Nuclear generation reached a near-record high in 2019, with output reaching 2657 TWh, enough to meet more than 10% of the world’s electricity demand, according to the recently published World Nuclear Association Performance Report 2020. Source: World Nuclear Association and IAEA Power Reactor Information Service (PRIS) In 2019, nuclear electricity... Read more →


NuScale Power receives US NRC design approval for small modular reactor

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) completed the Phase 6 review—the last and final phase—of the Design Certification Application (DCA) for NuScale Power’s small modular reactor (SMR) and issued the Final Safety Evaluation Report (FSER). The FSER represents completion of the technical review and approval of the NuScale SMR design.... Read more →


Researchers propose method for eliminating damaging heat bursts in fusion device

Toroidal (doughnut-shaped) tokamaks are prone to intense bursts of heat and particles, called edge localized modes (ELMs). These ELMs can damage the reactor walls and must be controlled to develop reliable fusion power. Scientists have learned to tame these ELMs by applying spiraling rippled magnetic fields to the surface of... Read more →


PPPL scientists proposes novel method for controlling fusion reactions

Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have developed a novel way to prevent magnetic bubbles, or islands, in plasma from interfering with fusion reactions—delivering a potential way to improve the performance of fusion energy devices. The novel method modifies the standard technique of... Read more →


Chevron invests in nuclear fusion start-up Zap Energy

Chevron Corporation made a Series A investment in Zap Energy Inc., a Seattle-based start-up company developing a next-generation modular nuclear reactor with an innovative approach to advancing cost-effective, flexible, and commercially scalable fusion. Zap Energy will use the funds raised in this round to continue technology development and grow its... Read more →


US DOE awards EPRI $5.1M for advanced nuclear technology

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding $5.1 million to the Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. (EPRI) to develop modular-in-chamber electron beam welding capability for a future domestic advanced reactor demonstration project. This project has a total value of approximately $6.5 million of which DOE will provide approximately $5.1... Read more →


DOE invests $65M at national laboratories and US universities to advance nuclear technology

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced more than $65 million in nuclear energy research, cross-cutting technology development, facility access, and infrastructure awards for 93 advanced nuclear technology projects in 28 states. The awards fall under DOE’s nuclear energy programs called the Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP), the Nuclear Energy... Read more →


ITER, the world’s largest international scientific collaboration, is beginning assembly of the fusion reactor tokamak that will include 12 different essential hardware systems provided by US ITER, which is managed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The soup-bowl-shaped base of the ITER cryostat was gradually lifted from its frame, carried across... Read more →


US DOE launches $230M Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has launched the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP) within the Office of Nuclear Energy (NE). ARDP is designed to help domestic private industry demonstrate advanced nuclear reactors in the United States. For the Fiscal Year 2020 budget, Congress appropriated $230 million to start a... Read more →


The US Department of Energy announced $27 million in funding for 9 projects as part of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy’s (ARPA-E) Generating Electricity Managed by Intelligent Nuclear Assets (GEMINA) program. GEMINA’s goal is to reduce fixed operations and maintenance (O&M) costs from ~13 $/MWh in the current fleet to... Read more →


Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory are refining their design of a 3D-printed nuclear reactor core, scaling up the additive manufacturing process necessary to build it, and developing methods to confirm the consistency and reliability of its printed components. The Transformational Challenge Reactor Demonstration Program’s approach... Read more →


Texas A&M University (TAMU) engineering researchers have devised a simple, proliferation-resistant approach for separating out different components of nuclear waste. The one-step chemical reaction, described in the ACS journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, results in the formation of crystals containing all of the leftover nuclear fuel elements distributed uniformly.... Read more →


The University of Tennessee (UT) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) signed a memorandum of understanding to evaluate the development of a new generation of cost-effective, advanced nuclear reactors, such as small modular reactors (SMRs), at TVA’s 935-acre Clinch River Nuclear (CRN) site in Roane County. TVA has not made... Read more →


