Power & Operations

NuScale/Paragon agreement offers reactor protection system to broader industry

July 15, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News
Rendering of a VOYGR plant. (Image: NuScale)

NuScale Power and Paragon Energy Solutions have signed a patent license agreement that will make NuScale’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission–approved reactor protection system architecture available to the broader nuclear industry, the two companies announced on July 12.

Known as the Highly Integrated Protection System (HIPS) platform, the system was developed by NuScale and Rock Creek Innovations (RCI), a hardware supplier of commercial nuclear protections systems, over six years of collaboration that began in 2010. Paragon, a supplier of safety-related parts and components, acquired RCI in December 2021.

Construction permit issued for first Egyptian unit

July 14, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News
A construction permit was issued for the first of four proposed reactors at Egypt’s El Dabaa site, about 185 miles northwest of Cairo. (Image: Wikipedia)

The Egyptian Nuclear and Radiological Regulation Authority (ENRRA) recently issued the construction permit for the first of four proposed Russian-designed and -supplied reactors at Egypt’s El Dabaa site, located on the Arab nation’s Mediterranean coast, about 185 miles northwest of Cairo.

An application for the permit was submitted by Egypt’s Nuclear Power Plants Authority (NPPA)—the public entity charged with operating the plant—in June of last year.

TVA seeks 5 GW of clean energy, requires availability before 2029

July 13, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News
TVA's Watt Bar nuclear power plant.

As part of its strategy to achieve net-zero status by 2050, the Tennessee Valley Authority yesterday issued a request for proposals for supplying up to 5 GW of carbon-free energy that must be operational before 2029.

The continuing evolution of water

July 13, 2022, 12:03PMNuclear NewsDale Vines

Dale Vines

Water is necessary for life, and in our current nuclear industry, it is necessary for continuing operations. Whether to enable sustainable fission, provide cooling during normal or emergency plant operations, or support radioactive decontamination processes, water is relied on as much as any other commodity to keep the nuclear power industry going. Even though it has played a big part over the past six decades of commercial nuclear power operations, the need for innovation in water management is a top priority.

First, we have to have it

It’s well-known that the western U.S. is currently seeing some of the worst drought conditions in recent history. Maintaining a dependable (and affordable) water supply is key for our existing nuclear facilities to keep operating. Several of the drought-affected locations will need to find ways to make use of what is there or find an alternative—and alternatives to water are not that easy to come by. As we look to the next generation of reactor types, many have reduced reliance on water, but this is not the solution in the near term. Our best plan, then, is to find ways to use less of an increasingly diminished resource through integrating new and existing technology so we can get by with what is available.

Former Greenpeace director explains his support for nuclear energy

July 13, 2022, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe


“Nuclear energy is the safest of all the electricity technologies we have.” This statement by Patrick Moore, former director of Greenpeace in a recent interview on NewsNation’s “Special Report,” is at odds with the position of the environmental organization he helped found.

New EU taxonomy: Moore did the interview in the wake of the European Parliament’s controversial action to support the addition of nuclear energy and natural gas to the European Union’s taxonomy of environmentally sustainable, green technologies. In response to that action, Greenpeace announced that it would submit a formal request to the European Commission to review the move and, if necessary, mount a legal challenge to the action with the European Court of Justice.

Nesbit, Huff among others quoted in NYT article on nuclear power

July 12, 2022, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe


Steven Nesbit, ANS’s immediate past president, is among the nuclear industry leaders quoted in a recent New York Times article about the renewed interest in nuclear power in the United States. The article explains that the challenges of meeting clean energy goals and surging electricity demands are prompting many government officials to take “a fresh look at nuclear power—both extending the life of existing reactors and building new ones.” The article also presents the views of some nuclear critics.

Much of the article focuses on the fate of California’s Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, which is currently scheduled for shutdown in 2025. Several of the state’s lawmakers who previously supported the shutdown, including Gov. Gavin Newsom and Sen. Diane Feinstein, are now considering supporting the extended life of the plant. A joint study by Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has concluded that a 10-year extension of Diablo Canyon could substantially reduce carbon emissions, lessen reliance on natural gas, cut electricity costs, and minimize the risk of brownouts.

Sweden to study SMRs at Ringhals

July 11, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
The Ringhals nuclear power plant. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Vattenfall has initiated a study to look into the feasibility of building at least two small modular reactors adjacent to its Ringhals nuclear power plant, the Swedish state-owned power company announced recently.

Located on Sweden’s west coast about 37 miles south of Gothenburg, Ringhals holds two operating power reactors: Unit 3, a 1,074-MWe pressurized water reactor; and Unit 4, a 1,130-MWe PWR. The facility is also home to two retired units: Unit 1, a boiling water reactor shut down in December 2020; and Unit 2, a PWR taken off line in December 2019.

SMRs meet ESG: Water conservation benefits of small and advanced reactors

July 8, 2022, 3:23PMNuclear NewsNadia Glucksberg, Jay Peters, and Dawn Santoianni

The electric utility industry has set ambitious environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals, with most aiming to achieve carbon neutrality by midcentury by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Nuclear power can be a key technology in the clean energy portfolio to reach this goal, and small modular reactors can aid the industry’s efforts in meeting ESG goals through protection and conservation of water resources.

Diablo Canyon: What next?

July 8, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear NewsBy George Apostolakis, James Ellis, and Steven Nesbit
The Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

The state of California recently and quite sensibly cracked the door back open for continued operation of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant past the current operating license expiration dates in 2024 (Unit 1) and 2025 (Unit 2). The nonprofit North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s recently released 2022 Summer Reliability Assessment highlights the risk of electricity shortages in California. Given that concern, as well as the benefits of continued Diablo Canyon operation—including much needed clean, reliable energy; good jobs; and potential for large-scale production of fresh water—another look at the shutdown decision made several years ago is clearly warranted. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) reinforced this point when she added her voice to the growing chorus of policymakers advocating extended operation for Diablo Canyon.

