The nuclear industry is welcoming the use of unmanned aerial systems for inspection activities, enticed by benefits such as operational safety improvements, cost savings and enhanced mobility and maneuverability. Monica Rivera Garcia of the Southwest Research Institute explores some challenges and technological limits to consider before purchasing a drone.
Georgia Power has delayed the in-service date of Units 3 and 4 at the Vogtle nuclear power plant to the third quarter of 2022 and the second quarter of 2023, respectively, in the company's fourth such announcement in the last six months. The company said it needs more time to address construction challenges and conduct more thorough testing.
The Energy Department has issued a final request for proposals for a contract worth up to $45 billion over 10 years for overseeing radioactive tank waste farms and operating the $17 billion Waste Treatment Plant, which is expected to be operational at the end of 2023. The department is accepting bids for the contract until Dec. 20.
Advanced nuclear fuel technology development company Lightbridge has finished designing an experiment to support irradiation testing of its proprietary next-generation metallic nuclear fuel material in the Idaho National Laboratory's Advanced Test Reactor. "Lightbridge's goal is to have the experiment available for insertion into the ATR when its core internal change out maintenance outage is completed," the company said.
Ukrainian nuclear energy company Energoatom plans to begin work by early 2022 on the country's first project that uses Westinghouse's AP1000 reactor technology, said Petro Kotin, Ergoatom's acting president. The pilot project will involve completing Unit 4 of the Khmelnitsky nuclear power plant using AP1000 components that have been in storage since the VC Summer nuclear project in South Carolina was canceled.
Nuclear-powered hydrogen production could be a "primary asset" for France as the country strives to become a leading player in green hydrogen by 2030, said French President Emmanuel Macron. Meanwhile, a new report from French grid operator RTE claims investment in advanced nuclear reactors can support the country's decarbonization efforts and goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.
Operations to convert high-level liquid nuclear waste into solid material could begin early next year at the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit in Idaho, Energy Department official Joel Case said. Scientists are preparing to begin a test startup next week using simulant instead of liquid waste initially, then gradually mixing in larger proportions of sodium-bearing waste, Case said.
During a tour hosted in celebration of Nuclear Science Week, officials at Entergy's Arkansas Nuclear One offered a rare glimpse into the state's only nuclear power plant and described their rigorous approach to operational safety and culture of continuous training. "We're training them for their worst case scenario to allow them to operate and practice the events that could happen at the plant so they will be prepared," said Zac Lacy, the plant's senior operations officer.
A Navajo group has filed additional testimony and exhibits on the merits of a uranium contamination case that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is expected to hear in the spring. The group, Eastern Navajo Dine Against Uranium Mining, will argue that the US and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission violated the human rights of Navajo Nation residents when it issued Hydro Resources a license to mine uranium near Crownpoint and Church Rock in western New Mexico.
Southern Company has elected former Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairperson Kristine Svinicki as an independent director, citing her experience in matters pertaining to federal and state energy policy. "Kristine's knowledge of and expertise in nuclear technologies will be invaluable as we pursue the full range of energy resources," said Southern Chairman, President and CEO Tom Fanning.
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