Nuclear News on the Newswire

New report details impact of nuclear energy in southeastern U.S.

A seminal new report by the Southeast Nuclear Advisory Council and E4 Carolinas has identified the significant economic impact of the nuclear industry within the southeastern United States. The report, The Economic Impact of the Nuclear Industry in the Southeast United States, provides a baseline for future research into the crucial role nuclear power plants play in shaping regional economies and facilitating the shift to clean energy.

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Can uranium extraction from seawater make nuclear power completely renewable?

America, Japan, and China are racing to be the first nation to make nuclear energy completely renewable. The hurdle is making it economical to extract uranium from seawater, because the amount of uranium in seawater is truly inexhaustible.

While America had been in the lead with technological breakthroughs from the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest and Oak Ridge National Laboratories, researchers at Northeast Normal University in China have sprung ahead. But these breakthroughs from both countries have brought the removal of uranium from seawater within economic reach. The only question is when will the source of uranium for our nuclear power plants change from mined ore to sea­water extraction?

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Clinton seeks initial license renewal

Constellation Energy is asking the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for an initial license renewal for its Clinton nuclear plant in Illinois, which would allow the facility to operate through 2047.

This move is not unexpected from Constellation, the largest producer of nuclear power in the United States. The vast majority of nuclear plants in the United States have already been approved for their first 20-year renewal term. Clinton, which came on line in 1987, is one of the nation’s “newer” plants.

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Taking aim at disease

On August 2, 1946, 1 millicurie of the isotope carbon-14 left Oak Ridge National Laboratory, bound for the Barnard Free Skin and Cancer Hospital in St. Louis, Mo.

That tiny amount of the radioisotope was purchased by the hospital for use in cancer studies. And it heralded a new peacetime mission for ORNL, built just a few years earlier for the production of plutonium from uranium for the Manhattan Project.

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Bulgaria, U.S. partner on nuclear program

Officials from the United States and Bulgaria inked a deal this week to cooperate as Bulgaria further develops its civil nuclear power program.

A working group will explore plans to design, construct, and commission two new units at Bulgaria’s Kozloduy nuclear power plant. The two countries will also “explore collaboration on research and training programs and developing Bulgaria's nuclear supply chain resilience,” according to reports.

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Vogtle-4 hits start-up milestone

Georgia Power’s Vogtle-4, located near Waynesboro, Ga., reached initial criticality this week, hitting a major milestone in the start-up of the reactor.

The company announced the news on February 14. Initial criticality demonstrates that operators have safely started the nuclear reactor, or, in other words, the fission reaction within the unit is now self-sustaining and the nuclear reactor is ready to produce heat.

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ANS calls for a public meeting with NRC on RIPB design standard

The American Nuclear Society has published the first voluntary consensus standard for nuclear reactor design that formally incorporates risk-informed, performance-based (RIPB) decision-making in July 2022. ANSI/ANS-30.3-2022, Light Water Reactor Risk-Informed, Performance-Based Design, tells reactor designers how they can incorporate RIPB principles and methods to ensure safety in new commercial light water reactor designs, and it includes a spectrum of options using both deterministic and risk-based approaches. As the first such standard, ANSI/ANS-30.3-2022 represents progress toward the adoption of RIPB principles for nuclear regulation and licensing—a shift the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was directed to make in the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act, which became law five years ago.

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PanTera to supply Ac-225 to Bayer

PanTera, a Belgian joint venture created by Ion Beam Applications (IBA) and SCK CEN, has signed a capacity reservation agreement with pharmaceutical giant Bayer for the supply of actinium-225 starting in the second half of 2024. An alpha-emitting radioisotope with a half-life of 10 days, Ac-225 has shown potential for treating various types of cancer through targeted alpha therapy.

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Transformer fire shuts down nuclear reactors in France

A fire this past weekend at Chinon nuclear power plant in France forced two reactors to be shut down. According to initial reports, a transformer in a nonnuclear sector of Unit 3 caught fire.

The incident occurred February 10 in the early morning hours, local time, and the fire was quickly extinguished.

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