Study: Advanced reactors could play major role in U.S. clean energy future

July 6, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News

With the proper investment and policy support, advanced nuclear energy has the potential to become a key component of a future U.S. clean energy system, a new report from Berkeley, Calif.’s, Breakthrough Institute finds.

Released this morning, the 155-page Advancing Nuclear Energy: Evaluating Deployment, Investment, and Impact in America’s Clean Energy employs “a high-resolution nationwide model of the United States electricity sector to demonstrate how advanced nuclear reactors might play a major role in a least-cost plan to transition the power grid entirely to clean energy sources by 2050, assuming that the first advanced reactors are available for deployment by 2030,” according to the executive summary.

NN Asks: How do a meteorologist’s forecasts shape nuclear utility planning?

July 6, 2022, 12:06PMNuclear News

Jennifer Call, Meteorologist:
When you think of a meteorologist, what is the first thing that comes to mind? For many it is your local TV meteorologist delivering a weathercast for the 5 o’clock news, or perhaps a meteorologist at the National Weather Service issuing severe storm warnings. But did you know that utilities rely on meteorologists for daily support?

Jennifer Call (jtcall@tva.gov) is an American Meteorological Society Certified Consulting Meteorologist (CCM) and an atmospheric analyst for the Tennessee Valley Authority. She serves on the ANS Standards Board and is the Atmospheric Subcommittee chair under the Environmental and Siting Consensus Committee.

New California law could fund Diablo Canyon life extension

July 6, 2022, 6:59AMNuclear News

The decision by the Department of Energy to revise its Civil Nuclear Credit Program—easing the path toward program qualification for California’s Diablo Canyon—was not the only promising news last week for advocates of the state’s sole operating nuclear power facility. On June 30, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation that could provide funding for Diablo Canyon in the event the state decides to keep the plant in operation beyond its slated 2025 closure date. Also in line for possible life extension under the measure are some of Southern California’s fossil fuel plants.

U.S. to provide $14 million for Romanian SMR study

July 5, 2022, 12:09PMNuclear News

At the recent G7 summit in Germany, President Biden and other world leaders launched the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment—described by the State Department as an effort “to narrow infrastructure gaps around the world, strengthen the global economy and supply chains, and advance international security through strategic investments.”

A new “cooperative framework” to commercialize advanced nuclear technologies

July 5, 2022, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe


Another call on the Western world to use nuclear power as a way to achieve energy independence from Russia has been sounded, this time by Nicolas Mazzucchi, a research fellow at the Foundation for Strategic Research in Paris.

As readers of Nuclear Newswire know, several such arguments have been made since the Russian invasion of Ukraine prompted tough sanctions against Russia by Western governments, including restrictions on imports of Russian oil and natural gas. Although designed to harm the Russian economy, these sanctions have also contributed to high energy prices and other economic problems in Western Europe and the United States.

In a recent issue of Nature, Mazzucchi builds on the point that more nuclear power—especially from advanced technologies—offers a way to “avoid another situation like that in Ukraine.” However, he also argues that increased international cooperation is needed to commercialize these technologies.

IEA calls for major role for nuclear power in clean energy systems

July 1, 2022, 7:06AMNuclear News

Nuclear power can play a significant role in helping countries solve the twin crises of energy and climate and securely transition to future energy systems dominated by renewables, according to a new report, Nuclear Power and Secure Energy Transitions: From Today’s Challenges to Tomorrow’s Clean Energy Systems, released June 30 by the International Energy Agency (IEA). The message is clear: Nuclear power can reduce reliance on imported fossil fuels, cut carbon dioxide emissions, and stabilize electricity systems; and building sustainable and clean energy systems will be harder, riskier, and more expensive without nuclear.

Entergy settles with state PSC for $300M over Grand Gulf rate issues

June 30, 2022, 3:04PMNuclear News
The Grand Gulf nuclear power plant in Port Gibson, Miss. (Photo: Entergy)

The Mississippi Public Services Commission has announced a $300 million settlement with Entergy Mississippi—the largest settlement in the MPSC’s history—ending the state’s part in multistate Federal Energy Regulatory Commission proceedings involving Grand Gulf plant customer rate impacts.

Nuclear development in the West needs new, better financing models

June 30, 2022, 12:03PMANS Nuclear Cafe

The prospects for new nuclear energy construction in the Western world is the subject of a recent The Economist article, “Energy security gives climate-friendly nuclear-power plants a new appeal.” The article also explores the difficulties that EDF Energy has been experiencing in constructing its EPRs in Europe.

Saskatchewan picks BWRX-300 for potential deployment

June 29, 2022, 9:28AMNuclear News
A cutaway image of the BWRX-300. (Image: GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy)

Following an assessment of several small modular reactor technologies, SaskPower has chosen GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy’s (GEH’s) BWRX-300 SMR for potential deployment in Saskatchewan in the mid-2030s, the Canadian utility announced earlier this week.

EDF makes latest move to build EPRs in Poland

June 28, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

Électricité de France has signed cooperation agreements with five Polish companies as it continues its efforts to be named the large-reactor supplier for Poland’s incipient nuclear power program.

Polish firms Polimex Mostostal, Sefako, Tele-Fonika Kable, Uniserv, and ZRE Katowice inked the pacts at the fifth Polish-French Nuclear Industry Day in Ołtarzew, Poland. According to EDF, the event was held to foster collaboration between Polish and French companies in support of the utility giant’s offer to deliver four to six EPRs for the Polish program.