Power & Operations

Controversy over nuclear organizations’ involvement in the COP26 Green Zone

August 24, 2021, 2:59PMANS Nuclear Cafe

A conversation among nuclear advocates led most to believe that nuclear supporters will have a minimized voice at this year’s UN Conference of the Parties on Climate Change, commonly known as COP26. According to Kirsty Gogan, cofounder of TerraPraxis and a senior climate and energy advisor to the U.K. government, “All three Green Zone applications by nuclear groups were rejected.” However, it seems some of that may be due to miscommunication regarding application deadlines for the COP26 Green Zone.

Kinzinger urges Biden to save Illinois plants from early closure

August 24, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News


With a note of desperation, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R., Ill.) yesterday wrote a letter to President Biden and several top administration officials, asking them to consider the use of emergency powers to keep two Illinois nuclear power plants, Byron and Dresden, in operation, at least until state or federal laws are enacted to ensure their financial viability.

On June 16, the plants’ owner and operator, Exelon Generation, filed a deactivation notice for the two Byron units with grid operator PJM Interconnection. The requested deactivation dates for Byron-1 and -2 are September 14 and 16, respectively.

Exelon announced in August of last year that it would close the economically challenged Byron and Dresden facilities in the fall of 2021 without some form of state aid to provide compensation for their clean power.

Coalition: N.Y. should add non-renewables program to clean energy standard

August 24, 2021, 7:09AMNuclear News

A coalition of power companies and labor unions has filed a petition with the New York Public Service Commission (PSC), calling for a new program or tier under the state’s clean energy standard to encourage the development of zero-emission dispatchable energy systems.

Op-ed asserts that coal power will replace Diablo Canyon’s output

August 23, 2021, 3:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant

With California’s electricity rates the highest in the continental United States, and with rolling blackouts last summer and more blackouts likely this year, now is not the time to shut down the emission-free, reliable energy source that is the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, according to Gene Nelson, the legal assistant for Californians for Green Nuclear Power.

The two-unit Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant is scheduled to be shut down in 2025.

Former Westinghouse exec charged with conspiracy, fraud over Summer fiasco

August 23, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News


A federal grand jury has indicted a former Westinghouse Electric Company executive for allegedly concealing information regarding progress (or, more accurately, lack of progress) on the now defunct multibillion-dollar expansion project at the Summer nuclear plant.

Jeffrey A. Benjamin, who served as Westinghouse’s senior vice president for new plants and major products during the effort to build two AP1000 reactors at the Jenkinsville, S.C., facility, has been charged with 16 felony counts, including conspiracy, wire fraud, securities fraud, and causing a publicly traded company to keep a false record, according to an August 18 news release from the U.S. States Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina. The charges carry a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and a $5 million fine.

Nine Mile Point picked for hydrogen demonstration project

August 20, 2021, 4:08PMNuclear News
Nine Mile Point (Photo: Constellation Energy)

Exelon Generation has received a grant from the Department of Energy to explore the potential benefits of on-site hydrogen production and has chosen its Nine Mile Point nuclear power plant as the demonstration site, the company announced on Wednesday. (In 2019, Exelon received a conditional commitment from the DOE to co-fund a hydrogen electrolyzer demonstration at a nuclear plant.) Located in Scriba, N.Y., Nine Mile Point consists of two boiling water reactors—the 620-MWe Unit 1 and the 1,287-MWe Unit 2.

CNSC, NRC complete joint report on the Xe-100 SMR

August 19, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission have completed the first collaborative project under a two-year-old memorandum of cooperation (MOC) aimed at enhancing technical reviews of advanced reactor and small modular reactor technologies, the CNSC announced earlier this week.

The project, a 23-page joint report from the regulators on a white paper submitted last July by X-energy regarding reactor pressure vessel (RPV) construction code specifications for the company’s Xe-100 SMR, was released to the public on August 6. The Xe-100 is an 80-MWe unit that can be scaled into a “four-pack” 320-MWe power plant, according to X-energy.

NRC to consider eliminating nonemergency notification requirements

August 19, 2021, 7:01AMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will consider in its rulemaking process issues raised in an August 2018 petition from the Nuclear Energy Institute regarding notification requirements for nonemergency events, according to a notice published in the August 12 Federal Register. The NRC docketed the petition in November 2018 and received public input on it through February 4, 2019.

The petition requested that the NRC amend 10 CFR 50.72, “Immediate Notification for Operating Nuclear Power Reactors,” by removing its nonemergency notification requirements. Currently, 50.72 requires licensees to notify the NRC one, four, or eight hours after the occurrence of a nonemergency event, depending on its nature.

Chicago news program spotlights nuclear plants slated to close in Illinois

August 18, 2021, 3:05PMANS Nuclear Cafe
A screenshot of Illinois legislators before session from an August 17 video of the Chicago Tonight television program. (Source: YouTube)

Yesterday, a television news program, Chicago Tonight, shined the spotlight on the financial troubles and potential shutdown of two of Illinois’s six nuclear power plants. The host of the show introduced the issue by stating, “Illinois lawmakers may be back in Springfield [the state’s capital] soon for a second extra session [to] strike a deal on a massive energy package.” Readers of Nuclear News might be thinking, “It’s about time!”

