Nuclear News on the Newswire

Kairos’s Hermes 2 passes NRC safety review

Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has completed its final safety evaluation for Kairos Power’s application to build its Hermes 2 molten salt–cooled reactor test facility in Oak Ridge, Tenn., the agency announced July 22. Earlier, and independently, the NRC’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) reviewed safety-related aspects of the Kairos application and provided its review to the Commission on July 17. The evaluation concluded that there are no safety aspects that would preclude issuing a construction permit for the facility, but that can’t happen until the NRC staff issues its final environmental assessment later this summer and the Commission assesses the staff’s work (under newly streamlined procedures for mandatory hearings) this fall before voting on whether to authorize a construction permit.

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Power outages, water shortages impact Ukraine plant

Security watchdogs with the International Atomic Energy Association are reporting continuing issues at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant due to the military invasion from Russia.

IAEA director general Rafael Mariano Grossi said in his weekly briefing on Ukraine that Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant staff experienced another power outage in the nearby city of Enerhodar—where most of the workers live—and a shortage of tap water that has also affected the plant.

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Gavrilas named NRC’s executive director for operations

Gavrilas

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has named Mirela Gavrilas, currently head of the agency’s Office of Nuclear Security and Incident Response, executive director for operations, effective July 28.

The EDO position is the highest-ranking NRC career position, with responsibilities for overseeing the agency’s operational and administrative functions and serving as the chief operating officer.

“Mirela is extraordinarily qualified for this top leadership position, based on her technical expertise, communication and management skills, and demonstrated ability to modernize work processes and metrics,” said Christopher Hanson, NRC chair. “She is well poised to lead the NRC staff as we tackle challenges and embrace new opportunities, particularly after the recent passage of the ADVANCE Act.”

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FIA publishes “snapshot in time” fusion industry report

Following new federal funding and programs announced in June to support a “bold decadal vision” for fusion energy in the United States, and the enactment of the Fusion Energy Act in July, fusion energy trade group the Fusion Industry Association has released its latest annual survey of fusion companies: The Global Fusion Industry in 2024.

This fourth annual report includes responses from three companies that were not surveyed in 2023 as well as an additional $900 million of reported funding in the past year. That’s growth—but growth that falls short of the “bold” expectations set by the eye-popping $2.8 billion of funding reported by private companies in 2022, as media outlets—including Reuters, with the headline “Global Fusion Energy Investment Growth Falls for Second Year”—were quick to point out.

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