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Industry leaders from around the globe met this month to discuss the talent development that will be necessary for the long-term success of the nuclear industry.

The International Conference on Nuclear Knowledge Management and Human Resources Development, hosted by the International Atomic Energy Agency, was held in Vienna earlier this month. Discussed there was the agency’s forecast for nuclear capacity to more than double—or hopefully triple—by 2050 and the requirement of more than four million professionals to support the industry.

But with about one-third of the existing workforce expected to retire by 2033, the industry will need more than one million new workers to fill vacancies and support nuclear capacity growth. Key takeaways from the conference include the need to build strong partnerships among global organizations, to reach out to students early on, and to evaluate and act on recruitment competition from other industries.

Quotable: “The nuclear industry is evolving and the demand for well-trained, highly competent employees is growing,” said Mikhail Chudakov, deputy director general and head of the IAEA Department of Nuclear Energy. “It is critical that we identify and develop talented individuals so that they may become valued assets to their teams for years to come. And we must pursue development approaches that center [on] diversity and inclusion, and not only because this is the equitable thing to do, but also because innovation thrives when more people are given opportunities.”

Elsie Pule, a human resources executive for South Africa’s Eskom Holdings Soc Ltd. and conference president, said, “We must leverage our technological advancements, align with the values of the younger generation, engage students early, offer competitive compensation, and provide dynamic career opportunities. By doing so, we will secure the talent necessary to drive our industry forward and contribute to a sustainable future.”

Growing the ranks: Several initiatives were explored during the conference, including the Nuclear Knowledge Management school, a one-week course providing specialized education and training on how to implement nuclear knowledge management programs in nuclear science and technology organizations, including key organizations for nuclear program implementation and decision making.

As of February 2024, IAEA NKM schools have trained 1,139 professionals. Earlier this year, Australia hosted its first NKM school at the University of Adelaide’s Centre for Radiation Research, Education, and Innovation, and four more schools are planned for 2024.

The IAEA also helps countries draft human resource development plans, with an expert mission last May to Poland’s Polskie Elektrownie Jądrowe to assess its preparedness to meet human resource needs ahead of plans to deploy significant nuclear power capacity in the coming years.

Other agency programs include the Nuclear Energy Management school, a course designed to develop leaders in the nuclear energy field, and the International Nuclear Management Academy, an initiative developed to support grow the number of universities with master’s programs in various areas of nuclear technology management.

Diversity is key: Increasing the number of women in the nuclear field is a major priority for the IAEA and across the industry. A survey released in 2023 by the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency found that while many women in the nuclear industry want to advance their careers, they face challenges due to lack of flexible work practices and gender stereotyping. Roughly one-quarter of the nuclear workforce is female, but women hold less than 20 percent of upper management and executive positions.

At the time of the survey, the current recruitment rate of women was 28.8 percent, coupled with an attrition rate of 8.1 percent, which effectively put a ceiling for women in the industry of 28.8 percent over time. If recruitment increases to 50 percent women, however, and the attrition rate remains the same, women could reach 45 percent of nuclear sector employment by 2045, the survey concluded.

The Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Program, launched in 2020, provides young women around the world with scholarships toward master’s degrees in the nuclear sector. As of July 2024, the program has supported 560 women from 121 countries with scholarships. And the Lise Meitner Program, which kicked off in 2022, provides early- and mid-career women with opportunities to take part in visiting professional programs designed to advance their skills.

About the conference: Held July 1–5 at the IAEA’s Vienna headquarters, more than 760 registrants from 108 countries and nine invited organizations attended. The conference explored topics including leadership development, technology innovation, and stakeholder engagement, as well as challenges in and strategies for human resource development.

“Effective knowledge management ensures that critical information, expertise, and best practices are preserved and transferred across generations, preventing knowledge loss and enhancing operational safety and efficiency. Human resource development, through continuous education and training, equips professionals with the necessary skills to adapt to technological advancements and regulatory changes, fostering innovation and maintaining high safety standards,” said Kim Pringle, co–vice president of the conference and director of human capacity building at Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy. “Together, they ensure the industry remains resilient, safe, and capable of meeting future energy demands, and this conference facilitated a collaborative and engaging environment to achieve this goal.”

