Power & Operations

Granholm visits Clinch River Site to show support for SMRs

December 7, 2023, 3:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Secretary Granholm answers press questions at the Clinch River Nuclear Site while TVA president and CEO Jeff Lyash listens. (Photo: TVA)

Energy secretary Jennifer Granholm visited the Clinch River Nuclear Site in Oak Ridge, Tenn., on December 5 to highlight the Biden administration’s support for the Tennessee Valley Authority’s advanced nuclear technology program.

Granholm indicated that the administration is willing to provide funding for the nation’s first commercial small modular reactor at the site. “Excited to see a shovel in the ground, hopefully in a few more years,” she said. “TVA is leading on small modular reactors with this site. Everybody’s looking to TVA to make sure that this can actually happen.”

Obstacles to new nuclear in Sweden cleared

December 4, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News

Aerial view of Sweden’s parliament building, Riksdagshuset, in Stockholm. (Photo: Arild Vågen/Wikipedia)

Sweden’s parliament, the Riksdag, has approved legislative amendments from Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson’s government that will remove the country’s prohibition on new reactor construction at sites other than Sweden’s three current nuclear plants—Forsmark, Ringhals, and Oskarshamn—and do away with the limitation on the number of simultaneously operating reactors, currently capped at 10.

The amendments enter force on January 1.

“The Riksdag shares the government’s assessment that fossil-free electricity from nuclear power will also continue to play a role of central importance in the Swedish energy mix,” the legislative body said in a statement following the November 29 vote. “The main reasons for this are an expected greater demand for electricity in combination with the fact that fossil fuels have to be phased out, particularly for climate reasons. Nuclear power also contributes to the stable and predictable functioning of the Swedish power system.”

Hearing opportunity opens for Hermes 2 construction permit application

November 27, 2023, 3:09PMNuclear News
Kairos Power’s Hermes 2 demonstration plant (blue-topped building on the left) is planned to be built next to the Hermes demonstration reactor. (Image: Kairos Power)

A notice of opportunity from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was published in the November 22 Federal Register to intervene in an adjudicatory hearing on Kairos Power’s application for a construction permit to build the Hermes 2 test reactor facility in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

If we don’t decarbonize in time, do we have a Plan B?

November 22, 2023, 10:31AMNuclear NewsJames Conca
Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, as it began its cataclysmic eruption in 1991. Millions of tons of particulates were blown into the stratosphere, causing global cooling, similar to what solar geoengineering would do in a controlled way. (Photo: U.S. Geological Survey)

We’re failing.

We’re failing to decarbonize the world in any significant way. Global greenhouse gas emissions are still rising and appear on track to continue rising until at least 2040—the result of energizing the developing world.

Ukraine update: Energoatom reports leak, blackout at Zaporizhzhia

November 16, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
Image: Energoatom

Blaming “the criminal actions of the ruscists,” Ukraine nuclear plant operator Energoatom this morning reported a primary-to-secondary reagent leak at Unit 5 of the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP), as well as a partial blackout at the facility earlier this week. (The term “ruscist” [рашизм] is a portmanteau of the words “Russian” and “fascist.”)

Ontario’s nuclear development plans spur job creation

November 16, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News
An aerial view of Ontario’s Darlington Nuclear Generating Station. (Photo: OPG)

In response to Ontario’s ambitious nuclear development plans—including the plan by Ontario Power Generation to construct four small modular reactors at its Darlington nuclear site—Celeros Flow Technology has committed to expanding its Burlington, Ontario, facility to make it the first Ontario-based manufacturer of nuclear-qualified pumps, OPG announced last week.

European Commission to launch SMR alliance

November 15, 2023, 7:01AMNuclear News
EC commissioner Kadri Simson (second from left) speaks at a European Small Modular Reactor Partnership event in Bratislava. (Photo: @KadriSimson/X)

The European Commission intends to establish early next year an industrial alliance focused on small modular reactors, EC energy commissioner Kadri Simson announced last week.

PG&E files 20-year license renewal application for Diablo Canyon

November 10, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News

Pacific Gas and Electric earlier this week filed a license renewal application with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to extend the lifetime of California’s Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant by up to 20 years. Diablo Canyon generates 8 percent of the state’s clean electricity, providing carbon-free electricity to 3 million people.