The US Department of Energy announced the winners of $32 million in funding for 15 projects as part of the ARPA-E Breakthroughs Enabling THermonuclear-fusion Energy (BETHE) program. (Earlier post.) These projects will work to develop timely, commercially viable fusion energy, with the goal to increase the number and performance levels... Read more →


Nuclear power plants play an important role in US electricity generation, consistently providing about 20% of total annual generation. Of the 30 US states with operating commercial nuclear power plants, 12 states generated more than 30% of their electricity from nuclear power, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).... Read more →


A software package, 10 years in the making, that can predict the behavior of nuclear reactors’ cores with stunning accuracy has been licensed commercially for the first time. The nonprofit Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) is the first to hold a commercial license for the Virtual Environment for Reactor Applications... Read more →


The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $30 million in funding to support innovative R&D for a range of enabling technologies required for commercially attractive fusion energy. (DE-FOA-0002288) The funding effort, Galvanizing Advances in Market-aligned fusion for an Overabundance of Watts (GAMOW, pronounced gamma), is run jointly by... Read more →


Researchers calculate social cost of German nuclear phase-out at $12B/year; 70% from increased mortality risk

In a working paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), a team from UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) calculates that the social cost of the phase out of nuclear electricity production in Germany is approximately $12 billion per year. More than 70% of... Read more →


Nuclear scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have established a Nuclear Quality Assurance-1 program for a software product designed to simulate today’s commercial nuclear reactors, removing a significant barrier for industry adoption of the technology. The suite of tools called VERA, the Virtual Environment for Reactor Applications developed by the... Read more →


Oklo Inc.—a small company based in Sunnyvale, CA, developing a compact fast reactor—has received a Site Use Permit from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to build its Aurora plant at Idaho National Laboratory (INL). The site use permit makes a site available to Oklo to build its Aurora plant,... Read more →


UK-based engineering specialist Sheffield Forgemasters is leading a consortium of partners in a £10.5-million (US$14 million) project to explore the industrialization of Electron Beam Welding (EBW) in civil nuclear assemblies. The project has the potential to integrate welding into the manufacturing process, offering material improvements and vast reductions in manufacturing... Read more →


Ontario, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan to work together on small modular reactors

Ontario, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick have agreed to work together to explore new technology in nuclear power generation to provide carbon-free, affordable, reliable, and safe energy, while helping unlock economic potential across Canada, including rural and remote regions. Ontario Premier Doug Ford, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs and Saskatchewan Premier... Read more →


The US Department of Energy (DOE) and US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to share technical expertise and computing resources to speed up the deployment of advanced nuclear technologies. The MOU centers on DOE’s new National Reactor Innovation Center (NRIC) initiative which was authorized by... Read more →


ARPA-E to award up to $35M to develop tools to transform operations and maintenance of advanced nuclear reactors

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced up to $35 million in new funding for the development of tools and systems that will enable reduced expense and increased flexibility in the operation and maintenance at nuclear power plants. ARPA-E’s Generating Electricity Managed by Intelligent Nuclear Assets... Read more →


DOE awards $15.2M to three projects for advanced nuclear technology

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced funding selectees for multiple domestic advanced nuclear technology projects. Three projects in three states will receive varying amounts for a total of approximately $15 million in funding. The projects are cost-shared and will allow industry-led teams, including participants from federal agencies, public and... Read more →


DOE awards $49.3M to national laboratories and universities to advance nuclear technology; 58 projects

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced $49.3 million in nuclear energy research, facility access, crosscutting technology development, and infrastructure awards for 58 advanced nuclear technology projects in 25 states. The awards fall under DOE’s nuclear energy programs called the Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP), the Nuclear Science User Facilities... Read more →


Moltex, a UK- and Canada-based start-up developing stable molten salt reactor technologies, reported that it has already passed its initial £4-million (US$5.05 million) target for a crowd-funding raise. The raise is now up above £4.2 million (US$5.3 million) and rising, and is boosted by a £2.5-million (US$3.16 million) corporate investment... Read more →


