Former NNSA chief joins Westinghouse

August 25, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News

Gordon-Hagerty

Westinghouse Electric Company has appointed Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, former head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, to the board of directors for Westinghouse Government Services (WGS), the company announced yesterday. WGS is the delivery platform for Westinghouse’s nuclear technologies and services for government programs globally.

As the lead director for strategic programs at WGS, Gordon-Hagerty will help the company with continued strategy and development of programs to support Department of Energy and Department of Defense nuclear decommissioning, security, and energy goals, according to the announcement.

Former Westinghouse exec charged with conspiracy, fraud over Summer fiasco

August 23, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News

Benjamin

A federal grand jury has indicted a former Westinghouse Electric Company executive for allegedly concealing information regarding progress (or, more accurately, lack of progress) on the now defunct multibillion-dollar expansion project at the Summer nuclear plant.

Jeffrey A. Benjamin, who served as Westinghouse’s senior vice president for new plants and major products during the effort to build two AP1000 reactors at the Jenkinsville, S.C., facility, has been charged with 16 felony counts, including conspiracy, wire fraud, securities fraud, and causing a publicly traded company to keep a false record, according to an August 18 news release from the U.S. States Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina. The charges carry a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and a $5 million fine.

Westinghouse signs agreement to dismantle Ringhals-1 and -2 components

August 23, 2021, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions
Vattenfall’s Christopher Eckerberg (left) and Aziz Dag of Westinghouse Electric Sweden AB sign the agreement for decommissioning of large radioactive components at Sweden’s Ringhals-1 and -2. (Photo: Vattenfall/John Guthed)

Westinghouse will segment and dispose of the reactor internals and pressure vessels at Sweden’s Ringhals-1 and Ringhals-2 under a deal announced last week with plant owner Vattenfall. Unit 2, a pressurized water reactor, and Unit 1, a boiling water reactor, were shut down in 2019 and 2020, respectively, after operating for more than 40 years.

ORNL to test accident tolerant fuel irradiated at Byron-2

August 4, 2021, 3:02PMNuclear News
Irradiated lead test rods are delivered to Oak Ridge National Laboratory for examination. (Photo: ORNL)

Several lead test rods of Westinghouse’s EnCore accident tolerant fuel recently arrived at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for post-irradiation examination over the next year in support of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s licensing process. The rods were installed in 2019 in Exelon’s Byron-2, a 1,158-MWe pressurized water reactor, and were removed in fall 2020 and prepared for shipment to ORNL.

License extension for fuel site receives preliminary approval from NRC

August 3, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News

In a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) published last week, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission made a “preliminary recommendation” for approval of Westinghouse Electric Company’s application to renew for 40 years the operating license of its Columbia Fuel Fabrication Facility (CFFF), located in Hopkins, S.C.

California Republicans debut bill to save Diablo Canyon

July 15, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News

Nunes

Rep. Devin Nunes (R., Calif.) introduced legislation last week that would keep California’s Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in operation beyond its expected 2025 closure date. Dubbed the Clean Energy Production Act (H.R. 4394), the bill was introduced July 9 and referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Cosponsoring the measure is the remainder of the Golden State’s GOP contingent to the House: Reps. Ken Calvert, Mike Garcia, Darrell Issa, Young Kim, Doug LaMalfa, Kevin McCarthy, Tom McClintock, Jay Obernolte, Michelle Steel, and David G. Valadao.

Nuclear to dominate Bulgaria’s power mix to 2030

May 18, 2021, 7:01AMNuclear News
Source: GlobalData Power Intelligence Center

Nuclear power will remain the dominant source of electricity generation in Bulgaria until 2030, despite the national government’s plans to add a substantial amount of renewable capacity this decade, says GlobalData, a U.K.-based data and analytics company. (According to a national strategy blueprint published on the Bulgarian parliament’s website last year, the country is targeting an additional 2,645 MW of installed capacity from renewable sources by the end of 2030.)

TVA and Kairos partner on demonstration reactor

May 6, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News
Artist’s rendering of Kairos Power’s KP-FHR reactor. (Image: Kairos Power)

The Tennessee Valley Authority and nuclear technology and engineering company Kairos Power this morning announced plans to collaborate on the deployment of the latter’s low-power demonstration reactor, dubbed Hermes, at the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) in Oak Ridge, Tenn. TVA will provide engineering, operations, and licensing support to help Kairos with deployment, according to the announcement.

Westinghouse to invest in Poland’s nuclear future

March 17, 2021, 9:29AMNuclear News

Patrick Fragman (left), president and CEO of Westinghouse, and Piotr Naimski, Poland’s secretary of state for strategic energy infrastructure, met on March 15, 2021, in Warsaw. Photo: Westinghouse

The signing last October of a bilateral agreement between the United States and Poland to cooperate on the latter’s civil nuclear power program appears to be bearing fruit. On March 15, following a meeting in Warsaw between Patrick Fragman, president and chief executive officer of Westinghouse Electric Company, and Piotr Naimski, Poland’s secretary of state for strategic energy infrastructure, Westinghouse announced its intention to invest in nuclear technologies in Poland.

The agreement, which entered into force earlier this month, calls for the United States and Poland to cooperate over the next 18 months on a report laying out a plan for implementing Poland’s nuclear power program, as well as potential financing arrangements. It also defines areas of U.S.-Polish cooperation for decades to come, including support for relevant business entities and government-led efforts ranging from regulation to research and training to supply chain development.