NuScale, Xcel agree to explore future partnerships

August 18, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News
A still image from a three-part video tour of NuScale’s facilities. (Photos: NuScale Power)

NuScale Power has signed a memorandum of understanding with Xcel Energy to explore the feasibility of the utility’s serving as a plant operator at NuScale plants, the Portland, Ore.-based small modular reactor developer announced earlier this week.

Xcel owns and, through subsidiary Northern States Power Company, operates Minnesota’s two nuclear plants, Monticello and Prairie Island. The Monticello facility houses one 671-MWe boiling water reactor, while Prairie Island has twin 550-MWe pressurized water reactors.

Time to get serious about our energy future

August 18, 2021, 7:01AMANS Nuclear CafeSteven Curtis
(Photo: mik Krakow)

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.

It is hard to get anyone to agree on anything these days. However, it’s pretty safe to say that most of us want clean air to breathe and adequate energy supplies. It is difficult to see any current or proposed energy policy that brings us closer to that goal. In fact, over the past 15 years, we have not put a dent in our “carbon footprint,” despite the proliferation of “renewable energy” supported by staggeringly large subsidies. What is really puzzling, however, is the huge amount of subsidy money going toward fossil fuels when we are told that these have to be gone completely by the year 2050. Of $18.4 billion dollars in subsidies in 2016, 59 percent went to renewables, 25 percent went to fossil fuels, and 15 percent went to “energy efficiency.”

Report: GHG reductions will flatline without existing and advanced nuclear

August 17, 2021, 3:09PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Carbon emission reductions from the power sector are likely to flatline after 2025 unless clean energy innovations and net-zero commitments from utilities pick up steam, concludes a report out this month from ClearPath, a conservative, Washington, D.C.–based clean energy nonprofit organization.

Clear Path to a Clean Energy Future: The Role of Utility Commitments on the Path to 2050 is the inaugural edition of a report to be published annually to track power sector trends and model the impacts of new technologies and policies. For the 2021 analysis, the authors engaged the research firm Rhodium Group to model ClearPath-designed scenarios using RHG-NEMS, a version of the National Energy Modeling System developed by the Energy Information Administration.

FPL submits SLR application for St. Lucie

August 17, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News
St. Lucie nuclear power plant. (Photo: D Ramey Logan)

Florida Power and Light Company, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, has filed a subsequent license renewal application with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the two-unit St. Lucie nuclear power plant, seeking a second 20-year renewal of the reactors’ operating licenses.

Virtual reality in the nuclear community

August 17, 2021, 6:59AMANS Nuclear CafePayal Gupta

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.

The nuclear industry is rapidly embracing virtual reality (VR) technology to optimize operations and improve safety. VR companies build an interactive 3D virtually realistic environment where teams can be trained without compromising safety.

PSEG to sell fossil fuel assets in pursuit of decarbonization

August 16, 2021, 6:59AMNuclear News
Hope Creek nuclear power station.

In the latest step toward its recently stated goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2030, Newark, N.J.–based Public Service Enterprise Group, owner of the Hope Creek and Salem nuclear plants, has entered into an agreement to sell its 6,750-MW fossil generating portfolio to newly formed subsidiaries of ArcLight Energy Partners Fund VII—a fund controlled by ArcLight Capital Partners. (ArcLight Capital is a Boston-based private equity firm, founded in 2001 and focused on energy infrastructure investments.) The $1.92 billion deal, announced by PSEG on August 12, is expected to be completed late in the fourth quarter of 2021 or the first quarter of 2022.

PowerLabs, Paragon, and the Parts Quality Initiative

August 13, 2021, 2:33PMNuclear NewsDavid Mueller

I still clearly remember a day in 2005. I was sitting at my desk when my boss at the time, Roosevelt Groves (then supply director of operations at Exelon), called me into his office with a select group and announced that we needed to figure out this “parts issue thing.”

Why was this “thing” such a pressing issue that it required an impromptu meeting? It was because manufacturing defects were having a significant impact on Exelon’s reliability. And this problem was well out of our direct control.

A tale of three states

August 11, 2021, 2:57PMANS NewsSteven P. Nesbit

Steven P. Nesbit

Stories are unfolding (or have unfolded) in three of our key states that illustrate the challenges facing the backbone of our country’s clean, reliable electricity generation infrastructure. I write, of course, about existing nuclear power plants. On the East Coast, New York is a done deal. Indian Point-3 shut down on April 30. The state authorities are banking on offshore wind to pick up the slack. They shrug off the cost and intermittency challenges associated with deploying wind power. We’ll see.

Canada, Romania ink MOU on nuclear collaboration

August 11, 2021, 8:53AMNuclear News
Cernavodă Nuclear Power Plant. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Zlatko Krastev

Natural Resources Canada, a department of the Canadian government, and Romania’s energy ministry have signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen cooperation in the civil nuclear realm, including collaboration on CANDU refurbishments and new-build projects in Romania.

Could Hawaii get its clean energy from nuclear?

August 11, 2021, 6:03AMANS Nuclear Cafe
A satellite image of Hawaii. Image: NASA

Jacob Wiencek, a self-described concerned resident of Honolulu, is doing his part to encourage the state of Hawaii to embrace nuclear power. An opinion piece written by Wiencek was published in Honolulu Civil Beat, an online, nonprofit news site, on August 4.