Social license in the deployment of advanced nuclear technology

September 16, 2022, 3:47PMNuclear NewsJessica R. Lovering and Todd R. Allen

Advanced reactor developers are designing many new nuclear energy products, targeting commercial demonstration before 2030. These products aim to provide different products and grid services beyond what is provided by the first generations of commercial nuclear plants, namely, gigawatt-scale electricity production. These reactors are intended for deployment in many novel scenarios, including being closer to population centers. They will be sited in governmental processes that encourage far more public participation than was possible when many of the existing plants were sited and built in the 1960s and 1970s. This means that community engagement and approval likely will be critical for project success. This article, which discusses this issue of social license, is an adaptation of “Social license in the deployment of advanced nuclear technology,” published in Energies in 2021.1 A more detailed discussion can be found in the original article.

“We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat”

September 7, 2022, 7:01AMNuclear NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy

Everyone knows the iconic scene in the classic 1975 movie Jaws when Chief Brody, played by Roy Scheider, is chumming the waters off the coast of Cape Cod and finds himself face-to-face with a 25-foot great white shark for the first time. As you will remember, the scene cuts to Brody shuffling into the boat’s cabin, turning to Quint—the salty captain played by Robert Shaw—and saying rather dryly, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

That image, of someone confronting the true scope of their challenge, is the thing that kept creeping into my mind as I walked the expo floor of the 2022 Utility Working Conference held on Marco Island, Fla., last month.

Yes, the excitement was palpable. The Inflation Reduction Act was cruising toward enactment with $30–40 billion in new nuclear-eligible clean energy tax incentives in its berth. Dow had just announced its intention to partner with X-energy to site a high-temperature gas reactor at one of its Gulf Coast manufacturing facilities.

Nuclear Hydrogen Initiative promotes nuclear's role in generating hydrogen fuel

July 28, 2022, 7:02AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The Nuclear Hydrogen Initiative (NHI), an international coalition of more than 40 participants, has launched with the mission of advancing the development of commercial hydrogen fuel generated by nuclear power “as a critical climate solution within a shared vision of a decarbonized global energy system.” The coalition plans to raise awareness among policymakers, businesses, investors, and other stakeholders regarding the promising role of nuclear hydrogen in delivering carbon-free, secure, and affordable energy.

Using the “New math”: Artificial intelligence and machine learning applications for the nuclear power industry

June 10, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear NewsCurtis Smith, Ahmad Al Rashdan, and Vivek Agarwal

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are helping scientists, engineers, regulators, and plant decision makers in their research and development of clean energy production to achieve a net-zero carbon footprint. While this science is new in terms of actual applications, it is fostering innovation in a variety of domains, from material discovery and qualification to advanced reactor design to supporting efficiencies in current power plants and transforming the usability of nuclear power plant control rooms.

Finding fusion’s place

May 27, 2022, 4:38PMNuclear NewsBart Gordon, Tim Peckinpaugh, Mike O’Neill, and Molly Barker
Artist’s rendering of the U.K.'s STEP fusion reactor. (Image: U.K. Atomic Energy Authority)

Fusion energy is attracting significant interest from governments and private capital markets. The deployment of fusion energy on a timeline that will affect climate change and offer another tool for energy security will require support from stakeholders, regulators, and policymakers around the world. Without broad support, fusion may fail to reach its potential as a “game-­changing” technology to make a meaningful difference in addressing the twin challenges of climate change and geopolitical energy security.

The process of developing the necessary policy and regulatory support is already underway around the world. Leaders in the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, China, and elsewhere are engaging with the key issues and will lead the way in setting the foundation for a global fusion industry.

ANS urges COP26 to recognize nuclear energy’s climate role

November 2, 2021, 12:00PMANS NewsCraig Piercy

On behalf of over 10,000 nuclear engineers, scientists, and technologists, the American Nuclear Society urges COP 26 delegates to insist that any agreement arising from COP26 include a strong role for nuclear technology in achieving carbon reduction targets.

Deep decarbonization and electrification of the global economy will require the increased availability of firm, “dispatchable” zero-carbon energy technologies. Nuclear energy is the only energy source with a proven track record of producing firm, zero-carbon energy at the scale needed to meet global goals. Indeed, it’s increasingly clear that achieving net-zero worldwide carbon emissions is simply not feasible without a significant expansion of carbon-free nuclear energy worldwide.

The American Nuclear Society urges COP26 to recognize nuclear energy’s climate role

November 1, 2021, 5:44AMPress Releases

On behalf of over 10,000 nuclear engineers, scientists, and technologists, the American Nuclear Society urges COP 26 delegates to insist that any agreement arising from COP26 include a strong role for nuclear technology in achieving carbon reduction targets.

Calling balls and strikes

October 13, 2020, 3:00PMANS NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy

As a not-for-profit scientific and professional organization, the American Nuclear Society’s raison d’être has always been the advancement of nuclear science and technology. While many among our diverse ranks may see themselves as advocates, it is important to recognize that ANS the organization will never take the place of industry trade associations like the Nuclear Energy Institute or the U.S. Nuclear Infrastructure Council. No, we will always be dedicated first to serving the men and women of the nuclear community, both here in the United States and around the world, as a source of news, technical knowledge, professional development opportunities, and scientific fellowship.

This should not in any way dissuade us, however—either individually or as a community—from engaging in the public discussion about nuclear technology, especially when debates become tainted by outright falsehoods or “fake news.” As we have seen in stark relief over the past eight months of pandemic-dominated life, the scientific community has a societal obligation to stand up and set the record straight when misinformation crops up. Simply put, we have to be prepared to call balls and strikes.