is decommissioned).

Predictions: What lies ahead for nuclear in 2022

January 21, 2022, 3:26PMNuclear News

As we begin a new year, it is natural not only to look back (see page 24 for top news stories of 2021) but also to look forward. Nuclear News reached out to leaders in the nuclear community to get their predictions on what 2022 has in store, whether broadly or for their specific areas within the community. Although the responses below are wide-ranging and varied, one thing is made clear by all of the respondents: 2022 will see growth and opportunity. The future for nuclear is bright.

The U.S. nuclear supply chain: Time to start the climb

August 12, 2020, 4:30PMANS NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy

Originally published in the August 2020 issue of Nuclear News.

Dear reader:

Let’s face it. The U.S. nuclear manufacturing and supply chain is not what it once was. In the 1960s and ’70s, America was the dominant player in the global nuclear industry. Under the auspices of Atoms for Peace, U.S. companies successfully provided reactor systems and associated services to countries across the world and held significant sway over the course of future nuclear development in the international arena. America was at the top of its nuclear game.