IAEA holds its annual nuclear law training program

November 20, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
IAEA director general Rafael Mariano Grossi welcomes participants at the annual session of the IAEA’s Nuclear Law Institute. (Photo: Dean Calma/IAEA)

As countries increasingly plan to adopt or expand nuclear energy to their energy grids, the importance of national and international nuclear law was underscored in recent remarks by Rafael Mariano Grossi, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s director general.

UMich offers online collection on “Nuclear Futures”

October 26, 2023, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

A new NSTOR collection, "Reimagining Nuclear Futures: Emerging Voices on Technology, Policy, and Society," has been launched by Aditi Verma, assistant professor of nuclear engineering and radiological sciences at the University of Michigan. The collection features technology policy op-eds, essays, and papers from emerging scholars in nuclear engineering and adjacent fields.

The collection is open access with no publication charges through the end of 2024.

NSTOR—Nuclear Science and Technology Open Research—is offered through the American Nuclear Society.


ANS’s Operations and Power Division

October 18, 2023, 7:05AMNuclear NewsKeith J. Drudy

Anyone involved in the nuclear power industry could tell you that the operation of nuclear power plants is a demanding and never-ending endeavor. Our machines are complex, our challenges are diverse, and our standards are unyielding. The truth is, however, many of us stay in this field because there’s something at the heart of what we do that makes it all worthwhile.

NCSU’s advanced research reactor study to be funded by state

October 4, 2023, 7:01AMNuclear News

North Carolina’s fiscal year 2024 budget for the state has allocated $3 million for North Carolina State University, in Raleigh, to conduct a study to assess the feasibility for the establishment of an advanced nuclear research reactor.

National Museum of Nuclear Science and History explores “atomic” culture

September 29, 2023, 12:06PMNuclear News
Comic books and cartoon characters began to be used to provide information and propaganda about nuclear weapons and energy in the 1940s. Items in the exhibition include True Comics #47 (1946), Bert the Turtle Says Duck and Cover (1951), The Mighty Atom, Starring Reddy Kilowatt (1959), and The H-Bomb and You (1955). (Photo: National Museum of Nuclear Science and History)

For many of us, the toys of our childhood leave indelible marks on our consciousness, affecting our long-term perceptions and attitudes about certain things. Hot Wheels may inspire a lifelong fascination with fast, flashy automobiles, while Barbies might shape ideas about beauty and self-­image. For the generation who grew up during the Atomic Age—the post–World War II era from roughly the mid-1940s to the early 1960s—the toys, games, and entertainment of their childhoods might have included things like atomic pistols, atomic trains, rings with tiny amounts of radioactive elements, and comic books, puzzles, and music about nuclear weapons.

Hill staffers get a nonproliferation education

September 25, 2023, 7:01AMANS News
Congressional staffers gathered for a talk on nuclear weapons and nonproliferation as part of the ANS Nuclear Energy 101 program.

Class was back in session this spring when, after a hiatus, the American Nuclear Society hosted its third session of Nuclear Energy 101 in Washington, D.C., for congressional staffers. This five-course educational series is a wonderful—and popular—tool for ANS to network with congressional staff and explain the basics of nuclear science and technology.

ACU opens facility designed for advanced nuclear research

September 11, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
ACU’s grand opening event for the Gayle and Max Dillard Science and Engineering Research Center. (Photo: ACU)

Abilene Christian University’s Gayle and Max Dillard Science and Engineering Research Center (SERC) has opened. SERC contains the Nuclear Energy eXperimental Testing Laboratory (NEXT Lab) and is the future home of one of the first advanced reactors in the United States. More than 300 people were on hand to celebrate the opening and tour the facility, including donors, government officials, and scientists from ACU and other research institutions.

YouTube journalists offer education on nuclear energy

September 8, 2023, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe



Cleo Abram and Johnny Harris are young, independent video journalists—and friends and colleagues—who have been posting educational and supportive videos about nuclear energy on YouTube.

Abram describes her work as “making optimistic tech explainers.” The name of her show is Huge If True, “an antidote to the doom and gloom, helping its audience decode the world around them and see positive futures they can help build.”

Prepping for the 2023 nuclear PE exam with ANS guides

September 5, 2023, 3:02PMANS News

The next opportunity to earn professional engineer (P.E.) licensure in nuclear engineering will be this fall when the exam is administered nationwide on October 24, 2023. If you haven't yet done so, you can brush up for the exam by obtaining the various preparation materials made available by the American Nuclear Society.

According to Joshua Vajda, chair of the ANS Professional Engineering Examination Committee (PEEC), it is important for ANS as a scientific society to continue to encourage professional licensure: “Emphasizing the importance of obtaining nuclear credentials is a Society initiative to maintain high ethical standards in the industry and to provide career advancement for the next generation of young practicing nuclear engineers.”

Missouri’s MURRs: Old and new

August 23, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
A reactor operator at MURR works with a sample can from the reactor pool. (Photo: University of Missouri)

On April 10, the University of Missouri (MU) took its first formal step toward building NextGen MURR when school officials issued the request for qualifications for the project. The RFQ is a solicitation for interested companies to offer the design, engineering, licensing, environmental, and developmental services that are needed for NextGen MURR, planned to be larger and more capable than the school’s existing University of Missouri Research Reactor (MURR)—which itself has been the most powerful research reactor and most intense neutron source on any U.S. campus since it began operating in 1966.

