A control room monitor at ORNL’s SNS displays the power level of 1,555 kW (1.55 MW), a world record for a linear accelerator used for neutron research. (Photo: Jeremy Rumsey/ORNL)
The Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory set a world record for accelerator-driven neutron research when its linear accelerator reached an operating power of 1.55 MW, improving on the facility’s original design capability of 1.4 MW. That higher power means more neutrons for researchers who use the facility for neutron scattering research to reach materials science advances, ORNL announced recently.
Artist’s rendering of an Xe-100 plant. (Image: X-energy)
Dow and X-energy announced today that they have signed a joint development agreement (JDA) to demonstrate the first grid-scale advanced nuclear reactor at an industrial site in North America within a decade. As part of the agreement, Dow is now a subawardee under X-energy’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP) Cooperative Agreement with the Department of Energy.
SHINE’s isotope production building, called the Chrysalis, under construction in October 2022. (Photo: SHINE)
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued its final safety evaluation report (SER) related to the operating license application for SHINE Technologies' large-scale medical isotope production facility, known as The Chrysalis, in Janesville, Wis. The SER documents the results of NRC staff’s technical and safety review of SHINE’s application. SHINE announced the NRC’s decision on February 27.
A record of decision concerning the proposed issuance of the operating license will be published by the NRC at a future date.
CFS CEO Bob Mumgaard showing Sen. Warren (left) and Secretary Granholm (center) around the SPARC facility. (Photo: CFS)
Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS) hosted visiting officials for a tour and ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open its new headquarters in Devens, Mass., on February 10. Energy secretary Jennifer Granholm, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), and Sen. Edward Markey (D., Mass.) were among the national, state, and local leaders invited to celebrate what CFS heralded as a “fusion energy campus.”
The center stack casing staged horizontally at Holtec’s manufacturing division in East Pittsburgh. (Photo: Holtec)
A key component needed for the National Spherical Torus Experiment–Upgrade (NSTX-U), the flagship fusion facility currently under repair at the Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), has been delivered to the lab’s New Jersey campus.
SHINE’s Chrysalis production building, under construction in October 2022. (Photo: SHINE)
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued the final supplemental environmental impact statement (EIS) for SHINE Technology’s application for a license to operate a medical isotope production facility in Janesville, Wis.
Tokamak Energy's high-temperature superconducting (HTS) tape is used in its HTS magnets. (Photo: Tokamak Energy)
Tokamak Energy announced on February 6 that it has built a world-first set of high-temperature superconducting (HTS) magnets, to be assembled and tested in fusion power plant–relevant scenarios.
Nicholas Hawker of First Light Fusion and Ian Chapman of UKAEA. (Photo: UKAEA)
Ignition and net gain at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s National Ignition Facility (NIF) in December 2022 focused global attention on the prospects of inertial fusion energy (IFE). First Light Fusion and the U.K. Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) acknowledged the achievement as they announced plans on January 25 to design and build a demonstration facility known as Machine 4 at UKAEA’s Culham Campus in Oxford, U.K., using First Light’s “projectile approach” to IFE. Construction is expected to begin in 2024, and operations are “likely to commence” in 2027.
Industry professionals visit INL as part of a U.S. Nuclear Industry Council Conference. (Photo: INL)
The Department of Energy’s commitment to breaking down market barriers with initiatives, programs, and access to facilities is making it simpler and more efficient than ever for industry to partner with national laboratories. It is especially timely, as the country continues to face evolving security, economic, and clean energy challenges. Partnering opportunities via the DOE’s Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) and Strategic Partnership Projects (SPPs) are particularly prevalent in the commercial nuclear community and have seen a tremendous amount of funding and support dedicated to advancing the development, demonstration, and deployment of new reactor technologies.
Artist’s concept of the DRACO spacecraft, which will demonstrate a nuclear thermal rocket engine. (Image: DARPA)
NASA and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have announced they will collaborate on plans to launch and test DARPA’s Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations (DRACO). DARPA has already worked with private companies on the baseline design for a fission reactor and rocket engine—and the spacecraft that will serve as an in-orbit test stand—and has solicited proposals for the next phase of work. Now NASA is climbing on board, deepening its existing ties to DRACO’s work in nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) technology—an “enabling capability” required for NASA to meet its Moon to Mars Objectives and send crewed missions to Mars. NASA and DARPA representatives announced the development at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics SciTech Forum in National Harbor, Md., on January 24.
NIF in winter (Photo: LLNL)
“Star Power” is the name 60 Minutes producers gave their interpretation of the recent experiment at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) that achieved fusion ignition and net gain. Views from inside Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory captured by TV cameras and aired Sunday, January 15—of some of NIF’s 192 lasers, banks of capacitors, target assembly labs, and even the remains of the target assembly blasted in the December 5 breakthrough—are well worth the watch for those of us who are unlikely to visit the site in person.
U.S. secretary of energy Jennifer Granholm and Japan’s minister of economy, trade, and industry Yasutoshi Nishimura lead energy discussions on January 9 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: DOE)
Researchers at Idaho National Laboratory have completed initial testing on a newly developed fuel test capsule that is expected to provide crucial performance data for sodium-cooled fast reactors. The Department of Energy announced on January 12 that the series of fuel testing experiments being carried out now at INL’s Transient Reactor Test Facility (TREAT) was developed through a joint project between the United States and Japan.
A rendering of the planned demo plant. (Image: General Fusion)