Researchers in Japan propose a more efficient method to reduce radioactive waste; fast reactor system shortens the lifetime of LLFPs

A team of scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) working in collaboration with Tohoku University, Tokyo City University and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency has proposed a novel, more efficient method to reduce radioactive waste. Their approach involves converting radioactive material into short-lived nuclides by absorbing surplus neutrons... Read more →

DOE to award up to $30-60M for advanced nuclear energy technology in FY 2018; $400M over 5 years

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has released a funding opportunity announcement (DE-FOA-0001817) to support development of advanced nuclear energy technology. DOE expects to make up to approximately $30 million to $60 million—contingent upon the availability of funds appropriated by Congress—available in FY 2018 awards, subject to the availability of... Read more →

Opinion: What A Westinghouse Bankruptcy Could Mean For U.S. Utilities

by Leonard Hyman and Bill Tilles for International news services now report that Japan’s Toshiba Corporation (9502.T) is preparing to make a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in the US for its Westinghouse Electric subsidiary. For most of our readers this news evokes little surprise. This is merely another chapter... Read more →

Scientists at Rice University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Chile are proposing that quantum-controlled motion of nuclei, starting from the nanometer-size ground state of a molecule, can potentially overcome some of the difficulties of thermonuclear fusion by compression of a fuel pellet or in a... Read more →

NuScale Power formally announced the submittal of a Design Certification Application (DCA) for their innovative small modular reactor (SMR) design (earlier post) to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for their review and approval. This is the first SMR DCA to be submitted to the NRC and marks a significant milestone... Read more →

JISEA: nuclear-renewable hybrid energy systems can reduce GHG from industry, produce fuels and support the power system

Nuclear-renewable hybrid energy systems (N-R HESs) can enable low-carbon, on-demand electricity while providing reduced-emission thermal energy for industrial processes. N-R HES systems are managed by a single entity that link a nuclear reactor that generates heat, a thermal power cycle for heat-to-electricity conversion, at least one renewable energy source, and... Read more →

PG&E announced a Joint Proposal with labor and leading environmental organizations that would increase investment in energy efficiency, renewables and storage beyond current state mandates while phasing out PG&E’s production of nuclear power in California by 2025 with the retirement of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant—California’s last operating nuclear... Read more →

Opinion: Uranium Prices Set To Double By 2018

by James Stafford of With prices set to double by 2018, we’ve seen the bottom of the uranium market, and the negative sentiment that has followed this resource around despite strong fundamentals, is starting to change. Billionaire investors sense it, and they’re always the first to anticipate change and... Read more →

DOE awarding >$82M to support nuclear energy research and development

The US Department of Energy (DOE) ia awarding more than $82 million to 93 projects that will help push innovative nuclear technologies toward commercialization and into the market. These awards provide funding for nuclear energy-related research through the Nuclear Energy University Program, Nuclear Science User Facilities, and Nuclear Energy Enabling... Read more →

Obama Administration announces actions to sustain and advance nuclear energy in US

Although overshadowed by the announcement on denial of a Presidential Permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline (earlier post), on Friday, the Obama administration also on Friday announced and highlighted a number of actions to sustain and advance nuclear energy in the US. In 2014, nuclear power generated about 60%... Read more →

2010 and 2015 LCOE ranges for solar and wind technologies. Source: IEA/NEA. Click to enlarge. The cost of producing electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar has been falling for several years. A new report, a joint project by the International Energy Agency and the Nuclear Energy Agency,... Read more →

Advances in magnet technology have enabled researchers at MIT to propose a new design for a practical compact tokamak fusion reactor that might be realized in as little as a decade: the ARC (affordable, robust, compact) reactor. The stronger magnetic field makes it possible to produce the required magnetic confinement... Read more →

DOE to award up to $80M to two advanced nuclear reactor projects

The US Department of Energy (DOE) issued a funding opportunity announcement (DE-FOA-0001313) to support the research, development, and demonstration of advanced nuclear reactor concepts. The announcement represents an early step in increasing investment in nuclear advanced reactor technologies, the DOE said. DOE will partner with industry to fund up to... Read more →

ORNL and Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics in CRADA for development of fluoride salt-cooled high-temp reactors

Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics (SINAP) are engaged in a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) focused on accelerating scientific understanding and technical development of salt-cooled reactors, specifically fluoride salt-cooled high-temperature reactors (FHRs). The project will draw on ORNL’s expertise in fuels, materials, instrumentation... Read more →

Researchers from Uppsala University, KTH and the University of Bologna have reported that during a 32-day test, an “E-Cat” reactor developed by Andrea Rossi (earlier post) released an abundance of heat that cannot be explained by chemical reactions alone. They further reported that isotope changes in the analyzed fuel (lithium... Read more →

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories’ Z pulsed-power accelerator have produced a significant output of fusion neutrons, using a method fully functioning for only little more than a year. The experimental work is described in a paper to be published 24 September in Physical Review Letters online. A companion theoretical paper... Read more →

Rusatom Overseas, a subsidiary of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation ROSATOM, and CNNC New Energy (China) signed a Memorandum of Intent to cooperate in the development of floating nuclear power plants. The next step in the implementation of the project will be establishment of a joint Chinese-Russian working group. Rusatom... Read more →

DOE releases five-year strategic plan, 2014-2018; supporting “all of the above” energy strategy

The US Department of Energy (DOE) released its five-year 2014-2018 Strategic Plan. The plan is organized into 12 strategic objectives aimed at three distinct goals: Science and Energy; Nuclear Security; and Management and Performance. These objectives represent broad cross-cutting and collaborative efforts across DOE headquarters, site offices, and national laboratories.... Read more →

DOE proposing $100M in FY2014 for 2nd round of funding for Energy Frontier Research Centers

US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced a proposed $100 million in FY2014 funding for Energy Frontier Research Centers; research supported by this initiative will enable fundamental advances in energy production and use. The Department of Energy (DOE) currently funds 46 Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs), which were selected for five-year... Read more →

Mean number of deaths prevented annually by nuclear power, 1971-2009. Credit: ACS, Hansen et al. Click to enlarge. A new study by James Hansen and Pushker Kharecha from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University Earth Institute has found that global nuclear power has prevented an average... Read more →

DOE selected an SMR project with the B&W mPower reactor in 2012. The nuclear core and steam generators are integrated in a single vessel. Source: B&W. Click to enlarge. The US Department of Energy (DOE) issued a new funding opportunity announcement (DE-FOA-0000800) for up to $266 million to help US... Read more →

Functional elements of the GEM*STAR reactor. Source: Muons, Inc. Click to enlarge. Muons, Inc., a private-sector high-energy accelerator physics firm, and ADNA (Accelerator-Driven Neutron Applications) Corp., are proposing using spent nuclear fuel (SNF), natural uranium, or excess weapons-grade plutonium (W-Pu) in a proposed GEM*STAR accelerator-driven subcritical reactor (ADSR) to provide... Read more →

The B&W mPower reactor integrates the nuclear core and steam generators in a single vessel. Source: B&W. Click to enlarge. The US Department of Energy (DOE) selected a project led by Babcock & Wilcox (B&W), in partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority and Bechtel, to design, license and help commercialize... Read more →

IEA WEO-2012 finds major shift in global energy balance but not onto a more sustainable path; identifies potential for transformative shift in global energy efficiency

The global energy map is changing significantly, according to the 2012 edition of the Internal Energy Agency’s (IEA) World Energy Outlook (WEO-2012). The IEA said these changes will recast expectations about the role of different countries, regions and fuels in the global energy system over the coming decades. The report... Read more →

World primary energy consumption grew by 2.5% in 2011, close to the historical average. Oil remains the world’s leading fuel, but its 33.1% share of consumption is the lowest on record. Coal’s market share of 30.3% was the highest since 1969. Source: BP. Click to enlarge. Global energy consumption grew... Read more →

DOE to provide up to $450M for design and commercialization of small modular nuclear reactors

The US Department of Energy will provide up to $450 million to advance the development of American-made small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs). The funding is targeted to support first-of-its-kind engineering, design certification and licensing for up to two SMR designs over five years, subject to congressional appropriations. Small modular reactors,... Read more →