Weaving mind, brain, and education into Westinghouse’s training

July 31, 2023, 3:01PMNuclear News



The relatively young pedagogical field of mind, brain, and education (MBE) is being increasingly applied to training programs in the nuclear industry. Last month, this column highlighted how the MBE approach is being used at the Beaver Valley nuclear power plant in Shippingport, Pa. (“Neuroscience meets nuclear science at Beaver Valley,” NN, June 2023, p. 80). This month, the focus is on the MBE efforts of Pittsburgh-­based Westinghouse Electric Company, led by Westinghouse employees Pamela Terry, business and staff development lead, and Dave Helling, senior training advisor.

Helling was one of four panelists (along with Beaver Valley’s instructional technologist Annaliese Piraino) who participated in a discussion at the Conference on Nuclear Training and Education: A Biennial International Forum (CONTE 2023) earlier this year. There, he summarized his two conference presentations and discussed aspects of his company’s psychology-­ and neuroscience-­based approach to training and education.

Online no-cost nuclear energy course covers key facts and issues

July 27, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Clean Air Task Force are offering a three-day course “Nuclear Energy in a Low-Carbon Future: Key Facts and Issues” on August 1–3. The course is organized by MIT’s Jacopo Buongiorno, Tokyo Electric Power Company Professor in Nuclear Engineering and director of science and technology for the university’s Nuclear Reactor Laboratory.

The daily schedule runs from 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. (Eastern) on the first two days and 9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. on the third day.

The in-person version of the course is fully booked, but slots for remote attendance are still available—at no cost. Registration is required by completing a registration form.

ANS works to promote K-12 nuclear education program in North Carolina

June 28, 2023, 12:04PMNuclear News
The PULSTAR reactor at North Carolina State University. (Photo: N.C. State)

The American Nuclear Society is collaborating with the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership (KFP) at North Carolina State University to introduce a nuclear science curriculum to Kenan Fellows and the K-12 students they teach.

Neuroscience meets nuclear science at Beaver Valley

June 26, 2023, 3:06PMNuclear News
The Beaver Valley/Energy Harbor training management team poses in Beaver Valley’s Unit 1 simulator room. Left to right are: Phil Norgaard (fleet training manager), Jerry Manning (maintenance and technical training supervisor), Shari Cook (fleet training superintendent), Annaliese Piraino (instructional technologist), Mike Brasile (training manager), and Greg Pelka (operations training superintendent). (Photo: Energy Harbor)

The education and training of the nuclear power plant workforce is advancing in ways that are increasingly based on scientific knowledge about how the brain works. At the Beaver Valley nuclear power plant in Shippingport, Pa., instructional technologist and certified nuclear instructor Annaliese B. Piraino is applying the principles of educational psychology and neuroscience to the instructional practices.

The plant, which Texas-based Vistra Corporation acquired recently from Energy Harbor, consists of two Westinghouse pressurized water reactors, each with a production capacity just over 930 MWe. The operators along with the maintenance and technical staff at Beaver Valley are beginning to show the benefits of the new neuroscience-based instructional approaches to training that are being implemented by Piraino and the Beaver Valley training department.


DOE-NE invests more than $6 million in university nuclear research infrastructure

June 26, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy on June 21 announced just over $6.3 million in funding for 18 projects at 15 universities in 14 states. The funding builds up scientific infrastructure and upgrades research reactors at universities to expand the nation’s scientific capabilities and train the next generation of nuclear energy scientists and engineers.

SMR survey suggests low awareness but high acceptability

June 19, 2023, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The latest National Nuclear Energy Public Opinion Survey by Bisconti Research, conducted from April 28 to May 5, indicated little awareness of small modular reactors (SMRs). Of 1,000 adults in the United States who were surveyed, only about 20 percent answered “yes” to the question “Have you heard anything about advanced-design nuclear power plants called Small Modular Reactors (SMRs)?” Sixty-seven percent answered “no,” and 14 percent responded “not sure.”

Running out of time to be afraid

June 14, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy

In his new film Nuclear Now, Oliver Stone brings his seasoned directorial hand to bear on the modern case for nuclear energy. Of course, all of us in the field are suckers for a good nuclear movie. (Triple feature with Pandora’s Promise and A New Fire, anyone?) Stone really does do a masterful job of weaving imagery, narration, and animation together to tell the story of his personal journey to understanding the indispensability of nuclear.

What struck me in particular was Stone’s assertion that “we are running out of time to be afraid.” It made me think: How much time do we have left to lock in a durable shift in public opinion that can weather adverse events and clear public policy obstacles and still give the investment community confidence to put big chips on the table?

You don’t have to look far to find progress. Gallup released its annual “Americans’ Opinions of Nuclear Energy” poll in April. It shows a 4-point year-over-year increase in support for nuclear energy, which represents the highest level of support in the post-Fukushima era. Gallup’s numbers align with other polls that show steady increases in support for nuclear in the last few years, especially among the left-leaning respondents.