NRC's RIC: A clear line of sight for accident tolerant fuel deployment

March 12, 2021, 3:02PMNuclear News

To nuclear fuel suppliers, today’s operating reactors represent a defined customer base with predictable demands. Utilities must order their next fuel reload far in advance of an outage; enrichers and fabricators work to fill those orders. Adapting such a highly optimized supply chain to accommodate new products—fuels with new materials, claddings, and higher enrichments and burnups—will require alignment between all parties involved to meet the associated research, enrichment, manufacturing, regulatory, transportation, and operating experience needs.

That was the consensus during “Current Accident Tolerant Fuel Environment,” a technical session held on March 9 during the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's four-day Regulatory Information Conference (RIC, March 8-11). The session was chaired by NRC Chairman Christopher Hanson, who was taking part in his first RIC as a member of the commission.

PRA standard for Advanced Non-Light Water Reactors just issued

February 9, 2021, 7:03AMNuclear News

ANSI/ASME/ANS RA-S-1.4-2021, “Probabilistic Risk Assessment Standard for Advanced Non-Light Water Reactor Nuclear Power Plants,” has just been issued. Approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) on January 28, 2021, this joint American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)/American Nuclear Society (ANS) standard sets forth requirements for probabilistic risk assessments (PRAs) used to support risk-informed decisions for commercial nuclear power plants and prescribes a method for applying these requirements for specific applications.

ANSI/ANS-RA-S-1.4-2021 and its preview are available in the ANS Standards Store.

Framatome declares ATF test at Vogtle a success

February 8, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear News

The $111.2 million in financial assistance awarded by the Department of Energy in late 2018 to nuclear fuel developers Framatome, General Electric, and Westinghouse for the development of accident tolerant fuel has yielded some encouraging results.

Framatome reports that the first 18-month fuel cycle test of its GAIA Enhanced Accident Tolerant Fuel (EATF) technology, conducted at Southern Nuclear’s Vogtle-2, has “demonstrated expected results and excellent performance.”

And last month, Westinghouse announced that the topical report on its Advanced Doped Pellet Technology fuel has been accepted for review by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, calling the decision “a major achievement for the advanced fuel portfolio Westinghouse is developing.”

Proposed Czech unit won’t be built by China

February 5, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear News

Czech Republic political parties have agreed to exclude China from participating in a tender to build an additional reactor at the Dukovany nuclear plant but have yet to decide whether to allow Russian participation, according to a report last week from Reuters.

Other bidders on the project, estimated to be worth some €6 billion (about $7.2 billion), include Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power of South Korea, EDF of France, and Westinghouse of the United States.

North Anna license renewal arguments to be aired

January 29, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear News

An aerial view of the North Anna nuclear plant. Photo: Dominion Energy

A Nuclear Regulatory Commission Atomic Safety and Licensing Board will conduct an “oral argument” via WebEx early next month regarding a petition to hold a hearing on North Anna’s subsequent license renewal (SLR) application, the agency announced yesterday.

ASLBs conduct adjudicatory hearings on major licensing actions by the NRC. Their rulings may be appealed to the commission.

The SLR application, submitted by Dominion Energy last August, was docketed by the NRC in October. The petition objecting to it was filed in December by three antinuclear organizations—Beyond Nuclear, Sierra Club, and Alliance for Progressive Virginia.

On February 4, beginning at 2 p.m. Eastern time, the ASLB will address a rule waiver request from the groups, as well as the admissibility of their proposed contention. The board will entertain comments from representatives for the petitioners, Dominion, and NRC staff.

NRC agrees to review Westinghouse ATF topical report

January 26, 2021, 3:03PMNuclear News

Westinghouse last week announced via blog post that a topical report on its Advanced Doped Pellet Technology (ADOPT) fuel has been accepted for review by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, calling the decision a “major achievement for the advanced fuel portfolio Westinghouse is developing as part of our EnCore fuel program.”

The company submitted the report in May of last year, requesting approval by February 2022. According to Westinghouse, a draft safety evaluation from the agency is expected this summer.

NRC accepts Point Beach SLR application

January 26, 2021, 7:01AMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has accepted for review NextEra Energy’s subsequent license renewal (SLR) application for its Point Beach reactors, making them the fifth and sixth units currently under consideration for a second 20-year license renewal. (SLR applications for Dominion Energy’s North Anna-1 and -2 and Surry-1 and -2 are also being reviewed, while SLR approval has been granted for Exelon’s Peach Bottom and NextEra’s Turkey Point units.)

NextEra submitted the SLR application in November of last year—the first such application involving a Midwestern nuclear plant. The NRC approved the plant’s initial license renewal in December 2005, allowing Unit 1 to operate through October 5, 2030, and Unit 2 through March 8, 2033.

Fuel innovation: Powering nuclear modernization

January 18, 2021, 9:35AMNuclear NewsBen Holtzman

Today’s U.S. commercial nuclear power plants are fueled with uranium dioxide pressed into cylindrical ceramic pellets—and have been for decades. These pellets are stacked inside long fuel rods made of a zirconium alloy cladding. Innovation in nuclear fuel, however, can improve safety, reduce operating costs, and further enable the development of a new generation of non-light-water reactors.