Holtec inks agreement for up to 20 SMRs in Ukraine

April 25, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
Kris Singh (front left), Holtec International president and chief executive officer, signs the cooperation agreement between Holtec and Ukraine’s Energoatom, alongside other Holtec officials. (Photo: Holtec)

Small modular reactor developer Holtec International and Energoatom, Ukraine’s nuclear plant operator, signed a cooperation agreement last Friday that envisions the construction of up to 20 of the American firm’s SMR-160 units in Ukraine, with grid connection for the pilot project achieved by March 2029. In addition, the agreement calls for building a Ukrainian manufacturing facility to localize the production of equipment required for SMR-160 construction.

Olsen: ANS scholarships provide stepping stone to career goals

April 25, 2023, 12:08PMANS News
Olsen was part of the IAEA team that inspected the Rivne nuclear power plant in Ukraine last year. (Photo: IAEA)

Student members are the future of the American Nuclear Society, and ANS believes in the importance of supporting students those who have shown academic, service, and leadership excellence as they navigate their early careers. Robert Olsen, now a nuclear security officer with the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria, was one such beneficiary.

Plan for two additional Natrium units announced

April 7, 2023, 9:29AMNuclear News

Portland, Ore.–based PacifiCorp—owner of the soon-to-be-retired Wyoming coal plant selected in 2021 as the future site of TerraPower’s Natrium reactor demonstration project—has released its 2023 Integrated Resource Plan, which recommends the addition of two more Natrium units to the company’s generation resource mix by 2033.

First step in Rolls-Royce SMR design assessment completed

April 6, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
Rendering of a Rolls-Royce SMR plant. (Image: Rolls-Royce SMR)

The United Kingdom’s nuclear regulators—the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), the Environment Agency, and Natural Resources Wales (NRW)—have announced the completion of step one of their generic design assessment (GDA) for Rolls-Royce SMR’s 470-MWe small modular reactor design and the start of step two, which is expected to last 16 months.

How can advocates amplify global shifts in the nuclear energy narrative?

March 15, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear NewsParis Ortiz-Wines

Paris Ortiz-Wines

“Nuclear is finding its way into real acceptance and enthusiasm, and that’s really exciting.” So said secretary of energy Jennifer Granholm at the COP27 climate conference last November.

For the past 65 years, humanity has harnessed the power of the atom. Since the grid connection of the world’s first commercial nuclear plant in 1957, nuclear has been an unsung hero in providing reliable, clean energy for generations. Nuclear is the world’s fourth-largest source of energy and the second-largest low-carbon source of energy, per Our World in Data.

And yet, it wasn’t until September of 2021, when it became increasingly clear that the world was entering an energy crisis, that nuclear found its way back into the spotlight. Five months later, with the invasion of Ukraine, countries dependent on Russian gas found themselves in a precarious and costly position.

The U.S. NRC’s global efforts benefit everyone

March 14, 2023, 7:03AMNuclear NewsChristopher Hanson

Christopher Hanson

The origins of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s robust international program date back to 1953, when President Eisenhower, in an address to the United Nations, promised to share U.S. nuclear expertise with the world. This commitment underpins our international programs today.

The NRC’s early focus was cooperating with countries operating U.S. reactor technology to leverage collective operating experience. But requests for assistance grew steadily, and the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident made clear that international assistance was vital for global safety. We helped promote development of independent regulators in the former Soviet Union, and in a 1994 report, the independent NRC Office of the Inspector General praised how the NRC assisted Ukraine in establishing laws, regulations, and enforcement capacity.

Olsen: ANS scholarships provide stepping stone to career goals

March 6, 2023, 7:12AMANS News

Student members are the future of the American Nuclear Society, and ANS believes in the importance of supporting those who have shown academic, service, and leadership excellence as they navigate their early careers. Robert Olsen, now a nuclear security officer with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Austria, was one such beneficiary.

IAEA issues report on nuclear safety and security in Ukraine

February 24, 2023, 6:16AMANS Nuclear Cafe
The IAEA team of of nuclear safety, security, and safeguards experts inspecting damage last year at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. (Photo: Dean Calma/IAEA)

As the war in Ukraine enters its second year, the International Atomic Energy Agency has released Nuclear Safety, Security and Safeguards in Ukraine, an overview of the conflict’s impact on the beleaguered nation’s nuclear facilities and of the agency’s actions to lessen the likelihood of a nuclear accident.

Low water level at reservoir may pose threat to Zaporizhzhia

February 15, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
The Zaporizhzhia plant (Image: Energoatom)

As if being stuck in the middle of a combat zone isn’t sufficiently nerve-racking, workers at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant—under Russian occupation since last March—must now concern themselves with having access to enough water to keep the facility safe.

Belgium mulls life extension for more reactors

February 8, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
Belgium's Doel nuclear power plant. (Photo: N. Hippert/IAEA)

The Belgian government is exploring the idea of extending the operational life of its three oldest reactors by two years, a variety of news outlets are reporting.

Those reactors—Units 1 and 2 at the Doel facility and Unit 1 at Tihange, sporting a combined capacity of 1,852 MWe—were slated to be permanently shuttered in 2025 in keeping with the country’s nuclear phase-out policy.

Belgium’s nuclear phase-out policy claims second victim

February 2, 2023, 10:34AMNuclear News
The Tihange nuclear power plant. (Photo: Engie Electrabel)

Unit 2 at Tihange, one of Belgium’s two nuclear power plants, was permanently disconnected from the grid late on the evening (local time) of January 31, operator Engie Electrabel has announced.

