The Department of Energy will provide up to $40 million in funding for a program working to find ways to cut the volume of nuclear waste produced by advanced nuclear reactors. The goal of the program is a tenfold reduction in used nuclear fuel waste.
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Global production of low-carbon hydrogen from nuclear energy will require building 400 new 1-gigawatt reactors worldwide to power the electrolysis process, according to a report from the French parliamentary office for the Evaluation of Scientific and Technological Choices. In France alone, nuclear hydrogen production by electrolysis would require "the equivalent of four nuclear power stations dedicated solely to the production of electricity," the report estimates.
The Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory has started a nine-month, $170 million core internals changeout project to renovate and upgrade the Advanced Test Reactor. The work will enable the ATR "to run for at least another 15 to 20 years," said Sean O'Kelly, associate lab director for the ATR, adding that at least one more changeout will be performed in the 2030s.
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An overhaul of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission user-fee model for new license applicants, plus expanded funding for advanced reactor licensing and regulatory infrastructure, could spur innovation and put the US at the forefront of advanced nuclear development, according to a report from the Nuclear Innovation Alliance. "User fees can be effective models to internalize regulatory costs of regulated industries, but they can also discourage innovation and limit agency capabilities and flexibility," the report states.
The New York Public Service Commission has approved the sale of Entergy's Indian Point nuclear power plant to Holtec International subsidiaries for decommissioning. The decommissioning work will take at least 12 years to complete and is estimated to cost $2.3 billion.
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee that the Yucca Mountain repository in Nevada was "not a workable solution" to the nation's nuclear waste problem and that officials are considering a consent-based interim storage facility. The government could issue requests for information and set up a funding mechanism "for interested communities and organizations and tribal governments" in the coming months, Granholm said.
Researchers at Russia's Ural Federal University have developed clay bricks alloyed with heavy metals that can absorb enough ionizing radiation to make the area safe for humans. The scientists aim to develop a variety of building materials suitable for the specific conditions at nuclear power plants, nuclear waste storage facilities and medical institutions.
The UK's National Physical Laboratory is using its High Accuracy Inspection System to conduct digital imaging inspections of the nuclear waste stored at Sellafield's nuclear site in Cumbria, England. "The automation ensures the inspector can concentrate on areas of potential concern and use their skills to efficiently make an accurate assessment of conditions," said NPL principal research scientist Nick McCormick.
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