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Operations & Power
Members focus on the dissemination of knowledge and information in the area of power reactors with particular application to the production of electric power and process heat. The division sponsors meetings on the coverage of applied nuclear science and engineering as related to power plants, non-power reactors, and other nuclear facilities. It encourages and assists with the dissemination of knowledge pertinent to the safe and efficient operation of nuclear facilities through professional staff development, information exchange, and supporting the generation of viable solutions to current issues.
Utility Working Conference Virtual Summit (UWC)
August 11–11, 2020
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The ongoing effort to convert the world’s research reactors
The Ghana Research Reactor-1, located in Accra, Ghana, was converted from HEU fuel to LEU in 2017. Photo: Argonne National Laboratory
In late 2018, Nigeria’s sole operating nuclear research reactor, NIRR-1, switched to a safer uranium fuel. Coming just 18 months on the heels of a celebrated conversion in Ghana, the NIRR-1 reboot passed without much fanfare. However, the switch marked an important global milestone: NIRR-1 was the last of Africa’s 11 operating research reactors to run on high-enriched uranium fuel.
The 40-year effort to make research reactors safer and more secure by replacing HEU fuel with low-enriched uranium is marked by a succession of quiet but immeasurably significant milestones like these. Before Africa, a team of engineers from many organizations, including the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, concluded its conversion work in South America and Australia. Worldwide, 71 reactors in nearly 40 countries have undergone conversions to LEU, defined as less than 20 percent uranium-235. Another 31 research reactors have been permanently shut down.
Item ID: 700222|ISBN: 978-0-89448-621-0
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