Outside my office, there is a display case filled with rock samples from all over the world. It contains a disk of translucent, orange salt from the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, N.M.; a core of white-and-bronze gneiss from the site of the future deep geologic repository in Eurajoki, Finland; several angular chunks of fine-grained, gray claystone from the underground research laboratory at Bure, France; and a piece of coarse-grained granite from the underground research tunnel in Daejeon, South Korea.
November 10, 2023, 3:07PMNuclear News
September 22, 2023, 7:37AMANS News
American Nuclear Society Executive Director/CEO Craig Piercy visited One White Flint North, where he sat down with U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission chair Christopher Hanson for a one-on-one interview on September 18, 2023. The interview is available exclusively to ANS members to watch this week before it is released to the public. ANS members won’t want to miss the hour-long discussion, where Hanson opens up about important topics facing the NRC and the nuclear community and what he sees as the big successes during his first term as chair.
April 28, 2023, 3:03PMNuclear News
Forty years ago, Nuclear News published an analysis of U.S. nuclear plant operations over the three years that followed the Three Mile Island-2 accident in 1979, scrutinizing capacity factors as a measure of how well a reactor was performing compared to its potential. The purpose: “To call attention to the units that have had the best results, and to explore the question: What have the personnel at these top units been doing right?”
March 31, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
The United States and Canadian nuclear industries used to be an example of how two independent teams of engineers facing an identical problem—making electricity from uranium—could come up with completely different answers. In the 1950s, Canada began designing a reactor with tubes, heavy water, and natural uranium, while in the U.S. it was big pots of light water and enriched uranium.
But 80 years later, there is a remarkable convergence. The North American push for a new generation of nuclear reactors, mostly small modular reactors (SMRs), is becoming binational, with U.S. and Canadian companies seeking markets and regulatory certification on both sides of the border and in many cases sourcing key components in the other country.
March 3, 2023, 10:31AMNuclear News
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has granted Pacific Gas & Electric a “timely renewal” exemption so the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant can continue operating while its license renewal application is under review, it was announced yesterday. This new decision clears a major regulatory hurdle to extending the operating license of the Units 1 and 2 beyond their original closure dates of 2024 and 2025, respectively.
Since 1957, the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards has had a continuing statutory responsibility for providing independent reviews of, and advising on, the safety of proposed or existing reactor facilities and the adequacy of proposed reactor safety standards in the United States.
February 24, 2023, 3:03PMNuclear News
The 1957 amendment to the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 established the Advisory Committee On Reactor Safeguards as a statutory committee with an independent advisory role and the responsibility to “review safety studies and facility license applications” and advise the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission “with regard to the hazards of proposed or existing reactor facilities and the adequacy of reactor safety standards.” With the enactment of the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974, the ACRS was assigned to the newly established Nuclear Regulatory Commission with its statutory requirements intact.
February 17, 2023, 3:03PMRadwaste Solutions
Used nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive wastes are by-products of nuclear energy production and other applications of nuclear technology, and the consensus approach to disposing of those wastes safely is to encapsulate them and emplace them in stable geologic formations (geologic repositories) where they will be isolated from people and the environment for very long periods of time. The federal government has established environmental standards for waste isolation that any proposed geologic repository must meet.
In July 2021, the American Nuclear Society established a special committee to consider possibilities for revised generic environmental standards for disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste in the United States. The committee developed a number of recommendations, which are contained in a draft report that was to be issued in February for review and comment by stakeholders. The draft report can be found on the ANS website, at ans.org/policy/repositorystandard/.
The committee’s draft recommendations are based on two underlying assumptions. First, that the relevant legislative framework for regulation defined in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA) remains unchanged. Specifically, it is assumed that the Environmental Protection Agency will be charged with promulgating environmental standards for disposal and that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will be charged with reviewing applications for disposal facilities using licensing requirements and criteria consistent with the EPA standards. Second, that existing generic disposal standards will be updated or replaced.
American Nuclear Society unveils draft recommendations for updating industry and EPA geological repository standards for used fuel
Comments due April 14 for draft report aimed at revisiting EPA regulations
February 17, 2023, 7:59AMPress Releases
LA GRANGE PARK, Illinois – Today, the American Nuclear Society (ANS) released draft recommendations on updating public health and safety standards for the permanent disposal of commercial used nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste at future geological repository projects in the United States. The draft report provides a recommended framework for revisiting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) geologic repository standards.
August 3, 2022, 9:20AMPress Releases
Statement from American Nuclear Society President Steven Arndt and Executive Director and CEO Craig Piercy:
“The American Nuclear Society applauds the Senate for restoring the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to five commissioners with the confirmations of Annie Caputo and Bradley Crowell.
Carbon value: Lifetime extensions of nuclear reactors could save billions in climate mitigation costs
June 24, 2022, 2:49PMNuclear News
On the road to achieving net-zero by midcentury, low- or no-carbon energy sources that slash carbon dioxide emissions are critical weapons. Nevertheless, the role of nuclear energy—the single largest source of carbon-free electricity—remains uncertain.
