Archive: Nuclear

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.

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.”

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.

UPDATED: NRC Freezes Final License Decisions, Court Prolongs Yucca Mountain Saga

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on Tuesday put a hold on all final licensing decisions—include those for 19 construction and operating licenses (COLs), 12 license renewals, and one operating license—until the federal body can hash out how it will deal with spent nuclear fuel. The order comes on the heels of an Aug. 3 federal court ruling that puts off a decision on whether to force the NRC to act on the Yucca Mountain permanent nuclear waste repository’s long-pending license application.

A Bumpy Road for Nukes

Washington, D.C., 6 August 2012 — It’s been a rough road for nuclear advocates in the U.S. of late, although nothing seems to dent the Pollyanna armor of the nuclear crowd, always appearing to believe a revival is just over the horizon and headed into view. Here are a few fraught developments for the nuclear […]

Small Is the New Big: The B&W Small Modular Reactor

Small reactors are big news, particularly the 180-MWe Generation III++ Babcock & Wilcox mPower small modular reactor (SMR). This SMR has all the features of its larger cousins, but the entire reactor and nuclear steam supply system are incorporated into one reactor vessel, all about the size of single full-size pressurized water reactor steam generator. Expect the first mPower—and probably the first SMR—to enter service before 2022.

2011 Nuclear Industry Scorecard

The world nuclear industry experienced few substantial changes in performance metrics for 2011—beyond Japan, that is. In the aftermath of Fukushima, the once–world leading Japanese nuclear industry fell to the bottom of the rankings, perhaps for good.

Too Dumb to Meter, Part 3

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. In this POWER exclusive, we present the third chapter, “Micro-Mismanagement by Committee.” During the frenzy to manage atomic power after World War II, Congress created an executive branch agency that threatened to be too independent, too powerful, and too isolated from the rest of government. Compounding their errors, perhaps in recognition of what they had created, the solons also developed a way to insert their own power into the action. This proved to be a major mistake—blurring the lines between executive and legislative authority—causing no end of problems for the nation’s nascent atomic energy venture.