Nuclear News on the Newswire

Newsom proposes $1.4 billion loan to keep Diablo Canyon running

There is still a chance for California’s last remaining nuclear power plant to stay open.

Last Friday, more than 50 nuclear advocates testified in support of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant at a California Energy Commission workshop. Many spoke of the need for California to shore up its electricity grid in the face of coming heat waves and power outages. Others emphasized that closing the plant, which generates 2.2 GW of electricity and currently provides 8.6 percent of the state’s total supply and about 15 percent of its low-carbon electricity, would be devastating to California’s emission-reduction goals.

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South Korean firms invest $250 million in TerraPower

U.S. nuclear technology company TerraPower announced yesterday the close of a $750 million equity raise—one of the largest advanced-nuclear investment drives to date, according to the announcement—with $250 million of that contributed by South Korean firms SK Inc. and SK Innovation.

Both firms are subsidiaries of the Seoul-based conglomerate SK Group, South Korea’s second-largest conglomerate, after Samsung Group.

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Trust is the coin of the realm

Craig Piercy
cpiercy@ans.org

It is often said that in Washington, “trust is the coin of the realm.” Of course, you can be forgiven for thinking these days that trust in politics is an outmoded concept—that the only coin of the realm today is, well, “coin.” But you would be wrong.

Behind the facade of political polarization and tribalism there still exists a genuine desire to make good policy. Of course, each side of the ideological spectrum will always have their preferred set of solutions, and those solutions will usually be “spiced” by the parties’ respective “bases.” But I never cease to be surprised by how much undetected common ground exists on practical matters.

During the last six months, in partnership with the bipartisan U.S. House Advanced Reactor Caucus, I have had the honor of moderating monthly Jeffersonian dinners on Capitol Hill with members of Congress and leaders from across the nuclear profession. If you are not familiar with the format, a Jeffersonian dinner requires that there be one single conversation at the table around a posed central question, such as, “Is nuclear energy overregulated?” or “Should the U.S. recycle its nuclear fuel?”

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Congress passes climate bill with tax credits and more for nuclear

After hours of debate alternating between Democratic praise for the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and Republican denunciation of it, the House of Representatives late Friday passed the sweeping energy, tax, and health care package in a straight party-line vote, 220–207. Its passage represents a significant win for President Biden, who is expected to sign the bill into law this week.

The boldly named $430 billion measure includes $369 billion in energy security and climate spending, with nuclear energy included among the beneficiaries.

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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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