The Pew survey found a 10 percentage point shift in favor of expanded fossil fuel production from March 2011 to March 2012. Data: Pew Research Center. Click to enlarge. As fuel prices rise, a new Pew Research Center survey has found that 52% of Americans now say the more important... Read more →

Shutting down reactors in high risk earthquake or tornado zones, or in areas with populations of more than 10 million would result in 24,728 MW lost capacity, an added annual cost of $ 4.7B, 166.73 additional MT of CO2 and 0.52 MT additional SO2, according to the model. Click to... Read more →

Simple diagram of the heated un-recuperated supercritical CO2 Brayton loop. Source: Wright et al. 2010. Click to enlarge. Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) researchers are progressing to the demonstration phase of a supercritical CO2 (S-CO2) Brayton-cycle turbine system for power generation, with the promise that thermal-to-electric conversion efficiency will be increased... Read more →

In both the base-case and a scenario with more aggressive environmental policies, CO2 emissions from energy use remain well above the IEA 450 scenario. Click to enlarge. World energy growth over the next twenty years is expected to be dominated by emerging economies such as China, India, Russia and Brazil... Read more →

Life-cycle GHG emissions from fossil and alternative sources of electricity. Credit: ACS, Kharecha et al.Click to enlarge. CO2 emissions from US coal-fired power plant could be phased out entirely by 2030 using existing technologies or ones that could be commercially competitive with coal within about a decade, according to a... Read more →

Researcher Describes Conceptual Cold Fusion “Battery”, or Small Power Unit

Professor George Miley of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and director of its Fusion Studies Lab, reported on progress toward a “cold fusion battery”—a small power unit that uses a low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) (i.e., “cold fusion”) to process an energy release from an electrolytic cell operating at low... Read more →

Obama Administration Announces $8.33B in Loan Guarantees for New Nuclear Power Reactors in Georgia; First New US Nuclear Power Plant Project in Nearly 3 Decades

President Obama announced that the Department of Energy has offered conditional commitments for a total of $8.33 billion in loan guarantees for the construction and operation of two new nuclear reactors at a plant in Burke, Georgia. The project is scheduled to be the first US nuclear power plant to... Read more →

Hyperion Unveils Design of its Small Modular Nuclear Reactor, the Hyperion Power Module

At the recent Annual Winter Conference of the American Nuclear Society in Washington, and simultaneously at the “Powering Toward 2020” conference in London, England, Hyperion Power Generation Inc. revealed the design for the first version of its Hyperion Power Module (HPM), a small modular nuclear reactor (SMR) that it intends... Read more →

US Senators Alexander, Webb Introduce $20B Energy Legislation with Emphasis on Nuclear Energy Investment

US Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Jim Webb (D-VA) introduced “The Clean Energy Act of 2009”, a bill to promote further investment and development of non-fossil-based energy technologies, including nuclear power and other resources. “The Clean Energy Act of 2009” spends $20 billion over the next 10 to 20 years... Read more →

Illustration of the integration of a high temperature gas-cooled reactor with commercial manufacturing, hydrogen production, and the generation of electricity. Source: INL. Click to enlarge. The US Department of Energy has issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for up to $40 million to support cost-shared design and planning work for... Read more →

Entergy Submits Application for Louisiana Nuclear Plant; Third NRC Application This Month with GE Hitachi ESBWR Reactor

The GE Hitachi ESBWR Reactor. Click to enlarge. New Orleans-based Entergy Corp. has submitted a combined construction and operating license (COL) application to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), selecting GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy’s (GEH) next-generation ESBWR (Economic Simplified Boiling-Water Reactor) reactor design. The nation’s second-largest nuclear plant operator, Entergy... Read more →

US DOE Awards $7.3 million for “Deep-Burn” Nuclear Technology Research & Development

One of the unique features of the high temperature gas-cooled reactor is the TRISO fuel used for the fission reaction. Click to enlarge. The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected teams led by Idaho National Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory to advance the technology of nuclear fuel “Deep-Burn” in... Read more →

AREVA and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Sign Largest Nuclear Contract Ever

Cutaway of an EPR. (1) reactor vessel, (2) the steam generators,(3) the pressurizer, (4) reactor coolant pumps, (5) inner prestressed concrete housing, (6) metallic liner and outer reinforced concrete shell, (7) special area for collection and cooling of escaping molten core, (8, 9) backup diesel generators, (10) turbine building. Click... Read more →

