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 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 →