Nuclear energy, which provides 20 percent of the electricity in the United States, has been a constant, reliable, carbon-free source for nearly 50 years. But our fleet of nuclear reactors is aging, with more than half of the 92 operating reactors across 29 states at or over 40 years old—the length of the original operating licenses issued to the power plants. While some reactors have been retired prematurely, there are two options for those that remain: retire them or renew their license.
May 26, 2022, 3:15PMNuclear News
This week’s Throwback Thursday post is again about Three Mile Island—this time looking at the coverage from the pages of the December 1979 issue Nuclear News about the Kemeny Commission. The twelve-person commission, announced by President Carter immediately after the accident in April 1979, was headed by John Kemeny—then president of Dartmouth College—with orders to investigate the causes and any consequences of the accident.
The accident at Three Mile Island revealed many areas for improvement in the safety of nuclear power that have been addressed continuously in the past 40 years.
May 6, 2022, 3:06PMNuclear News
Part one of this article, published in the May 2019 issue of Nuclear News and last Friday on Nuclear Newswire, presented insights from the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island-2 and addressed several issues raised by a previous Nuclear News piece on the accident. Part two discusses safety improvements that have been made by both the industry and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission over the past 40 years.
Presidential nominations to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)
May 3, 2022, 3:22PMPress Releases
Statement from American Nuclear Society President Steven Nesbit and Executive Director and CEO Craig Piercy:
Sparked by an article on the TMI accident that appeared in the March 2019 issue of Nuclear News, ANS past president William E. Burchill (2008–2009) offered his own views on the subject. Part 1 of the article appeared in the May 2019 issue of NN and Part 2 was published in June 2019.
April 29, 2022, 3:59PMNuclear News
The accident at Unit 2 of the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant on March 28, 1979, was an extremely complex event. It was produced by numerous preexisting plant conditions, many systemic issues in the industry and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, unanticipated operator actions, previously unrecognized thermal-hydraulic phenomena in the reactor coolant system (RCS), and the unprecedented challenge of managing a severely degraded core.
March 31, 2022, 3:30PMANS Nuclear Cafe
This week for the #ThrowbackThursday post, we are again turning to the April 1984 issue of Nuclear News, which was highlighted in February when we looked at the start of the federal program to convert research reactors from the use of high-enriched uranium to low-enriched uranium. This week, however, we are reviewing the coverage presented in that issue about the five-year anniversary of the Three Mile Island-2 accident.
February 24, 2022, 3:07PMNuclear News
An ANS virtual event titled "Perspectives from Past NRC Chairs" featured four former members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission who focused on the future of nuclear energy in the United States and the NRC’s role as a regulator of small modular and advanced reactors.
The virtual event gave us an idea for #ThrowbackThursday to search through the Nuclear News archives (available to all ANS members) for an interview with George Apostolakis, published in the March 2000 issue. At the time, Apostolakis was a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the NRC’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards. Ten years later, he was sworn in as an NRC commissioner.
February 10, 2022, 12:04PMNuclear News
Today’s #ThrowbackThursday post looks at the initial debate surrounding the conversion of research reactor fuel from high-enriched uranium to low-enriched uranium. An article published in the April 1984 issue of Nuclear News (available to all ANS members), titled “NRC studies HEU-to-LEU fuel conversion issue,” was written by the ANS Washington editor John Graham, and brings up several items of interest.
The story: Graham introduces the readers to the growing security concerns around HEU and notes that the issue has its roots in the nonproliferation concerns from the Carter administration that forced the domestic nuclear industry to abandon certain projects—the subject of a #TBT post a couple of weeks ago.
January 20, 2022, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe
In this first installment of a #ThrowbackThursday post, Nuclear News provides a review of radioisotope-powered pacemakers in response to an article in The Wall Street Journal. The article, published earlier this week, looks at the issue of disposing of nuclear-powered pacemakers, although considering how few are still in use today, it seems like this is really much ado about nothing.
January 19, 2022, 7:04AMANS News
ANS ended 2021 on a high note with our first post-pandemic national meeting, held in Washington, D.C. What follows is a lightly edited version of remarks, shorn of opening and closing pleasantries, that I gave to 500-plus attendees during the opening plenary session:
I think the big question everyone will be asking this week will be some form of “How did you spend the pandemic?” I can tell you how ANS spent the pandemic: on a strict quarantine diet and fitness program.
We’ve figured out how to maintain what we believe is a higher level of service on 20 percent fewer FTEs. We’ve rebuilt our digital infrastructure and have a firm path forward toward a modern data architecture. We are in the process of selling our headquarters building in La Grange Park, Ill., and moving to a smaller, more manageable footprint in suburban Chicago, with an outpost in Washington, D.C.
January 7, 2022, 9:06AMNuclear News
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has denied “without prejudice” Oklo Power’s application to build and operate its Aurora microreactor in Idaho, the agency announced yesterday. The denial, according to the NRC, is due to the California-based firm’s failure to provide sufficient information on several crucial topics regarding the Aurora design.