As the electricity grid becomes overwhelmed with power supply from the likes of wind and solar, nuclear plants are exploring ways to adeptly control output. Exelon has been reducing power at plants by adjusting control rods to absorb neutrons, which, along with other methods, can curb power by 15% within an hour, said spokeswoman Lacey Dean.
Bret Kugelmass, founder of the Energy Impact Center, is exploring ways of curbing the cost of nuclear power to help fight climate change. Kugelmass plans to use nuclear plants to power facilities that capture carbon dioxide from the air and convert it into fuel.
The Los Alamos National Laboratory's Radioassay and Nondestructive Testing Shipping Facility made its first transuranic waste shipment to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant since 2014. The shipment, sent last week, involved 42 transuranic waste drums.
Former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz says he has never thought of uranium supply as being a top security risk. The Trump administration is considering curbing foreign uranium imports, but Moniz says he doesn't "consider it to be a driving national security issue."
The Indian Point nuclear plant in Buchanan, N.Y., will be sold to a Holtec International subsidiary after shutting down in 2021. The sale means "the decommissioning can be done quicker and the property can be returned for redevelopment sooner," said Buchanan Mayor Theresa Knickerbocker.
The H-Canyon hardened nuclear chemical separations plant at the Savannah River Site is still a "maintenance challenge," said Anne Marie White, the Energy Department's assistant secretary for environmental management. There are new, unspecified technologies being explored for use at H-Canyon, White said.
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said more funding is needed to remove nuclear waste from the Niagara Falls Storage Site. Schumer said he will seek $250 million from the federal Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program, known as FUSRAP.
The closing of nuclear plants will lead to greater carbon emissions, as fossil fuels are almost always used to make up for the lost electricity, writes James Meigs. "Compared with that of strip mines, oil wells, and pipelines ... nuclear power's total environmental footprint is almost dainty," he writes.
The Supreme Court's decision not to hear a case against zero-emission credits programs in New York and Illinois is the go-ahead for states to move forward on addressing carbon emissions on their own, said Pennsylvania state Rep. Rob Matzie, a Democrat. Harvard Law School Electricity Law Initiative Director Ari Peskoe agreed, saying the move means that "states have broad legal authority to enact programs that pay clean energy generators for their production of zero-emission energy."
The North Dakota Senate has passed a bill that forbids nuclear waste dumping but does create a framework for managing the waste if the federal government requires it to be disposed of in the state. The bill must still be passed by the state's House.