The 1,008-MWe pressurized water reactor is the second unit in Belgium’s nuclear reactor fleet to be retired in accordance with the country’s 20-year-old law mandating a gradual phase-out of nuclear power. The first Belgian unit to be retired, Doel-3, a 1,006-MWe PWR, was shut down on September 23, 2022. Remaining in operation are Doel-1, -2, and -4 and Tihange-1 and -3.

Countries change nuclear policies in response to Ukraine war

January 6, 2023, 7:09AMNuclear News

As a direct result of the war in Ukraine, several countries have changed their policies on nuclear energy—even those with long-standing nuclear phase-out plans. This February will mark one year since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, leading to ongoing war and turning pandemic-era energy shortages into a global energy crisis. Spiking gas prices and concerns about electricity supply during the cold winter months have thrown many governments into a frenzy as they try to ease the impact on their citizens.

Countries in the process of phasing out their nuclear power had been prepared to increase their reliance on natural gas. But as Russia supplies 40 percent of the European Union’s natural gas, nations with no reliable alternative now face sky-high energy prices—even energy poverty. Across Europe and beyond, nuclear power plants slated for permanent closure have been given second chances to shore up energy supply. Nuclear power has also claimed a bigger spotlight in countries’ strategies for energy independence.

Westinghouse, Framatome to provide fuel for Kozloduy

January 5, 2023, 6:59AMNuclear News

Westinghouse Electric and Framatome have signed agreements with Kozloduy NPP—the eponymous operator of Bulgaria’s only nuclear power facility—to fabricate and deliver fuel for the site’s two operating reactors. Westinghouse will provide the fuel for Unit 5 under a 10-year contract inked on December 22, while Framatome will supply Unit 6 under a December 30 preliminary deal. First deliveries of fuel from Westinghouse and Framatome are expected in 2024 and 2025, respectively.

The two agreements, according to the Bulgarian News Agency, “are part of an effort to diversify energy supplies to Bulgaria and do away with the country’s dependence on Russian energy resources.” In November, the Bulgarian National Assembly approved 156–47 a resolution tasking the country’s Council of Ministers with licensing non-Russian nuclear fuel for Kozloduy.

Russia building protection over Zaporizhzhia spent fuel tanks, according to Russian news source

December 21, 2022, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe
This image from a video reportedly shows the start of installation of a protective covering over spent fuel storage tanks at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine. (Image: Telegram/Vladimir Rogov)

Russia has begun construction of protected covering at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, according to a December 17 report from Russian news outlet RT. The story has been picked up in the West by some news agencies but has not been widely circulated.

Vladimir Rogov, a Russian-appointed official in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, said, “Russia is constructing a protective dome over spent radioactive fuel stores at the [Zaporizhzhia] nuclear power plant as Ukrainian forces continue to target the facility.”

Lawmakers press DFC to invest in nuclear

December 19, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

A bipartisan group of senators sent a letter last week to Scott Nathan, chief executive officer of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), urging the agency to begin financing nuclear energy projects and support the continued development and deployment of advanced nuclear technology.

Signing the December 8 letter were Sens. John Barrasso (R., Wyo.), Cory Booker (D., N.J.), Shelley Moore Capito (R., W.Va.), Ben Cardin (D., Md.), Chris Coons (D., Del.), Kevin Cramer (R., N.D.), Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska), and Jim Risch (R., Idaho).

Zaporizhzhia the focus of Grossi interview

December 1, 2022, 3:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe


The ongoing, tense situation surrounding the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine was the subject of a recent interview with International Atomic Energy Agency director general Rafael Mariano Grossi when he appeared on CBS's 60 Minutes program.

The Zaporizhzhia facility is in an area of Ukraine that became occupied by Russian forces in late February 2022. Though Ukrainian staff remain at the now mostly idle plant, artillery shells have repeatedly landed at and near the plant over the past several months, with Ukrainian officials—along with many Western media outlets—blaming Russia, while Russian officials and media blame Ukraine.

Action from the IAEA: Following months of negotiations with both sides, inspectors from the IAEA, led by Grossi, finally visited the site in late August and early September, and the agency has been monitoring the situation since then with an observation mission at the site. In the interview, which aired on November 20, Grossi did not attribute blame for the shelling to either side.

Four recipients awarded ANS Presidential Citations

December 1, 2022, 9:35AMANS News

At this year’s Winter Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, American Nuclear Society President Steven Arndt honored four ANS members with Presidential Citations. The president of ANS has the privilege of presenting presidential citations to individuals who, in their opinion, have demonstrated outstanding effort in some manner for the benefit of ANS and/or the nuclear community.

The awards are “highlighted throughout our community as a personal outreach to our recipients to say, ‘well done,’” said Arndt.

U.K., France declare support for Sizewell project

October 11, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

On the sidelines of the first European Political Community (EPC) summit in Prague last week, U.K. prime minister Liz Truss and French president Emmanuel Macron met to discuss bilateral cooperation, with a particular focus on the energy sector. (Macron proposed the creation of the EPC earlier this year, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Representatives of 44 European countries participated, as did the presidents of the European Council and European Commission. Conspicuously uninvited were Russia and Belarus.)

IAEA demands Russian exit from Zaporizhzhia

September 16, 2022, 9:29AMNuclear News
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s board of governors has adopted a resolution calling for an immediate end to the Russian occupation of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. According to a report from Reuters, the 35-member board voted 26–2 yesterday in favor of the resolution, with seven abstentions. The two “no” votes were cast, unsurprisingly, by Russia and China, while abstentions came from Burundi, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Senegal, South Africa, and Vietnam.