Penn State Leading DOE Consortium Focused on Nuclear Thermochemical Production of Hydrogen

The consortium research will develop technologies to improve the performance of a number of alternative cycles for the thermochemical production of hydrogen. Click to enlarge. Source: NREL Under a $2.4 million research grant designated from the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Nuclear Energy Research Initiative (NERI), Penn State is leading... Read more →

Exelon, Entergy Sign Letters of Intent with GE-Hitachi for Next-Generation Uranium Enrichment Services

Exelon and Entergy, two of the US’s largest nuclear utilities, have signed non-binding letters of intent to contract for uranium enrichment services from GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH). GEH is working to develop its next-generation Global Laser Enrichment (GLE) technology to produce enriched uranium for fuel used in commercial nuclear reactors.... Read more →

Energy Alberta Files Site Application for Oil Sands Nuclear Plant

Rendering of the heat transport system in the ACR-1000. Click to enlarge. Energy Alberta Corporation (Energy Alberta) has filed an application for a site preparation license for two twin-unit ACR-1000 CANDU nuclear reactors to provide power for the oil sands operations in Alberta. Energy Alberta, a privately held company incorporated... Read more →

Westinghouse to Provide Four AP1000 Nuclear Power Plants in China; Buys Pebble Bed Modular Reactor Company

Cutaway view of the AP1000. Click to enlarge. Westinghouse Electric Company LLC and its consortium partner, The Shaw Group, Inc., signed four landmark, multi-billion-dollar contracts to provide four AP1000 nuclear power plants in China. The contracts are with State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation Ltd. (SNPTC); Sanmen Nuclear Power Company Ltd;... Read more →

SRNL Hits Milestone in Nuclear Hydrogen Production

The Hybrid Sulfur Process has two stages. First, the electrolysis of sulfur dioxide and water to generate hydrogen and sulfuric acid, followed by the thermochemical conversion of the sulfuric acid back to sulfur dioxide. Click to enlarge. The US Department of Energy’s Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) recently successfully completed... Read more →

Using Steam from Nuclear Power Plants for Ethanol Production

Nuclear reactors and ethanol plants in the Corn Belt. Click to enlarge. Researchers and engineers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the US Department of Energy are suggesting using the steam from existing nuclear power plants in the Corn Belt to reduce the costs of producing ethanol from corn and... Read more →

US NRC Approves First New Nuclear Plant Site in More Than 30 years

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved the Early Site Permit (ESP) for the Exelon Generation Company's Clinton site, in central Illinois. This marks the first new ESP in more than 30 years, according to the Department of Energy (DOE). An ESP is a partial construction permit, and is not... Read more →

DOE Awards $5.7 Million to Universities for Nuclear Energy Research, Including Nuclear Hydrogen Initiative

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award $5.7 million under the Nuclear Energy Research Initiative (NERI) to nine universities for research in the Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems Initiative and the Nuclear Hydrogen Initiative (NHI). Combined with this announcement, DOE has funded a total of 70 NERI projects since... Read more →

Uranium Oxide Spot Prices Almost Double in 2006

Uranium spot prices almost doubled during 2006, jumping from US$37.50/pound for U3O8 in January to $72/pound in December, according to pricing data collected by the Ux Consulting Company. The $72/pound figure is ten times the $7.10 price of uranium oxide at the end of 2000, unadjusted for inflation. In constant... Read more →

India’s BARC Developing Two Nuclear Reactor Designs for Hydrogen Production

The Compact High Temperature Reactor (CHTR) produces high temperature process heat for hydrogen production by water splitting. Click to enlarge. Business Standard. Mumbai (India)-based Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) is designing prototype versions of two new reactors that will produce hydrogen for use as a fuel: the Compact High Temperature... Read more →

Mitsubishi Heavy to Offer Smaller Reactor to US Utilities

Basic system configuration for Mitsubishi PWR plants. Click to enlarge. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reports that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) will commercialize a compact 1,200 MWe advanced pressurized water nuclear reactor (APWR) for sale to US power companies in and after 2011. In July, Mitsubishi formed a US-based subsidiary—MHI Nuclear... Read more →