April 21, 2021
Nuclear Energy SmartBrief
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Top Story
Manchin calls on Biden to support nuclear power in the US
Manchin (Pool/Getty Images)
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee chairman Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has sent President Joe Biden a letter asking him to prevent further closures of existing nuclear power plants. "I believe the federal government must use all the tools it has to protect this vital resource to the maximum extent consistent with the health and safety of the public," Manchin wrote.
Full Story: ANS Newswire (American Nuclear Society) (4/20) 
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News Roundup
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is taking public comments on the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning at nuclear power plants, and how the technologies could be used to improve operations in the future. The NRC has released an 11-question survey with a response deadline of May 21.
Full Story: Nextgov (4/20) 
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The Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration plans to upgrade the electric transmission lines serving its Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico to grow the power supply for current and future projects, including plutonium core production. A virtual public meeting about the $300 million power upgrade will take place on May 6 and a public comment period will close on May 21.
Full Story: The Associated Press (4/20) 
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Waste Management/D&D
The Department of Energy says White Shield of Pasco, Wash., has completed work to stabilize a large settling tank and two underground trenches at risk of collapsing and spreading radioactive contamination at the Hanford nuclear reservation. The three underground structures were fortified with grout and will be monitored at least until further cleanup takes place.
Full Story: The Associated Press (4/20),  Tri-City Herald (Kennewick, Wash.) (tiered subscription model) (4/20) 
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Advanced Reactors
The Department of Defense's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has awarded contracts to Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin and General Atomics for the first phase of testing nuclear thermal propulsion systems above low Earth orbit by 2025. "NTP offers a high thrust-to-weight ratio around 10,000 times greater than electric propulsion and two-to-five times greater specific impulse than chemical propulsion," DARPA said.
Full Story: ANS Newswire (American Nuclear Society) (4/20),  Space (4/20) 
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International
Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom is developing a smaller, optimized and more powerful version of its Akademik Lomonosov floating nuclear power plant. The new designs are expected to be ready within the next two years and Rosatom is looking to market them to foreign buyers.
Full Story: Bellona (Norway) (4/20) 
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Alberta has joined New Brunswick, Ontario and Saskatchewan in a Canadian partnership to develop small modular reactors and use them to fight climate change, meet regional energy demand, and drive economic growth and innovation. The news coincides with the release of a 64-page SMR Feasibility Study, which outlines the benefits of SMR development and identifies three streams of SMR project proposals for consideration by the provinces.
Full Story: ANS Newswire (American Nuclear Society) (4/20),  Nuclear Engineering International (4/20) 
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The Republic of Zimbabwe has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Russian Federation State Atomic Energy Corporation to explore nuclear technology options for increasing Zimbabwe's electricity generation capacity. "The memorandum seeks to facilitate higher [levels] of cooperation between the two countries in the use of nuclear energy," said Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa.
Full Story: The Herald (Zimbabwe) (4/20) 
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