The reactor vessel of the second reactor at a Belarusian nuclear plant has been assembled by AEM-Technology. The first reactor at the Ostrovets-based plant is expected to begin operation in November 2018, with the second projected to follow in July 2020.
The proposed Clean Energy Standard was the main topic Tuesday at a New York Public Service Commission hearing, where a large number of attendees were employees of Entergy's FitzPatrick nuclear plant and Exelon's Nine Mile Point nuclear plant. At the meeting, PSC Chairman John O'Mara testified to the importance of FitzPatrick's role in meeting state emissions goals.
Entergy plans to have Indian Point Unit 2 back online in June following a rigorous review and replacement of some bolts in the reactor vessel. "Without Indian Point rates are higher and pollution is greater because plants that burn fossil fuels are the replacements for Indian Point's emission-free power," said Entergy spokesman Jerry Nappi.
A new six-year tax deal approved by the Vernon Selectboard and the state of Vermont includes a property valuation of $78 million for Entergy's closed Vermont Yankee nuclear plant. The updated property value represents a nearly 70% decrease from its previous valuation of $250 million. Under the deal, Entergy will make annual payments in lieu of taxes that will represent a larger sum than what is required, according to Vernon Tax Committee Chairwoman Patty O'Donnell.
The House of Representatives has voted 251-168 in favor of barring the government from buying heavy water from Iran. The vote comes after a companion amendment in the Senate failed to gain traction earlier in 2016. The Obama administration finalized an $8.6 million purchase of 32 tons of Iran's heavy water in April.
Iran has continued talks with Russia over the potential of constructing nuclear plants, with a Trend report indicating that Russia could help Iran build as many as eight.
Congress has displayed its ability to help encourage new nuclear energy technology through its support of a pair of new nuclear energy bills, according to Nuclear Energy Institute Senior Vice President for Governmental Affairs Alex Flint. "Both bills include provisions that add urgency to the development of an efficient, predictable licensing framework for advanced reactor technologies," Flint said. "They also recognize the value of the public-private partnership to leverage the significant investments already being made in advanced reactor designs and help bring them to market."
The Tennessee Valley Authority aims to create a better environment for employees to voice concerns at its Watts Bar nuclear plant, according to Mike Balduzzi, TVA's senior vice president of nuclear operations. "We recognize that the Watts Bar environment, and specifically in operations, had degraded to a point where some operators felt reluctant to raise issues -- we get that and we own that," Balduzzi said. "We firmly believe it is necessary for our employees to feel free to raise nuclear safety issues without fear of retaliation and, in fact, they should expect to be complimented for doing so."
Nuclear energy's ability to produce clean power 24 hours a day gives it a sizable advantage over renewables, according to Sama Bilbao y Leon, Virginia Commonwealth University's director of nuclear engineering programs. "As much as we can use [renewable energies], we should use them, but they are not perfect," said Bilbao y Leon. "Renewable energies can be interrupted, so you need to have something that is going to be their backup when the sun is not shining, or the wind is not blowing."
Reprocessing facilities for used nuclear fuel would lower the amount of used nuclear fuel requiring storage and create many construction and plant operation jobs, writes Roger Mayes, a former manager at the Idaho National Laboratory. "Nuclear reprocessing isn't a problem. It's part of the solution," Mayes writes. "Its revival could help break the political stalemate over nuclear waste disposal."
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