Nuclear News on the Newswire

Hydrogen Day: Time to celebrate a growth year for nuclear-produced H2

Tomorrow, 10/08, is Hydrogen Day, in recognition of the atomic weight of hydrogen: 1.008. Newswire first covered Hydrogen Day in 2021 after the Department of Energy announced its Hydrogen Shot goal to lower the price of clean hydrogen by 80 percent, to $1 per kilogram, within the decade. Now, backed by industry partnerships, new legislation, an eye-popping $7 billion in federal funds for regional clean hydrogen hubs (H2Hubs), a new draft strategy, and on-site progress to pair electrolyzers with nuclear plants, the potential for nuclear-powered production of clean hydrogen is clearer than ever.

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Pickering likely to operate to 2026—and maybe well beyond

The government of Ontario has announced its support for extending the operation of Ontario Power Generation’s Pickering nuclear plant for a year past its scheduled 2025 closure date, adding that a much longer extension is also being mulled.

OPG, at the government’s request, has reviewed its operational plans and concluded that the facility can continue to safely produce electricity for an additional year, according to a recent news release.

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Air Force pilot program to enlist microreactor for 20-year Alaskan deployment

The Department of the Air Force and the Defense Logistics Agency–Energy have released a request for proposals (RFP) for the construction and operation of a microreactor in central Alaska. The Department of Defense wants a 20-year supply of electricity and steam from a 1–5-MW microreactor, but the Eielson Air Force Base (AFB) Microreactor Pilot Program will go beyond a simple power purchase agreement and put the reactor through its paces with tests, at least annually, of the reactor’s walk-away safety and black-start capabilities. The final RFP is available at sam.gov.

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GOP lawmakers push to lower regulatory hurdles for small nuclear firms

Donalds

Rep. Byron Donalds (R., Fla.) has introduced legislation in the House to help U.S. small businesses engaged or seeking to engage in the research, development, and deployment of advanced nuclear reactors.

Dubbed the Nuclear Assistance for America’s Small Businesses Act, the bill debuted September 29 with 10 of Donalds’s fellow House Republicans as cosponsors: Arizona’s Andy Biggs, Florida’s Maria Elvira Salazar, Georgia’s Buddy Carter, North Carolina’s Dan Bishop and Ted Budd, Ohio’s Bob Latta, South Carolina’s Nancy Mace, Tennessee’s Chuck Fleischmann and John Rose, and Texas’s Chip Roy.

Bill basics: The measure would amend the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act (NEIMA) to allow small businesses to delay 50 percent of their preapplication fees to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as well as 35 percent of their postapplication fees over a period of 10 years.

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New Finnish reactor at full power

The Unit 3 EPR at Finland’s Olkiluoto nuclear power plant has reached its full capacity of approximately 1,600 MWe for the first time, plant owner and operator Teollisuuden Voima Oyj has announced. Olkiluoto-3 is now the most powerful reactor in Europe and the third most powerful globally, according to TVO. (Currently, the world champions in that department are China’s 1,660-MWe Taishan-1 and -2, also EPRs.)

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New CNC draft guidance out as first-round decision nears

The Department of Energy released draft guidance for the second award cycle of the $6 billion Civil Nuclear Credit (CNC) Program on September 30, ahead of a decision on which reactors could receive four years of economic aid from the program’s first award cycle.

The DOE’s draft guidance for the second award cycle describes CNC program timelines and all supporting information required for owners or operators of nuclear power plants to apply for certification of eligibility and submit sealed bids. Feedback is requested by 5:00 p.m. EDT on November 4. While no date has been set for the second-round application process to open, the DOE plans to initiate the award cycle before the end of the year.

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Vistra moves to extend operation at Comanche Peak

Vistra Corporation announced yesterday that it is seeking 20-year life extensions for its Comanche Peak reactors and has submitted an application for license renewals to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Operated by Vistra subsidiary Luminant and located in Glen Rose, Texas, Comanche Peak is home to two Westinghouse-supplied pressurized water reactors. The 1,218-MWe Unit 1 began commercial operation in August 1990, with the 1,207-MWe Unit 2 joining in August 1993. The original 40-year licenses for Units 1 and 2 expire in February 2030 and February 2033, respectively.

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Robotic reactor vessel head inspection innovations at Beaver Valley-2

Two critical factors for the success of nuclear industry outages are safety and efficiency. This includes personal and nuclear safety for the team members working on the outage, equipment safety through proper inspections and maintenance, and ultimately public safety when a reactor system is returned to service, free of defects and ready for reliable power production.

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Risk insights map an efficient approach to aging management

Any method that can enhance safety, reduce risk, and lower costs is worth a second look. When that method proves it has the potential to optimize aging management at any nuclear power plant, it’s time to spread the word.

In 2019, a small team focused on selective leaching began looking for a way to use risk insights to optimize the implementation of deterministic aging management programs (AMPs). What they started soon grew into a large team effort by Constellation, Ameren, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), and the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), along with contractors Enercon and Jensen Hughes, to develop a generic framework and then test it in two very different pilot applications.

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