Power & Operations


Revamped U.S.-India Strategic Clean Energy Partnership launched

September 15, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News
U.S. energy secretary Jennifer Granholm and India’s minister of petroleum and natural gas Hardeep Singh Puri remotely meet (with others in the background) during the virtual launch of a "newly revitalized” U.S.-India clean energy partnership.

U.S. energy secretary Jennifer Granholm and India’s minister of petroleum and natural gas, Hardeep Singh Puri, last week presided over the virtual launch of what the Department of Energy termed the “newly revitalized” U.S.-India Strategic Clean Energy Partnership (SCEP).

Biden makes pick for open FERC seat

September 14, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News

Willie L. Phillips Jr.

President Biden last Thursday announced his intention to nominate Willie L. Phillips Jr., chairman of the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia, for the vacant seat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Phillips would replace Republican Neil Chatterjee, who left FERC at the end of August, two months after the official expiration of his term. (Chatterjee remained on the commission to provide time for the Biden administration to choose his replacement. He has since joined the Climate Leadership Council and the global law firm Hogan Lovells.)

Before joining the D.C. PSC, Phillips served as assistant general counsel for the North American Electric Reliability Corporation. He is currently an active member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, where he serves on the board of directors as chair of the Select Committee on Regulatory and Industry Diversity.

NRC EDO leaves for senior position at IAEA

September 13, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News

Doane

Margaret Doane, the first female executive director for operations at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, will depart the agency on October 8 to take the position of deputy director general for management at the International Atomic Energy Agency, the NRC announced this morning.

Doane, who has been the NRC’s EDO since July 2018, began her career at the agency in 1991 as a special assistant in the Office of the Secretary. Her senior leadership roles have included serving as an attorney in the Office of Commission Appellate Adjudication, chief of staff for former commissioner Jeffrey Merrifield, and NRC general counsel—a position she held from 2012 to 2018. Doane has international experience as well, having served in the Office of International Programs, both as deputy director and director.

Byron, Dresden saved by the bill? An update

September 10, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News
The Byron nuclear power plant

(This story has been updated from yesterday's post about the Illinois energy package.)

With only days remaining before the scheduled retirement of Exelon Generation’s Byron nuclear plant, the Illinois House has approved a comprehensive energy package (S.B. 2408) that would save the plant, as well as the state’s similarly struggling Braidwood and Dresden facilities.

Byron, Dresden saved by the bill?

September 9, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News

With only days remaining before the scheduled retirement of Exelon Generation’s Byron nuclear plant, the Illinois General Assembly may be close to passing a comprehensive energy package (S.B. 2408) that would save that plant, as well as the state’s similarly struggling Braidwood and Dresden facilities.

House Democrats have introduced an amendment to S.B. 2408 that would require municipally owned coal plants to achieve a 45 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2035 and completely phase out coal by 2045. The House is considering the amendment today.

(Financial assistance to Illinois’s nuclear fleet is part of a package that for weeks has been mired in disagreement between unions and environmental groups over the fate of the state’s coal plants.)

DOE, U.S. companies to assist Ukraine in energy transition

September 9, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News
Energy secretary Jennifer Granholm (seated at left) and Ukrainian energy minister Herman Galushchenko (seated at right) on August 31 sign an agreement to bolster U.S.-Ukrainian energy cooperation. Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, stands in the background. (Photo: DOE)

U.S. energy secretary Jennifer Granholm and Ukrainian energy minister Herman Galushchenko last week signed a joint statement of intent to advance energy and climate cooperation through the U.S.-Ukraine Strategic Energy and Climate Dialogue. The signing took place during a visit to Washington, D.C., by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky for meetings with President Biden at the White House.

The latest from WNA on fleet performance and fuel

September 8, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News

Nuclear power plants around the world generated 2,553 TWh of electricity in 2020, a drop of 104 TWh from 2019’s total, according to World Nuclear Performance Report 2021. The report was released last week by the U.K.-based World Nuclear Association.

Nuclear generation declined in Africa, North America, and Western and Central Europe, rose in Asia (but by much less than in recent years), and remained largely unchanged in Eastern Europe, South America, and Russia, the 68-page report states.

Sama Bilbao y León, WNA director general, notes in the report’s preface that although the nearly 4 percent decline “would be an unequivocal disappointment” in any other year, “in 2020, with overall electricity demand falling by around 1 percent and nuclear reactors increasingly being called upon to provide load-following support to the increased share of variable renewable generation, the resilience and flexibility shown by the global nuclear fleet tell a very positive story.”

Nuclear energy ensures clean energy jobs for American workers

September 8, 2021, 6:59AMANS Nuclear CafeSteven P. Nesbit and Lonnie R. Stephenson

America’s electric utility workers and nuclear engineers are ready to work together to help rapidly decarbonize and electrify the economy. We welcome provisions in the bipartisan infrastructure bill that aim to prevent premature closures of our nuclear power plants. Through measures such as production tax credits, President Biden can safeguard America’s largest carbon-free energy source by recognizing the clean-air contributions of nuclear energy.

Pennsylvania closer to joining multistate cap-and-trade initiative

September 7, 2021, 7:01AMNuclear News
Energy Harbor’s Beaver Valley nuclear plant in Shippingport, Pa.

