Nuclear News on the Newswire

Advanced reactors: Now comes the hard part

Designing a reactor is complicated but building one may be harder. Even companies that have had lots of practice haven’t always done it well. And all the power reactors in service today were built by companies that had years of experience in other kinds of big steam-electric power plants. In contrast, some of the creative new designs now moving toward commercialization come from start-ups that have never built anything at all. How should they prepare?

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Burning plasma state achieved at Lawrence Livermore Lab

One of the last remaining milestones in fusion research before attaining ignition and self-sustaining energy production is creating a burning plasma, where the fusion reactions themselves are the primary source of heating in the plasma. A paper published in the journal Nature on January 26 describes recent experiments at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s National Ignition Facility (NIF) that have achieved a burning plasma state.

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Bruce Power completes installation of Lu-177 production system

Bruce Power and Isogen, a partnership between Kinectrics and Framatome, have completed the installation of Isogen’s isotope production system (IPS) at Unit 7 of Bruce’s CANDU nuclear power plant in Ontario, Canada, making it the first power reactor in the world with installed capability to produce lutetium-177.

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BWXT to demonstrate TRISO fuel line operations under contract extension

BWX Technologies announced on January 24 that it has been awarded a $4.9 million contract amendment to produce TRISO fuel particles using natural uranium and to demonstrate performance under a defined production schedule. BWXT’s Nuclear Operations Group will perform the work at BWXT’s Lynchburg, Va., facility, where TRISO production was restarted in November 2020. The contract amendment was awarded by Battelle Energy Alliance, which manages Idaho National Laboratory on behalf of the Department of Energy.

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Progress being made on Nuclear Grand Challenges

Early in my year as ANS vice president/president-elect, I was determined to try to find a project that the entire ANS community could rally behind and could be completed during my year as ANS president. I was looking for something that would provide community-identified focus areas for future activities and that would mobilize, energize, and inspire ANS members during that year and in the years ahead.

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Predictions: What lies ahead for nuclear in 2022

As we begin a new year, it is natural not only to look back (see page 24 for top news stories of 2021) but also to look forward. Nuclear News reached out to leaders in the nuclear community to get their predictions on what 2022 has in store, whether broadly or for their specific areas within the community. Although the responses below are wide-ranging and varied, one thing is made clear by all of the respondents: 2022 will see growth and opportunity. The future for nuclear is bright.

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House committee passes bipartisan university research infrastructure bill

A bipartisan bill to ensure that U.S. universities are equipped to play a key role in supporting the deployment of advanced nuclear technology and applications has been passed by the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

The National Nuclear University Research Infrastructure Reinvestment Act of 2021 (H.R. 4819) would boost investment in new and existing university nuclear science and engineering infrastructure, establish regional consortia to promote collaboration with industry and national laboratories, and support the development of advanced reactor technology and the workforce required for commercial advanced reactor deployment.

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Savannah River engineers engage students in real-world problem solving

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS), the Department of Energy contractor responsible for the management and operations of the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, partnered with Augusta University to create WORCshop@AU, an education outreach opportunity to introduce local high school students to nuclear science careers by solving a real-world problem. The program concluded on December 9, when student teams presented their solutions during a friendly competition.

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