Nuclear News on the Newswire

DOE puts $9.35 million toward high-energy-density plasma research

The Department of Energy’s Office of Science (DOE-SC) and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) on July 27 announced $9.35 million for 21 research projects in high-energy-density laboratory plasmas. High-energy-density (HED) plasma research, originally developed to support the U.S. nuclear weapons program, has applications in astrophysics, fusion power plant development, medicine, nuclear and particle physics, and radioisotope production.

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Oconee SLR application docketed

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has accepted for review the subsequent license renewal application for Duke Energy’s Oconee nuclear plant, the agency announced yesterday. The utility submitted the application for an additional 20 years of operational life for Oconee on June 7. A public version of the application (with proprietary details removed) is available on the NRC website.

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NRC launches special inspection at Davis-Besse

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Tuesday announced that it has begun a special inspection at Energy Harbor’s Davis-Besse nuclear plant. The inspection will focus on two separate issues: multiple diesel generator failures during testing and maintenance, and a complicated reactor trip on July 8.

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Decommissioning plans submitted for Byron, Dresden

In what could be viewed as a rather pointed message to Illinois lawmakers that time is running out to pass legislation providing a lifeline to the state’s Byron and Dresden nuclear plants, Exelon Generation this morning announced that it would file post-shutdown decommissioning activities reports (PSDARs) today with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The PSDARs detail long-term site restoration plans for the facilities, both of which are scheduled to shut down for good this fall—first Byron, in September, then Dresden, in November.

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First major component removed at Bruce-6

Bruce Power has removed the first of eight steam generators from Unit 6 at the Bruce nuclear plant in Ontario, the company announced earlier this week. The work was done as part of the facility’s major component replacement (MCR) project.

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Nuclear helps France reclaim title as Europe’s top net power exporter

France has overtaken Norway to regain its position as the biggest net exporter of power in Europe, according to a new report on the European electricity market by U.K.-based energy data services provider EnAppSys.

The report, which looked at the value of imports and exports in Europe during the first six months of 2021, found that France’s net exports totaled 21 TWh, with most of the power flowing to Great Britain (8.6 TWh) and Italy (7.2 TWh).

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U.S. power sector emissions drop in 2020

Carbon dioxide emissions from the U.S. power sector fell 10 percent between 2019 and 2020, according to the 17th and latest edition of Benchmarking Air Emissions of the 100 Largest Electric Power Producers in the United States, which was released last week. The drop is the largest year-over-year decrease in greenhouse gas emissions since the initial report was issued in 1997. Further, CO2 emissions are shown to be down 20 percent from 1990 levels and 40 percent from their 2007 peak.

The 48-page analysis—which combines generation and fuel consumption data from the Energy Information Administration with emissions data on CO2, sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and mercury from the Environmental Protection Agency—was authored by M.J. Bradley & Associates, a consulting firm focused on energy and environmental issues. Listed as “contributors” to the report are Bank of America, the nonprofit organization Ceres, energy producers Entergy and Exelon, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

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Metz on Harold Denton: Memories of a life in nuclear safety

Metz

A number of years ago, historian and writer Chuck Metz Jr. was at the Bush’s Visitor Center in Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains when he ran into former Nuclear Regulatory Commission official Harold Denton and his wife. Metz was at the visitor center, which opened in 2010 and is now a tourist hotspot, because, as he explained to the Dentons at the time, he had overseen the development of its on-site museum and had written a companion coffee-table history book.

The chance meeting turned into a friendship and a fruitful collaboration. Denton, who in 1979 was the public spokesperson for the NRC as the Three Mile Island-2 accident unfolded, had been working on his memoir, but he was stuck. He asked Metz for help with the organization and compilation of his notes. “I was about to retire,” Metz said, “but I thought that exploring the nuclear world might be an interesting change of pace.”

Denton passed away in 2017, but by then Metz had spent many hours with his fast friend and was able to complete the memoir, Three Mile Island and Beyond: Memories of a Life in Nuclear Safety, which was published recently by ANS. Metz shared some of his thoughts about Denton and the book with Nuclear News. The interview was conducted by NN’s David Strutz.

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