In an action that could make Pennsylvania’s nuclear plants more cost-competitive in power markets, the state’s Independent Regulatory Review Commission has approved a regulation that would allow Pennsylvania to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cooperative effort of Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states designed to cap and reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuel–fired power plants.

Hope still alive for Byron, Dresden plants

September 1, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News
The Dresden nuclear power plant

With essentially no time to spare, the Illinois Senate early this morning passed a clean energy omnibus package that includes $694 million in assistance to three of the state’s financially troubled nuclear plants: Braidwood, Byron, and Dresden. The vote was 39–16. (Both the Senate and House had returned to the capital on Tuesday for a one-day special session to consider legislative redistricting.)

Hurricane Ida causes Waterford shutdown, reduced power at River Bend

September 1, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News
Hurricane Ida knocked out all transmission lines into New Orleans, leaving more than a million people without power. (Photo: Entergy)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it was monitoring events at three nuclear power reactors in Louisiana and Mississippi after Hurricane Ida made landfall on August 29. With winds of 150 miles per hour, the Category 4 storm left more than 1 million people without power in the two states. Ida has since weakened to a tropical storm.

Illinois lawmakers try one more time to save imperiled nuclear plants

August 31, 2021, 12:01PMNuclear News

Yesterday morning with about two weeks to go before the scheduled permanent closure of Illinois’s Byron nuclear power plant, state Sen. Michael Hastings (D., 19th Dist.) filed a proposal to end the state legislature’s stalemate on a clean energy package that would, among other things, provide financial aid to Byron, as well as to other endangered nuclear power facilities in the state, via a carbon mitigation credit program.

Court finds no breach of contract in failed Bellefonte sale

August 30, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News
Bellefonte nuclear power plant (Photo: TVA)

A federal court last week sided with the Tennessee Valley Authority in its legal dispute with Nuclear Development LLC over the proposed sale of the unfinished Bellefonte nuclear power plant. The court, however, also ordered the utility to refund millions to Nuclear Development over the aborted transaction.

Second unit at UAE’s Barakah plant starts up

August 30, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News
The UAE’s Barakah-2 (Photo: FANR)

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation has announced the startup of Unit 2 at the Barakah nuclear power plant, located in the Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates’ capital city.

The milestone, ENEC noted in its August 27 announcement, was achieved approximately one year after the startup of the plant’s Unit 1 reactor and within five months of Unit 1’s entering commercial operation.

Innovations in instrumentation and controls from the Transformational Challenge Reactor program

August 27, 2021, 3:01PMNuclear NewsSacit Cetiner, Christian Petrie, Venugopal Varma, Nathan See, and Eliott Fountain

The Transformational Challenge Reactor (TCR) program was launched in 2019 to demonstrate that highly improved, efficient systems can be created rapidly by harnessing the major advances in manufacturing, materials, and computational sciences that have emerged since the end of the first nuclear era. The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory leads the TCR program, which includes contributing partners from other DOE national laboratories and the U.S. nuclear industry. The program leverages some of the nation’s leading scientists and engineers and draws from ORNL’s lengthy history, institutional knowledge, and capabilities in high--performance computing, materials science development, advanced manufacturing techniques, and nuclear science and engineering.

U.K. presents plan for hydrogen economy

August 27, 2021, 7:02AMNuclear News

The U.K. government last week announced the release of its UK Hydrogen Strategy, predicting thousands of jobs and billions of pounds in investment and export opportunities over the coming decades via the creation of a low-carbon hydrogen sector in Britain.

A flourishing, U.K.-wide hydrogen economy could be worth £900 million (about $1.2 billion) and create over 9,000 high-quality jobs by 2030, according to the government, potentially rising to 100,000 jobs and worth up to £13 billion (about $18 billion) by 2050.

Group exhorts Belgium to rethink nuclear phaseout

August 26, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News
Engie Electrabel’s four-unit Doel nuclear plant, in East Flanders, Belgium. Units 1, 2, and 4 are to be closed in 2025; Unit 3 is to be shuttered in 2022. (Photo: Torsade de Pointes)

A pronuclear think tank in Belgium has written a letter to the country’s prime minister, Alexander De Croo, urging him to reevaluate the government’s plan to phase out nuclear power generation by 2025 and replace it with gas power.

Controlling global warming  

August 25, 2021, 9:30AMANS Nuclear CafeSamuel H. Levine
(Photo: Jackl)

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in posted articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Nuclear Society. The views expressed here are those of the individual authors. ANS takes no ownership of their views. The American Nuclear Society assumes no responsibility or liability for any use or operation of any methods, products, instructions, or ideas contained on this site.

Global warming is widely recognized as an existential threat that will have horrific consequences if left uncontrolled. The intent of this article is to create a call to action for our industry to unite in promoting nuclear energy as the best way to combat this threat while investing in research for improved deployment methodologies.  Together, we need to decriminalize our reputation by reversing the extraordinary and lasting fear generated by the sensationalistic and irresponsible reporting done throughout and after the Three Mile Island-2 nuclear accident.  Provided is context on how the world’s current energy use will only continue to accelerate global warming. Lastly is a proposed nuclear research program to develop a method to contract 1000-MWe or larger nuclear power plants that are safe and able to compete on price.