Archive: Nuclear

GE-Hitachi’s Global Laser Enrichment Plant Gets NRC OK, Other Projects Falter

A license issued by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on Tuesday greenlights operation of a proposed plant that will use laser technology to enrich uranium for fuel in commercial nuclear power reactors. If built as proposed on a 1,600-acre site at General Electric–Hitachi Global Laser Enrichment’s (GLE’s) global headquarters in Wilmington, N.C., where GLE currently operates a fuel fabrication plant, the facility would be one of two new enrichment plants expected to be operational by 2020, even though several others have received NRC approval and federal government funding.

Quebec’s Only Nuclear Plant to Close

The Canadian province of Quebec’s newly elected Parti Quebecois government announced on Tuesday that it has decided to shutter the province’s 30-year-old Gentilly-2 nuclear plant.

NRC to Start EIS, Revise Waste Confidence Rule for Spent Nuclear Fuel

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on Thursday directed its staff to develop an environmental impact statement (EIS) and a revised waste confidence decision and rule on the temporary storage of spent nuclear fuel (SNF). Last week’s decision was in response to a June 8 federal court ruling, which said the NRC had erred in deciding that SNF from the nation’s power plants could be stored as long as 60 years after a plant’s operating license expires.

Congressional Briefs: Back from Recess

Congress has returned from its summer break. As the House prepares to vote on its Upton-Stearns "No More Solyndras Act," lawmakers also expect to focus on a bill that could prohibit finalization of any Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) power plant rules that curb greenhouse gas emissions while carbon capture and storage technology is commercially unavailable. House Democrats, meanwhile, called for hearings to examine the impacts of climate change on the nation’s generators.

Too Dumb to Meter, Part 4

As the book title Too Dumb to Meter: Follies, Fiascoes, Dead Ends, and Duds on the U.S. Road to Atomic Energy implies, nuclear power has traveled a rough road from its origin as a tightly controlled military program to civilian applications meant to benefit society as a whole. In this POWER exclusive, we present the fourth and fifth chapters, “What Friendly Atom?” and “The Atomic Chimera.”

Exelon Withdraws Early Site Permit Application for Victoria County Reactor

Exelon on Tuesday said it plans to withdraw its Early Site Permit (ESP) application for construction of a new reactor at an 11,500-acre tract of land southeast of Victoria, Texas, saying “low natural gas prices and economic and market conditions . . . have made construction of new merchant nuclear power plants in competitive markets uneconomical now and for the foreseeable future.”

Troubled Fort Calhoun Reactor Restart Delayed Again

Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) has postponed restart of its troubled 478-MW Fort Calhoun nuclear plant for the third time since it was shut down 16 months ago. Restart of the reactor, located 19 miles north of Omaha, Neb., requires regulatory approval, and that is now tentatively anticipated early next year.

Report: Implementing Federal Dry Storage Program by 2020 Is Nation’s Best Waste Storage Option

Implementation of a new federal nuclear spent fuel–handling program starting in 2020 to remove 6,000 metric tons of uranium (MTU) per year for 10 years and 3,000 MTU per year thereafter could allow for full decommissioning of U.S. sites awaiting fuel removal. It would also enable retirement of all private Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installations by 2030, and achieve approximately a 10% reduction in average wet pool density, a new study from consulting firm The Brattle Group suggests.

Warm Water, Repairs, and a “Dropped” Control Rod Separately Prompt Reactor Shutdowns

As warmer-than-average waters in Connecticut’s Long Island Sound last week prompted Dominion to shut down one unit at its Millstone Nuclear Plant, an ammonia release caused an evacuation of part of Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar Unit 1, and Constellation Energy shut down of its Calvert Cliffs Unit 1 reactor after a control rod unexpectedly dropped into the reactor’s core. Then, on Tuesday, Xcel Energy shut down its Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant and Unit 1 of its Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant for repairs.