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Source: https://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/El-Dabaa-project-reports-progress-on-construction

Egypt's first nuclear power plant is pushing ahead - with the core catcher for unit 3 now on site, a 2000-tonne capacity crane installed and Rosatom reporting that 75% of the blanks to be used for unit 1's reactor equipment now produced.

El Dabaa will be Egypt's first nuclear power plant, and the first in Africa since South Africa's Koeberg was built nearly 40 years ago. The Rosatom-led project is about 320 kilometres north-west of Cairo and will comprise four VVER-1200 units, like those already in operation at the Leningrad and Novovoronezh nuclear power plants in Russia, and the Ostrovets plant in Belarus.

The four units are being built almost concurrently, with first concrete at unit 1 in July 2022, followed in turn by the others, concluding with first concrete at unit 4 in January this year.

The first tier of unit 1's inner containment was completed in May, and Rosatom says that its AEM-Spetsstal machine-building division has now manufactured and shipped to its industrial sites in Volgodonsk, Petrozavodsk and St Petersburg 75% of the metallurgical blanks - weighing over 650 tonnes - which will be used for the manufacture of key equipment including the reactor vessel and main circulation pipelines.

Rosatom said AEM-Spetsstal "provides all the key operations of this stage: steelmaking, forging and pressing, heat treatment and mechanical processing. The blanks undergo several levels of careful control of the conformity of the metal properties with the specified parameters, determining the required level of reliability and safety of the equipment for the manufacture of which they will be used".

Another part of the same Rosatom division, Petrozavodskmash, has begun welding pipes for the main circulation pipeline for unit 1, which will ultimately weigh 276 tonnes.

Meanwhile, Amged El-Wakeel, chairman of Egypt's Nuclear Power Plants Authority (NPPA), said that on 2 July, the crane known as the 'giant winch' had arrived on site. It has a maximum height of 156 metres and is capable of lifting up to 2000 tonnes. It arrived at Alexandria port by sea and was then transported in parts to the El Dabaa site to be installed.

A day earlier the core catcher for unit 3 had arrived by sea at El Dabaa from Russia. The three main parts for the reactor core trap had a total weight of 480 tonnes. El-Wakeel said that the new crane's first key job will be hoisting the reactor core catcher for unit 3 in place, which could happen in October.

The 6.1-metre diameter core catcher is a key part of the passive safety system for the VVER-1200 reactor - its function is that "in case of an emergency, it securely retains the fragments of the molten core and prevents the discharge beyond the reactor building containment".

Under the 2017 contracts, Rosatom will not only build the plant, but will also supply Russian nuclear fuel for its entire life cycle. It will also assist Egyptian partners in training personnel and plant maintenance for the first 10 years of its operation. Rosatom is also contracted to build a special storage facility and supply containers for storing used nuclear fuel. Construction of the nuclear power plant began in July 2022.

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Dominion Energy Virginia has issued a request for proposals from leading nuclear companies to study the feasibility of putting a small modular reactor at its North Anna nuclear power plant.

While the utility says it is not a commitment to build an SMR at the site, the RFP is “an important first step in evaluating the technology and the North Anna site to support Dominion Energy customers’ future energy needs consistent with the company’s most recent Integrated Resource Plan.”

The company also announced last week that it intends to seek rider recovery of SMR development costs in a filing with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) this fall under state legislation passed earlier this year. The legislation contains cost caps limiting current SMR development cost recovery to no more than $1.40 per month for a typical residential customer.

A closer look: Senate Bill 454, which went into effect July 1, allows Dominion to recover up to 80 percent of its costs to develop an SMR facility through a special rate adjustment clause, also known as a “rider.” The legislation is active through 2029.

The rider fees are subject to approval by the Virginia SCC. Dominion officials have said they expect the initial request for cost recovery to be below the $1.40 per month limit.

Quotable: “For over 50 years nuclear power has been the most reliable workhorse of Virginia’s electric fleet, generating 40 percent of our power and with zero carbon emissions,” said Robert M. Blue, chief executive of Dominion Energy. “As Virginia’s need for reliable and clean power grows, SMRs could play a pivotal role in an ‘all-of-the-above’ approach to our energy future. Along with offshore wind, solar, and battery storage, SMRs have the potential to be an important part of Virginia’s growing clean energy mix.”

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin said, “The Commonwealth's potential to unleash and foster a rich energy economy is limitless. To meet the power demands of the future, it is imperative we continue to explore emerging technologies that will provide Virginians access to the reliable, affordable, and clean energy they deserve. . . . Small nuclear reactors will play a critical role in harnessing this potential and positioning Virginia to be a leading nuclear innovation hub.”

