Power & Operations

Russia expands its nuclear-powered icebreaker fleet in Arctic

November 30, 2022, 3:02PMANS Nuclear Cafe
The Yakutia awaits launch at St. Petersburg’s Baltic Shipyard on Nov. 22. (Photo: TASS/Valentin Yegorshin)

Advancing its efforts to develop the Arctic and establish new energy markets, Russia launched a new nuclear-powered icebreaker, the Yakutia, in St. Petersburg during a November 22 ceremony. At the launching in the northern Russian port city, the Russian flag was raised on another nuclear icebreaker, the Ural. Overseeing the events via video link from the Kremlin, Russian president Vladimir Putin said that the icebreakers “were laid down as part of a large serial project and are part of our large-scale, systematic work to reequip and replenish the domestic icebreaker fleet, to strengthen Russia's status as a great Arctic power.”

U.S. to assist Thailand, Philippines with nuclear energy plans

November 29, 2022, 3:10PMNuclear News
Philippine president Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and Vice President Harris meet in Manila on November 21. (Photo: Office of the Press Secretary, Republic of the Philippines)

During a recent weeklong trip to Southeast Asia aimed at bolstering U.S. economic and security ties in the region, Vice President Kamala Harris announced the launch of nuclear energy partnerships with Thailand and the Philippines.

Currently, neither country enjoys the benefits of nuclear power. Both rely primarily on some mix of petroleum, natural gas, and coal for their energy needs.

U.K. government reaffirms backing of Sizewell C project

November 23, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News


U.K. chancellor of the exchequer Jeremy Hunt last week assuaged any concerns that Britain’s nuclear energy advocates might have been harboring regarding the new government’s support for the proposed Sizewell C plant. (The United Kingdom is on its third prime minister since July, when Boris Johnson’s government granted EDF Energy its long-awaited development consent order for the new nuclear build project.)

What he said: In his November 17 Autumn Statement, while noting the United Kingdom’s status as “a global leader in renewable energy,” Hunt added, “We need to go further, with a major acceleration of home-grown technologies like offshore wind, carbon capture, and storage, and, above all, nuclear. This will deliver new jobs, industries, and export opportunities and secure the clean, affordable energy we need to power our future economy and reach net zero."

Diablo Canyon approved for federal funding; Palisades denied

November 22, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News
The Palisades nuclear power plant, in Michigan, before it was permanently closed. (Photo: Holtec)

Pacific Gas & Electric’s two-unit Diablo Canyon plant—California’s lone operating nuclear power facility—has been deemed eligible for the initial round of funding from the Civil Nuclear Credit (CNC) Program, the Department of Energy announced yesterday.

The decision was welcomed by a nuclear community disappointed by last Friday’s news that the DOE had rejected Holtec International’s CNC application for the recently closed Palisades nuclear plant in Michigan, despite support for the effort from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Bruce Power advances nuclear carbon offset project

November 21, 2022, 3:04PMNuclear News
The Bruce Power A and B nuclear power plants. (Photo: CNSC)

Canada’s Bruce Power, operator of the eight-unit Bruce nuclear plant in Kincardine, Ontario, has announced a “made-in-Ontario solution” to the net-zero challenges faced by industries: allowing new incremental nuclear output to be accredited for an avoided emissions benefit.

U.S., Ukraine launch SMR project for clean hydrogen production

November 21, 2022, 7:13AMNuclear News
U.S. special envoy for climate John Kerry at COP27. (Photo: Embassy of Ukraine in the United States of America)

U.S. special envoy for climate John Kerry and Ukraine’s minister of energy German Galushchenko have announced a two-to-three-year pilot project aimed at demonstrating the commercial-scale production of clean hydrogen and ammonia from small modular reactors in Ukraine using solid oxide electrolysis.

Importance of environmental monitoring for consent-based siting of nuclear facilities

November 18, 2022, 3:04PMNuclear NewsHaruko Wainwright and Carol Eddy-Dilek

Consent-based siting has become one of the emergent priorities in nuclear energy, particularly for spent fuel storage and high-level waste (HLW) disposal.1 Consent-based siting is based on broad public participation to address the needs and concerns of communities, aiming for equity and environmental justice. While there are some successful examples (Finland and Sweden above all), consent-based siting is not a straightforward process. Although Japan, for example, adopted consent-based siting for their HLW disposal over 20 years ago, it has not yet identified a community to host a repository. Environmental and safety concerns have been the biggest bottleneck for siting nuclear facilities. A recent proposal for the interim storage in Andrews, Texas, for instance, has been opposed by Gov. Greg Abbott and others.

Keystone State lawmakers show interest in SMRs

November 18, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives this week adopted a resolution directing the Joint State Government Commission to conduct a “holistic” study on the benefits of nuclear energy and small modular reactors. (The JSGC, according to its website, serves as the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s primary research organization, providing the legislature with a readily available mechanism for conducting interdisciplinary studies.) The November 15 vote was unanimous, 197–0.

NRC to review updated North Anna SLR report; public input sought

November 18, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
The North Anna nuclear power plant. (Photo: Stuartmj/Wikipedia)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is seeking public comment on the scope of its supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) concerning Dominion Energy’s subsequent license renewal (SLR) application for North Anna-1 and -2, the agency announced earlier this week.

