Nuclear News on the Newswire

A call to action

John C. Wagner

Like many of you, I have dedicated my career to the advancement of nuclear energy. We chose this path because clean energy changes lives. If we want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, end energy poverty, develop a U.S. power grid that is secure and resilient, and ensure national security, nuclear must be a significant part of the mix.

But let us acknowledge the reality of our situation. Nuclear power plants continue to close. New reactor projects are too often delayed by cost overruns and red tape. Not having solved the politics for a permanent repository, spent fuel sits at shut-down reactor sites.

We find ourselves perpetually running the hamster wheel, building paper reactors, and grinding our teeth as critics cloud public discourse by regurgitating old fears and clinging to the tired tropes of a bygone era.

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Laws and sausages*—10 CFR Part 53

Steven P. Nesbit
president@ans.org

Interested parties are watching the real-­time development of 10 CFR Part 53—a new Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulation for constructing and operating advanced nuclear power reactors in the United States. In January 2019, the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act (NEIMA) required, among other things, that for commercial advanced nuclear reactors, the NRC must increase the use of risk-­informed, performance-­based licensing evaluation techniques and establish by the end of 2027 a technology-­inclusive regulatory framework that encourages greater technological innovation.

* “If you like laws and sausages, you should never watch either one being made.” – Otto von Bismarck.

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Female students awarded IAEA scholarships under Sklodowska-Curie program

The International Atomic Energy Agency has selected more than 110 female students from around the world to receive scholarships under its Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Program.

Launched in 2020 by the IAEA's director general, Rafael Mariano Grossi, the program offers young women an opportunity to pursue studies toward a master’s in the nuclear field by providing financial support and practical experience. Its aim is to help close the gender gap in the traditionally male-dominated nuclear sector, where women make up less than a quarter of the workforce globally, according to data from the World Nuclear Association.

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Shadow corrosion is reproduced in University of Michigan lab

A longstanding issue in boiling water reactors—shadow corrosion on zirconium alloy fuel rods and fuel channels—has been reproduced in the Michigan Ion Beam Laboratory as part of an effort to understand and prevent the phenomenon. Research led by Peng Wang, a University of Michigan assistant research scientist in nuclear engineering and radiological sciences, was published in the January 2022 issue of the Journal of Nuclear Materials and described in a recent university news article.

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Omar Hurricane: Scientific proof of principle at the NIF

Hurricane

In 2012, Omar Hurricane, a distinguished member of the technical staff at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, was asked by the laboratory director to lead a team to delve into studying the physics and engineering obstacles preventing fusion ignition at the National Ignition Facility (NIF). The team’s efforts led to a new exploratory “basecamp” strategy and the creation of several pivotal experiments that revealed some of the underlying problems with the ignition point design, while also delivering improved fusion performance and the first evidence of significant alpha particle self-heating.

Hurricane was appointed chief scientist of the Inertial Confinement Fusion Program in 2014, a position he has held ever since. He was named a Fellow of the American Physical Society’s Division of Plasma Physics in 2016 and was recently awarded the Edward Teller Medal from the American Nuclear Society for his work on inertial confinement fusion physics.

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Another delay, cost bump, for Flamanville-3

France’s Flamanville-3 project, plagued by schedule setbacks and cost overruns for well over a decade (construction of the unit commenced in December 2007), will be delayed a bit longer and cost a bit more.

Électricité de France announced yesterday that fuel loading at the 1,600-MWe EPR has been pushed back from the end of this year to the second quarter of 2023. The delay increases the project’s cost at completion from €12.4 billion (about $14.2 billion) to €12.7 billion (about $14.5 billion), more than four times the initial estimate of €3.3 billion, according to EDF.

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Oak Ridge project team honored with Achievement Award

Energy secretary Jennifer Granholm honored a Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management (EM) team from Oak Ridge with the Secretary of Energy’s Achievement Award during a virtual ceremony yesterday for successfully removing a former uranium enrichment complex. The project cleared 13 million square feet of deteriorated, contaminated structures from the site.

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