UAMPS and NuScale drop plans to build SMRs at INL

November 9, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
Concept art of the six-module CFPP at INL, terminated before construction could begin. (Image: NuScale)

Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) and NuScale Power announced November 8 that they have mutually agreed to end the Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP)—a plan to build a set of 77-MWe pressurized water reactors, called NuScale Power Modules, at Idaho National Laboratory. The reactors were intended to provide power to INL and UAMPS customers in Utah and surrounding states with an anticipated start date of 2029.

Belarusian Unit 2 begins commercial operation

November 8, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
The Belarusian nuclear plant. (Photo: Rosatom)

The second of the two VVER-1200 pressurized water reactors at Belarusian, the sole nuclear power plant in Belarus, has entered commercial operation, Russia’s state-owned atomic energy corporation Rosatom announced last week.

Report: SMRs to bring jobs and economic benefits to Ontario

November 7, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News

This past January, Wilmington, N.C.–based GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy and Canadian firms Ontario Power Generation, SNC-Lavalin, and Aecon signed a contract for the deployment of the American firm’s BWRX-300 small modular reactor at OPG’s Darlington nuclear plant in Clarington, Ontario.

First fuel load at Kakrapar-4 announced

October 30, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News
The Kakrapar nuclear power plant. (Photo: India’s Department of Atomic Energy)

The initial loading of nuclear fuel into the Kakrapar-4 reactor core has begun, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. has announced. Permission for fuel load was granted by India’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board “after carrying out stringent safety and security reviews,” according to the NPCIL.

Westinghouse launches microreactor “accelerator hub”

October 27, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
Concept art of the eVinci accelerator hub, soon to be home to engineering and licensing operations, testing, prototype trials, business development, and sales. (Image: Westinghouse)

To help speed up commercialization of its eVinci microreactor, Westinghouse Electric Company this week launched a new design and manufacturing facility for the project near downtown Pittsburgh, Pa. Located in the borough of Etna, the 87,000-square-foot eVinci “accelerator hub” will be home to engineering and licensing operations, testing, prototype trials, business development, and sales, Westinghouse said in an October 24 announcement, adding that the facility will include manufacturing space for producing the “innovative heat pipes that are central to the eVinci technology.”

Drone attack damages Ukraine’s Khmelnytskyi site

October 27, 2023, 7:02AMNuclear News
Khmelnytskyi nuclear power plant in Ukraine. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Explosions near the Khmelnytskyi nuclear power plant in western Ukraine early Wednesday shattered windows at the facility and temporarily cut off power to some off-site radiation monitoring stations, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported on October 25.

Slovakia adds fifth reactor to nuclear fleet

October 23, 2023, 7:55AMNuclear News
Slovakia’s Mochovce nuclear plant, located about 62 miles east of Bratislava, the nation’s capital. (Photo: Slovenské Elektrárne)

The Unit 3 reactor at Slovakia’s Mochovce nuclear power facility has completed the commissioning process, becoming a full-fledged member of the country’s nuclear fleet, plant owner Slovenské Elektrárne has announced.

Robot dog fetches radiation data: Surry’s award winner makes new strides

October 20, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear NewsJoshua Bell
Spot performs autonomous rounds in Surry’s auxiliary building during the initial pilot. (Photo: Dominion Energy)

Among the typical bustle of outage activities at the Surry Power Station in Virginia during the fall of 2022, an unfamiliar sound broke through the commotion. Even with hearing protection in place, a faint whir thunk, whir thunk, whir thunk could be heard, announcing the arrival of the latest innovation in nuclear power. Dominion Energy, owner and operator of Surry, had combined new technologies from robotics company Boston Dynamics and radiation detection company Gamma Reality Inc. to provide radiological condition monitoring throughout the plant that could protect technicians from radiation exposure. The result? A quadruped robot with real-time 3D radiation mapping and data fusion capabilities.

Implementation of advanced PRIME fuel features

October 17, 2023, 9:42AMNuclear NewsVictoria Fitz, Bradley Balltrip, Matthew Leonard, Matthew Lynch, and Raymond Flanery

Operating costs for nuclear units have grown significantly since the start of the commercial nuclear power industry. For nuclear power generation to remain competitive, process efficiencies and innovations will need to be introduced. The challenge for any change is to improve the safe operation of the nuclear unit. An area of opportunity to reduce operating costs while improving operational safety is through upgraded fuel design and manufacturing. At Southern Nuclear, the pressurized water reactor fuel engineering team worked with Westinghouse to implement the PRIME fuel features, where simple improvements would yield safer operation and long-term cost-savings due to a more robust fuel design. Implementing the PRIME fuel ensures that the operator’s burden from fuel performance is minimized while keeping the reactor unit in a safe operating condition.