Nuclear News on the Newswire

Next for nuclear: Energy arbitrage

Can nuclear power plants prosper in the grid of 2030 or 2035, when new wind and solar farms will make electricity prices even more volatile? Can plants install energy storage that will help them keep running at full power, 24/7, to ride out times of surplus and sell their energy only when prices are high?

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Pact signed to advance IMSR development in western Canada

Evidence that Canada is serious about becoming a world leader in small modular reactor deployment continues to mount. Ontario-based SMR developer Terrestrial Energy yesterday inked a memorandum of understanding with Invest Alberta—a crown corporation of the government of Alberta that promotes the province internationally—to support commercialization of the company’s Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR) in western Canada.

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One year later: Three peer-reviewed papers tell the story of NIF’s record yield shot

Just over one year ago, on August 8, 2021, researchers achieved a yield of more than 1.3 megajoules (MJ) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s National Ignition Facility (NIF) for the first time, achieving scientific ignition and getting closer to fusion gain.

The scientific results of the historic experiment were published exactly one year later in three peer-reviewed papers: one in Physical Review Letters and two (an experimental paper and a design paper) in Physical Review E. In recognition of the many individuals who worked over decades to enable the ignition milestone, more than 1,000 authors are included on the Physical Review Letters paper.

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Olkiluoto-3 test production phase resumes after repair work

Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO), owner and operator of the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant in Finland, has resumed Olkiluoto-3’s test production phase, following completion of maintenance and repair work at the new reactor’s turbine island, the company announced this week.

TVO had announced in June a delay to the unit’s commercial start of some three months—from September to December—after material that had detached from the steam guide plates was found in the turbine’s steam reheater in May, necessitating repair work and a halt to testing.

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DOE tags Los Alamos to lead $9.25 million molten salt computational research program

The Department of Energy has chosen Los Alamos National Laboratory to lead a $9.25 million collaborative project to model the behavior and properties of structural materials in molten salt through the Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC) program and announced the news August 9. The team working on the five-year project includes experts from LANL; Carnegie Mellon University; and Idaho, Lawrence Berkeley, and Sandia national laboratories.

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X-energy, DOW to collaborate on SMR deployment

Small modular reactor developer X-energy and materials science giant Dow this morning announced the signing of a letter of intent aimed at deploying X-energy’s Xe-100 reactor technology at one of Dow’s U.S. Gulf Coast facilities. The companies expect the SMR plant, which would provide power and process heat to the Dow facility, to be operational by approximately 2030.

Dow is the first manufacturer to declare its intention to develop SMR technology options and intends to take a minority equity stake in X-energy, according to the announcement.

News of the collaboration broke at the American Nuclear Society’s Utility Working Conference and Vendor Technology Expo, being held through August 10 at Marco Island, Fla.

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Quick action in Mexico leads to eradication of pest with a taste for fresh fruit

Mexican authorities announced last week that the Mediterranean fruit fly, more commonly known as the medfly, had been successfully eradicated in the state of Colima using a nuclear technique described by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as “birth control for pests.” Mexico used the sterile insect technique (SIT) in cooperation with the IAEA and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to protect fruit and vegetable crops, farmers’ livelihoods, and the country’s economy.

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