Nuclear News on the Newswire

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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TVA, GEH advance SMR plans for Clinch River site

The Tennessee Valley Authority and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) have signed an agreement to support planning and preliminary licensing for the potential deployment of a BWRX-300 small modular reactor at the Clinch River site near Oak Ridge, Tenn., the utility’s president and chief executive officer, Jeff Lyash, announced last week.

An evolution of GEH’s 1,520-MWe Generation III+ ESBWR design, the BWRX-300 is a 300-MWe water-cooled, natural-circulation SMR with passive safety systems.

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Nuclear power resilience in a changing climate

All 92 U.S. power reactors operating today need water—in the right place and at the right time. But extreme weather events, including floods, droughts, hurricanes, and heat waves, upend expectations and demand resilience: the ability to anticipate, accommodate, and recover from adverse impacts.

Resilience was built into today’s nuclear power plants decades ago. Weather data and climate forecasts not available then can be factored into risk analysis now to ensure the plants remain resilient in a changing climate.

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U.K.’s Hinkley Point B retired

By all accounts the most productive nuclear power plant in British history, Somerset’s Hinkley Point B station closed for good on August 1, with the shutdown of its B1 unit, a 485-MWe advanced gas-cooled reactor. (The plant’s B2 unit, a 480-MWe AGR, was shuttered early last month.)

The station employed around 500 staff and 250 contractors and contributed approximately £40 million (about $48.7 million) per year to the Somerset economy, according to EDF Energy, owner and operator of the United Kingdom’s power reactor fleet.

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