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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Become a member of the American Nuclear Society and join more than 10,000 professionals committed to advancing and promoting nuclear science and technology. ANS members represent a broad spectrum of the nuclear community, from utilities and manufacturers to educational institutions, national laboratories, and government agencies. Member benefits include significant discounts on virtual and in-person conferences, free publications, access to industry news, networking opportunities, online education events and much more. Learn more.