With nuclear power facing an uncertain future in many countries, the world risks a steep decline in its use in advanced economies that could result in billions of tonnes of additional carbon emissions, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency. Nuclear is the second-largest low-carbon power source... Read more →


The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission will issue a direct final rule certifying Korea Electric Power Corporation and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power’s Advanced Power Reactor 1400. The certification, valid for 15 years, will state that the NRC finds the design fully acceptable for US use. The two companies submitted an... Read more →


In a step toward advancing small modular nuclear reactor designs, scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have run reactor simulations on ORNL supercomputer Summit with greater-than-expected computational efficiency. The team’s experiments tracked 100 billion particle histories—which are collections of unique, individual neutron interactions that occur within a reactor core—on Summit’s... Read more →


DOE awards $19M to four advanced nuclear energy technology projects

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced funding selectees for multiple domestic advanced nuclear technology projects. Four projects in two states will receive varying amounts for a total of approximately $19 million in funding. The projects are cost-shared and will allow industry-led teams, including participants from federal agencies, public and... Read more →


DOE awards $111M to three vendors to develop accident-tolerant nuclear fuels; additional $85.6M planned

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) has awarded $111.2 million to three industry partners to develop Accident Tolerant Fuels (ATF). General Electric (GE), Westinghouse (WEC), and Framatome received the financial assistance awards in late 2018 with FY18 and FY19 funding. (Earlier post.) The period of... Read more →


Westinghouse awarded $93.6M for accident-tolerant nuclear fuel development; silicon carbide cladding

Westinghouse Electric Company has been awarded $93.6 million in funding from the US Department of Energy (DOE) in support of its accident-tolerant fuel program, EnCore Fuel. EnCore Fuel is being developed to deliver design-basis-altering safety margins, withstanding far more severe conditions than today’s fuel. With an extremely high melting point... Read more →


ARPA-E announces $12M for five projects in nuclear materials science; first OPEN+ cohort

The US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) is awarding $12 million in funding for 5 projects as part of its first OPEN+ program. Traditionally, ARPA-E OPEN solicitations issue an open call to scientists and engineers for transformational technologies across the entire scope of ARPA-E’s energy mission. The... Read more →


DOE to award $18M to advanced nuclear technology projects

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award approximately $18 million to eleven domestic advanced nuclear technology projects; project values total $25 million. The projects are cost-shared and will allow industry-led teams, including participants from federal agencies, public and private laboratories, institutions of higher education, and other domestic entities, to... Read more →


DOE awarding nearly $20M for advanced nuclear technology projects

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected nine domestic projects to receive nearly $20 million in funding for cost-shared research and development for advanced nuclear technologies. These awards are through the Office of Nuclear Energy’s (NE) funding opportunity announcement (FOA) U.S. Industry Opportunities for Advanced Nuclear Technology Development and... Read more →


ARPA-E awarding up to $24M to 10 projects to support advanced nuclear power plants

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award up to $24 million in funding for 10 projects as part of a new Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program: Modeling-Enhanced Innovations Trailblazing Nuclear Energy Reinvigoration (MEITNER). MEITNER teams will identify and develop innovative technologies that enable designs for lower cost, safer,... Read more →


DOE awarding up to $3.5M to 3 projects for nuclear-compatible high-temperature electrolysis for H2 production

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding up to $3.5 million to three hydrogen production research and development (R&D) projects that are compatible with nuclear energy sources. DOE is focused on developing technologies that can produce hydrogen at a target of less than $4/kg (delivered and dispensed). Using electricity... Read more →


The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected 13 projects to receive approximately $60 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development for advanced nuclear technologies. Of that, $40 million will go to NuScale Power to further its commercialization of small modular reactor technology. (Earlier post.) These selections are... Read more →


MIT and a new private company, Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS), are partnering on a novel approach to fusion power. CFS, which has attracted an investment of $50 million in support of this effort from the Italian energy company Eni, will join with MIT to carry out rapid, staged research leading... Read more →


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 Oilprice.com 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 Oilprice.com 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 →