ANS weighs in on NRC vacancies

December 8, 2021, 7:00AMANS News

In a November letter to President Biden, ANS president Steven Nesbit and U.S. Nuclear Industry Council president and chief executive officer Bud Albright urged the president to proceed with nominations for the two open seats on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The letter stated, “The NRC operates best with a full complement of five qualified commissioners who have diverse and complementary backgrounds. . . . Unfortunately, the commission was last at full strength in January 2021, nearly a year ago.”

ANS COP26 delegates spread the message in Glasgow: Net zero needs nuclear

November 22, 2021, 11:59AMANS News
Volunteers staff the Nuclear for Climate booth in the COP26 conference center. (Photo: Raquel Heredia Silva)

ANS sponsored 10 young nuclear professionals from the Young Generation Network, a branch of the U.K.’s Nuclear Institute, to attend COP26, the 2021 United Nations climate change conference, held in Glasgow, Scotland, where they helped deliver what was “by all accounts nuclear’s best representation at the COP ever,” according to George Burnett, one of four U.K.-based attendees sponsored by ANS.

Senate confirms Phillips for FERC

November 19, 2021, 6:53AMNuclear News

The Senate on Tuesday evening unanimously confirmed Willie Phillips, chairman of the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia, as a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, bringing that body to its full, five-member complement. He was nominated by President Biden in September to fill FERC’s vacant seat and will serve a term that expires on June 30, 2026.

NRC okays license transfers for Exelon plants

November 18, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved the indirect transfer of the licenses for 23 operating and five decommissioning reactors, as well as their associated independent spent fuel storage installations, from Exelon Corporation to a new company as part of a corporate restructuring, the agency announced yesterday.

Microsoft: Nuclear help wanted

November 17, 2021, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Microsoft, the America-based multinational technology corporation that produces computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services, is looking for a director of nuclear technologies engineering.

Published this week on LinkedIn, the job announcement states, “We are looking for a Nuclear Technologies Engineer to research methods of utilizing nuclear energy and design useful nuclear systems. You’ll monitor and report on engineering processes, including nuclear waste disposal and safety regulations. You will handle complex machinery and resolve on-site emergencies.”

The successful candidate can be based anywhere in the U.S., the announcement added.

Biden signs infrastructure bill into law

November 16, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News

Surrounded by members of his cabinet, congressional leaders, and others, President Biden yesterday afternoon signed into law the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act—representing a much-needed victory for the president, whose approval rating, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, sits at 41 percent.

Build Back Better news

November 12, 2021, 12:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe

President Biden is expected to sign the recently passed $1.2 billion bipartisan infrastructure bill, which provides support for both existing and advanced nuclear, on Monday. However, the fate of its legislative companion, the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act—the other major component in the president’s ambitious domestic agenda—is far from certain.

Trillion-dollar infrastructure bill passes House

November 8, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News

After hours of squabbling between left-wing and centrist Democrats, the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill (H.R. 3684)—one of the two main pillars of President Biden’s domestic agenda—passed the House of Representatives late Friday night and has been sent to the White House for signing. The final tally was 228–206, with 13 Republicans joining most Democrats in casting their votes in favor of the legislation.

Senators probe nuclear priorities: HALEU, hydrogen, reactor siting, and more

November 5, 2021, 9:29AMNuclear News
From left, Shannon Bragg-Sitton, Paul Chodak, and Michael J. Guastella appear before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on November 4.

As Congress awaited key votes yesterday on spending bills that include production tax credits for at-risk plants and a new amendment adding $500 million in supplemental funding over five years to increase the availability of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU), the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a Full Committee Hearing On Potential Non-Electric Applications Of Civilian Nuclear Energy. Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.V.), chairman of the committee, emphasized that “advanced nuclear reactors hold enormous potential to provide opportunity to communities across the country with zero-emission baseload power” and made it clear he expects new reactors to replace retiring coal plants in his home state of West Virginia.

Speaking before the committee were Shannon Bragg-Sitton of Idaho National Laboratory, Paul Chodak III of American Electric Power, and Michael J. Guastella of the Council of Radionuclides and Radiopharmaceuticals.

GOP senators introduce their own energy and climate plan

November 4, 2021, 3:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe
North Dakota Sen. Kevin Cramer speaks at a November 3 press conference announcing the American Energy, Jobs & Climate Plan.

A trio of Republican lawmakers from Western states—Sens. Dan Sullivan (Alaska), Kevin Cramer (N.D.), and Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.)—held a press conference at the Capitol yesterday to announce the American Energy, Jobs & Climate Plan, a response to what they termed the “Biden-Kerry Green New Deal.” Also in attendance were fellow Republican senators Ted Cruz (Texas), John Kennedy (La.), and Rob Portman (Ohio).

The plan is “an innovative clean energy and climate strategy with the potential to reduce global [greenhouse gas] emissions by up to 40 percent from today’s levels by 2050 and create thousands of jobs for hard-working Americans,” according to a press release from Sullivan’s office.