Lawmaker releases U.S. nuclear energy “blueprint”

November 17, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News


Rep. Jeff Duncan (R., S.C.), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has issued a three-page “Blueprint for Nuclear Innovation and Competitiveness,” highlighting nuclear policy priorities in the areas of licensing and regulatory modernization, financing, and fuel (including used fuel). According to a press release from Duncan’s office, the document aims “to help chart the course for the nuclear energy agenda in the next Congress and facilitate policy discussions among both lawmakers and industry leaders.” Published last week—along with a related “Dear Colleague” letter—the blueprint is also, according to E&E News, “a sign of his ambitions for landing a more senior role with the committee,” including a subcommittee leadership position should the GOP gain control of the House in the next Congress.

EXIM signals interest in Romanian nuclear project

November 16, 2022, 9:53AMNuclear News
From left: Romanian minister of energy Virgil Popescu, U.S. Export-Import Bank president and chair Reta Jo Lewis, Romanian president Klaus Iohannis, U.S. special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry, and U.S. State Department assistant secretary Geoffrey Pyatt. (Photo: ExIm)

The Export-Import Bank of the United States has issued two letters of interest (LOIs) for the financing of U.S.-sourced pre-project technical services in connection with the proposed reactor construction project at Romania’s Cernavoda nuclear plant, the bank announced last week.

Watts Bar-2 steam generator project completed

November 14, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
A steam generator is lifted into Watts Bar Unit 2. (Photo: Framatome)

The Steam Generating Team (SGT)—a joint venture of Framatome and United Engineers & Constructors Inc.—has completed a project to replace the Unit 2 steam generators at the Watts Bar nuclear plant, Framatome announced last week.

Watts Barr’s owner and operator, the Tennessee Valley Authority, awarded Framatome the contract for the work in early 2020.

U.S.-Mexico civil nuclear pact enters into force

November 9, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News
Mexico's Laguna Verde nuclear power plant, on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico in the state of Veracruz.

An agreement between the United States and Mexico on civil nuclear cooperation has entered into force, the U.S. State Department announced last week. While first proposed in 2016 and finalized and signed in 2018, the pact only received approval from the Mexican Senate this March.

Terrestrial Energy chosen for coal conversion program

November 8, 2022, 12:05PMNuclear News

Ontario’s advanced nuclear technology firm Terrestrial Energy yesterday announced the signing of a letter of intent (LOI) with TerraPraxis, a U.K.-based nonprofit devoted to climate solutions, to cooperate on the latter’s Repowering Coal initiative—a program aimed at integrating clean heat sources with existing infrastructure at coal-fired power plants in North America and elsewhere.

“There’s going to be a cliff”: Preparing an international SMR supply chain

November 3, 2022, 12:32PMNuclear News
Participating in the forum were (from left) John Hopkins (NuScale Power), Renaud Crassous (EDF), Daniel Poneman (Centrus Energy), Adriana Cristina Serquis (CNEA), and Boris Schucht (Urenco).

The nuclear industry leaders assembled in Washington, D.C., last week to discuss small modular reactor supply chains agreed that lost generation capacity from the expected retirement of hundreds or thousands of coal power plants over the next decade—a cliff, in one panelist’s words—represents an opportunity that developers of SMRs and advanced reactors are competing to meet.

“I think in total 80 projects are ongoing,” said Boris Schucht, panel moderator and chief executive officer of Urenco Group, as he opened the forum. “Of course not all of them will win, and we will discuss today what is needed so that they can be successful.”

Constellation planning license renewals for Clinton, Dresden

November 2, 2022, 9:33AMNuclear News
Constellation Energy's Clinton nuclear power plant. (Photo: NRC)

Constellation Energy, owner and operator of the nation’s largest reactor fleet, will ask the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to extend the operating licenses of the Clinton and Dresden reactors by 20 years, the company announced Monday, adding that it expects to file license applications with the agency in 2024.

Computer-guided work a new driver for compliance & cost reductions in nuclear

November 1, 2022, 2:26PMSponsored ContentNextAxiom Technology, Inc.

Computer-Guided Work

When it comes to computer-guided navigation, we look to our GPS app for seamless guidance. It provides granular, step-by-step directions while it tracks our position and progress towards our destination. It superimposes relevant information such as the location of restaurants and the lowest price gas stations on route. One of these days, it will even read us the menu of a selected restaurant on our path while placing an order as we drive towards it.

U.S., Japan team up for SMR deployment; first stop: Ghana

November 1, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
From left: U.S. undersecretary of state for arms control and international security Bonnie Jenkins; Japan’s state minister of economy, trade, and industry Fusae Ōta; Ghana’s deputy minister of Energy William Owuraku Aidoo; and U.S. assistant secretary for nuclear energy Kathryn Huff. (Photo: DOE Office of Nuclear Energy)

The United States and Japan have announced Winning an Edge Through Cooperation in Advanced Nuclear (WECAN)—a new agreement aimed at supporting the deployment of small modular reactors and other advanced reactor technologies in partner countries.