Nuclear News on the Newswire

ORISE report focuses on nuclear engineering degrees and enrollments

There is a mix of good news and bad in the latest Nuclear Engineering Enrollment and Degrees Survey, 2021–2022 Data. According to this report from the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), compiled with data initially released in November 2023 and updated in February 2024, the number of doctoral degrees awarded in nuclear engineering at the end of the 2022 academic year in the United States—211 Ph.D.s—was the highest since the beginning of this survey’s data collection in 1966. However, the overall numbers of nuclear engineering degrees awarded in 2021 and 2022 were at their lowest levels in more than a decade. In addition, both undergraduate and graduate enrollment numbers were down compared with 2018 and 2019.

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NRC finalizes new rule on reactor license renewals

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is issuing a final rule and corresponding update to the generic environmental impact statement (GEIS) the agency uses when considering applications to renew the operating licenses of nuclear power reactors. All four current NRC commissioners voted to approve the rule on May 16.

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Securing the advanced reactor fleet

Physical protection accounts for a significant portion of a nuclear power plant’s operational costs. As the U.S. moves toward smaller and safer advanced reactors, similar protection strategies could prove cost prohibitive. For tomorrow’s small modular reactors and microreactors, security costs must remain appropriate to the size of the reactor for economical operation.

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NEI's Korsnick delivers State of the Nuclear Energy Industry address

Korsnick

Nuclear Energy Institute president and CEO Maria Korsnick delivered her State of the Nuclear Energy Industry address at NEI’s 2024 Nuclear Energy Policy Forum yesterday. The forum this year is taking place May 14–16 in Washington, D.C., and serves to gather industry leaders, executives, and experts for pivotal conversations about the federal and state nuclear policy landscapes.

Korsnick updated attendees on policy priorities of the industry and gave her perspective on nuclear energy’s present and future.

She centered her talk on national and global priorities to secure a clean energy future at the same time as achieving energy independence and security—all while meeting a massive increase in demand for power. “Nuclear energy remains the key” to addressing these priorities, she said.

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Reducing global radiological risk, moving alternative technologies forward

Kristin Hirsch

Radioactive materials are used in medical, research, and commercial facilities to treat cancer, irradiate blood, sterilize food and equipment, and build economies worldwide. In the wrong hands, however, even a small amount of radioactive material can do a great deal of harm. A radiological dispersal device (RDD), otherwise known as a “dirty bomb,” is believed to be an attractive weapon for terrorist groups due to its scale of impact—panic, physical contamination, costly remediation, and denial of access to facilities and locations.

The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration Office of Radiological Security (ORS) enhances global security by preventing high-activity radioactive materials from being used in acts of terrorism. ORS implements its mission through three strategies: protecting radioactive sources used for vital medical, research, and commercial purposes by securing facilities that utilize radioactive isotopes; removing and disposing of disused sources; and encouraging the adoption and development of nonradioisotopic alternative technologies such as X-ray and electron beam irradiators.

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