In April, the Biden administration announced a target of net-zero GHG emissions by 2050, with an interim target of a 50–52 percent reduction from 2005 levels by 2030.

The Economist on nuclear: “France says it is green. Germany says it isn’t. France will win.”

November 3, 2021, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe
(Source: Peter Schrank/The Economist)

“Where nuclear power was once a source of unity for Europe, today it is a source of discord.” So states The Economist’s October 30 “Charlemagne” column—a regular source of commentary on European politics in the weekly publication—before deftly dissecting nuclear power’s continental divide and picking a winner.

The big nuclear world

November 3, 2021, 7:01AMANS NewsSteven P. Nesbit

Steven P. Nesbit

As I write this column, it’s late September, and I’m sitting in Dulles Airport waiting for my connecting flight back to Charlotte from Vienna, Austria, where I attended the 65th General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency. It was quite an experience, and I want to share a few observations with you. But first, let me provide some background on the IAEA, which is perhaps not as well-­known to Americans as to those in other countries.

The IAEA was established in 1957 within the United Nations family and as an outgrowth of President Dwight Eisenhower’s famous 1953 “Atoms for Peace” speech. It is the world’s central intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical cooperation in the nuclear field. The objectives of the IAEA’s dual mission—to promote and control the use of the atom—are defined in Article II of the IAEA Statute.

ANS urges COP26 to recognize nuclear energy’s climate role

November 2, 2021, 12:00PMANS NewsCraig Piercy

On behalf of over 10,000 nuclear engineers, scientists, and technologists, the American Nuclear Society urges COP 26 delegates to insist that any agreement arising from COP26 include a strong role for nuclear technology in achieving carbon reduction targets.

Deep decarbonization and electrification of the global economy will require the increased availability of firm, “dispatchable” zero-carbon energy technologies. Nuclear energy is the only energy source with a proven track record of producing firm, zero-carbon energy at the scale needed to meet global goals. Indeed, it’s increasingly clear that achieving net-zero worldwide carbon emissions is simply not feasible without a significant expansion of carbon-free nuclear energy worldwide.

ANS publishes revised position statement on nuclear power safety

November 1, 2021, 7:00AMANS News

Commercial nuclear power has accumulated nearly 75 years and 19,000 reactor-years of operating experience around the globe. In that time, nuclear professionals “have developed a proven and effective state-of-the art approach to safety that is a model in any industrial setting, including in the development of next-generation nuclear technology,” states the American Nuclear Society’s Position Statement #51: Safety of Nuclear Power. The Board of Directors approved the revised position statement in October 2021, and it has just been published on the ANS website, replacing a position statement published in 2007.

The American Nuclear Society urges COP26 to recognize nuclear energy’s climate role

November 1, 2021, 5:44AMPress Releases

On behalf of over 10,000 nuclear engineers, scientists, and technologists, the American Nuclear Society urges COP 26 delegates to insist that any agreement arising from COP26 include a strong role for nuclear technology in achieving carbon reduction targets.

NWMO champions diversity at WiN Global Conference

October 28, 2021, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Attendees at the 2021 Women in Nuclear Global Conference, held virtually October 17–21, had the opportunity to learn from nuclear professionals from around the world, including from the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), the group responsible for designing and implementing Canada’s plan for the long-term management of spent nuclear fuel.

New U.K. finance model expected to cut cost of new nuclear

October 28, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News

A new funding model has been introduced by the U.K. government to attract a wider range of private investment into new nuclear power projects, cutting the cost of financing them and reducing the cost to consumers.

The Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill, announced by the government on October 26, will use a model known as the Regulated Asset Base (RAB) to fund future nuclear power plants in Britain. The model is tried and tested, according to the government, and has successfully financed other infrastructure projects, such as the U.K.’s Thames Tideway Tunnel and Heathrow Terminal 5.

Learn more about the RAB model.

Former NRC chairman joins Southern Company board

October 21, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News


Kristine Svinicki, former chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, has joined the board of directors of Southern Company. Southern announced her election as an independent director on Monday. She joins the board’s Business Security and Resiliency Committee, as well as its Operations, Environmental, and Safety Committee.

“As the longest-serving member in the history of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Kristine brings to Southern Company a wealth of experience advising energy policy at the federal and state levels,” said Southern chairman, president, and chief executive officer Tom Fanning. “Kristine’s knowledge of and expertise in nuclear technologies will be invaluable as we pursue the full range of energy resources. Moreover, Kristine’s insight into the energy challenges of tomorrow places Southern Company in a prime position to serve customers, communities, employees, and stockholders well into the future.”

European ministers to EC: “We need nuclear”

October 20, 2021, 6:59AMANS Nuclear Cafe
Flags in front of the European Commission building in Brussels. (Image: Sébastien Bertrand)

Sixteen ministers from 10 European Union member states argue for adding nuclear energy to the EU taxonomy in a joint letter published last week in leading European newspapers and sent to the European Commission.