Advanced Reactors

Donalds praises nuclear, urges microreactor development in Florida

June 17, 2024, 12:02PMANS Nuclear Cafe


Byron Donalds, the Republican representative from Florida’s 19th Congressional District, is a well-known proponent of nuclear energy. In his latest op-ed, which appeared in The Floridian, Donalds describes himself as “unabashedly pronuclear” and characterizes his state as a supporter of nuclear power, with four operating reactors providing 69.3 percent of Florida’s carbon-free electricity, powering 2.3 million homes. He emphasizes, however, that “there’s so much nuclear potential yet to be realized in the Sunshine State.”

Environmental benefits: Donalds notes that nuclear energy provides “countless environmental benefits” to Floridians, as well as reliable electricity. The 1,132 acres on which the state’s St. Lucie nuclear power plant is located have mangrove swamps, beaches, marshes, and other wildlife habitats that are home to more than 180 species of animals—36 of which are endangered or threatened.

Wyoming as a hub for new nuclear manufacturing and microreactor deployment?

June 14, 2024, 3:10PMNuclear News

A 60-year-old Wyoming industrial machinery company is partnering with nuclear innovator BWX Technologies to deploy 50-megawatt microreactors in America’s heartland over the coming years to provide carbon-free heat and power for industrial users.

Army solicits bids for microreactors to site at military bases

June 6, 2024, 12:01PMNuclear News

The U.S. Army is asking nuclear companies to submit their proposals for microreactors that can be commissioned at military bases to provide clean, reliable power at two domestic military sites.

The bid solicitation window is short—just two weeks—but the army is asking for very high-level proposals from advanced nuclear companies who are ready to jump into action. Following the initial submission period, top contenders for the project will be invited back for pitch sessions; full contracts then will be negotiated.

NRC accepts TerraPower’s SMR construction permit

May 24, 2024, 12:00PMNuclear News
A rendering of the Natrium plant. (Image: Terrapower)

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has formally accepted TerraPower’s small modular reactor construction permit application and is scheduling it for review.

The company’s Natrium reactor demonstration project—the nation’s first commercial advanced reactor of its kind—would be built on land in Wyoming near one of the state’s retiring coal plants. Kemmerer Power Station Unit 1 would operate as a 345-MW sodium-cooled reactor in conjunction with molten salt–based energy storage.

Developing a new regulatory framework for advanced reactors: Update on Part 53

May 3, 2024, 7:01AMNuclear News


The American Nuclear Society’s Risk-informed, Performance-based Principles and Policy Committee (RP3C) on March 29 held another presentation in its monthly Community of Practice (CoP) series. The presenter, Patrick White with the Nuclear Innovation Alliance (NIA), talked about the current status of efforts to develop a new regulatory framework for advanced reactors—known as 10 CFR Part 53 or simply Part 53. White serves as the research director of the NIA, where he leads their research as well as analysis-based stakeholder and policymaker engagement and education. White’s March 29 presentation is publicly available on YouTube and at ANS’s publication platform Nuclear Science and Technology Open Research (NSTOR).

RP3C chair N. Prasad Kadambi opened the CoP with brief introductory remarks about the RP3C before he welcomed White as the session’s presenter.

White covered three main topics: the history of the existing regulatory frameworks for new reactors, progress to date on the development of the Part 53 rule for advanced reactors, and the current status and next steps for the Part 53 rulemaking process.

Geological work begins on Poland’s first nuclear plant

April 25, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News

Project management firm Bechtel started site geological surveys for Poland’s first nuclear power plant project, the company announced on Wednesday.

Bechtel will conduct in-depth geological surveys at the Lubiatowo-Kopalino site in the Pomeranian municipality of Choczewo, in northern Poland. This is a key milestone for the country’s entry into nuclear power production, as the surveys will inform the suitability of the planned site.

Oklo looks to bring microreactor “powerhouse” units on line

April 11, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News
Concept art of Oklo's Aurora Powerhouse in use. (Source: Oklo)

Next-generation reactor company Oklo Inc. is teaming up with Diamondback Energy Inc. to bring Oklo’s Aurora Powerhouse units to the American Southwest.

The companies signed a nonbinding letter of intent (LOI) this week to collaborate on a 20-year power purchase agreement that would provide 50 MW of electricity per unit to Diamondback’s Permian Basin operations area. The agreement lays out options to renew and extend the agreement for an additional 20-year term, since the units are designed to operate for 40 years without needing to refuel. Diamondback is an independent oil and gas company headquartered in Texas.

TerraPower submits Natrium construction application to the NRC

March 29, 2024, 12:00PMNuclear News

TerraPower today submitted its formal construction permit application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the Natrium reactor demonstration project—a milestone submission for the nation’s first commercial advanced reactor of its kind.

TerraPower bullish on Natrium plant construction

March 26, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News

TerraPower officials said last week to expect “dirt moving” at its Wyoming site come June—and for operations to begin there as early as 2030—as it advances plans to build new nuclear in the United States. But 40-plus pages of initial commentary from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, in the form of a preapplication readiness assessment report, may slow TerraPower’s plans.

Unlocking Africa’s potential through nuclear energy

March 26, 2024, 7:02AMNuclear NewsAleshia Duncan

Aleshia Duncan

Data from the African Development Bank shows that Africans have an electricity access rate of 40 percent—the lowest in the world. This statistic is one I have been hoping to bring more awareness to and positively impact. Since stepping into my role at the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy, I have prioritized focusing on Africa, leveraging the opportunity to deepen existing relationships and forge new ones.

Developments in advanced reactor technology are opening the door to all nations and promise to be critical to attaining climate and energy security goals. As we engage various countries on the African continent regarding their desire to pursue nuclear as an important part of their energy mix, Ghana has emerged as a nation that offers a unique partner profile that is aligned with our mission to support emerging markets and build regional leaders while also being motivated by its own sense of urgency in deploying new nuclear.

Nations envision nuclear reactors on the moon

March 25, 2024, 12:02PMANS Nuclear Cafe


Russian space agency Roscosmos has announced its intention to build a nuclear reactor on the lunar surface in collaboration with the China National Space Administration. According to Roscosmos director general Yury Borisov, “Today we are seriously considering a project—somewhere at the turn of 2033–2035—to deliver and install a [nuclear] power unit on the lunar surface together with our Chinese colleagues.” The reactor would apparently be used to supply power to the Russian-Chinese International Lunar Research Station (ILRS), plans for which the two nations unveiled in 2021.

These plans come on top of previously announced plans of the United States and United Kingdom for lunar nuclear reactors.

“Buy the best and only cry once”

March 14, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy

Spoiler alert: America has one more nuclear reactor on line.

It’s been a long, hard slog for the Vogtle reactor expansion project, and the news coverage has been tough. I would describe it as the “standard media fare” of late—a steady flow of click-inducing “breaking news” alerts on cost overruns and schedule delays. Sure, it’s all fair game in a world with press freedom, but I had hoped for more substance along with the “horse race” reporting from our Fourth Estate.

Nuclear is hard—but it’s not just nuclear. In the United States, big groundbreaking projects of all sorts veer over budget and behind schedule frequently these days, resulting in unpleasant headlines along the way. Then, when they are up and running, these facilities tend to fall out of the public spotlight, and we all start taking them for granted. But this narrative arc hides a larger truth. When Vogtle Unit 4 joins Unit 3 in commercial operation later this year, the two units together are tipped to churn out over 17 million megawatt-hours of steady 24/7 power on an annual basis. That’s more energy per year than all the windmills in California—enough to feed one million homes and businesses. It will do this for the next 60, 80, maybe even 100 years. Talk about a buried lede!

China’s new Linglong One reactor just one piece of nuclear expansion

March 13, 2024, 3:00PMNuclear News
Workers install the core module of Linglong One, the world's first commercial SMR, at a nuclear power plant in Changjiang Li autonomous county, Hainan province, in August 2023. (Photo: Zhang Liyun/

China is on pace to add as many as 10 reactors a year and may surpass the United States’ total nuclear capacity by 2030.

As part of this growth, construction is wrapping up this month on the world’s first onshore commercial modular pressurized water reactor—Linglong One, which is located in the Hainan province. That’s according to China Metallurgical News, an established news unit reporting on China’s industrial chain.

NRC hearing gives information on X-energy, Dow project

February 29, 2024, 9:31AMNuclear News
A digital rendering of the Dow/X-energy Xe-100 plant in Texas. (Image: X-energy)

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission hosted a public meeting earlier this month for community members to learn more about X-energy’s plans to build small modular reactors at a Dow Chemical plant on the Gulf Coast of Texas.