Diverse mix: Dominion serves about 2.7 million customers in Virginia. It has been erecting solar farms and is installing a massive windfarm off the coast of Virginia Beach.

A 2020 state law set a target for 100 percent of Virginia’s electricity to come from carbon-free sources by 2050. Youngkin said it’s important to embrace new technologies for power generation.

“We can’t build enough wind,” Youngkin said. “We can’t build enough solar in order to power the Virginia of the future. We need all of the above.”

Across the industry: While no SMRs are yet operating in the United States, numerous proposals are in the works. TerraPower, backed by billionaire Bill Gates, broke ground in June on a planned advanced reactor site in Wyoming, though the unit still needs license approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. TerraPower’s proposed Natrium plant would produce 345 MW using a sodium-cooled reactor paired with molten salt–based energy storage.

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Oklo Inc. has announced that it has completed the first end-to-end demonstration of its advanced fuel recycling process as part of an ongoing $5 million project in collaboration with Argonne and Idaho National Laboratories. Oklo’s goal: scaling up its fuel recycling capabilities to deploy a commercial-scale recycling facility that would increase advanced reactor fuel supplies and enhance fuel cost effectiveness for its planned sodium fast reactors.

ARPA-E support: Oklo was awarded cost-share funding from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) under the Optimizing Nuclear Waste and Advanced Reactor Disposal Systems (ONWARDS) program in March 2022 for Enabling the Near-Term Commercialization of an Electrorefining Facility to Close the Metal Fuel Cycle. Work began in July 2022 and is scheduled to continue until October 2025.

“We know that recycling is an important path to reduce high-level waste and advance nuclear energy with safe and sustainable domestic fuel stocks,” said ARPA-E director Evelyn N. Wang. “Through ARPA-E’s ONWARDS program, Oklo is working to achieve these goals. This milestone marks an important step forward in the team’s progress as they work towards economically viable nuclear fuel recycling.”

The technology: According to ARPA-E, Oklo’s planned commercial facility would “produce fuel for Oklo’s metal-fueled fast reactors, closing the advanced reactor fuel cycle and changing the economic paradigm for advanced fission with a commercial-scale fuel recycling facility.”

Oklo’s ARPA-E project was designed to optimize four key functions of fuel production in an electrorefining facility: (1) electrorefining to recover uranium and U/transuranic alloys, (2) salt/metal product separation, (3) lanthanide waste drawdown, and (4) active metal waste removal by fractional crystallization. Electrorefining is a key process in a suite of nuclear fuel cycle research and development activities that goes by different names, including pyroprocessing and recycling.

The benefits: Oklo says its recycling technology can extract over 90 percent of the remaining potential energy from used fuel while incorporating proliferation-resistant features, including maintaining the consolidation of transuranic materials.

The company expects commercial fuel recycling to help the company save up to 80 percent on fuel costs for Oklo’s sodium fast reactors and reduce the volume of high-level waste requiring permanent disposal.

“We recognize the inherent opportunity to enhance our mission through fuel recycling, converting used fuel into clean energy,” said Jacob DeWitte, cofounder and chief executive officer of Oklo. “Oklo’s use of fast fission technology positions us well to realize these fuel recycling benefits. The success of this project brings us closer to bringing a commercial-scale domestic fuel recycling facility on line, crucial for strengthening our business model and advancing economic viability.”

Power moves: Oklo received a site use permit from the Department of Energy to demonstrate its reactor technology at INL and was awarded high-assay low-enriched uranium fuel material, also from INL. According to Oklo, the company “is actively engaged with the [Nuclear Regulatory Commission] as it prepares to submit an application within 12 months.” Oklo previously submitted an application in March 2020 that was denied without prejudice in January 2022.

Two senators oppose reprocessing: U.S. senators Jeff Merkley (D., Ore.) and Edward J. Markey (D., Mass.) of the Congressional Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control Working Group sent a letter to energy secretary Jennifer Granholm and NRC chair Christopher Hanson on July 17 expressing "deep alarm about public reports that the Department of Energy is considering funding proposals to support building commercial nuclear fuel reprocessing plants in the United States.”

“The U.S. government must take concrete steps to prevent the construction of reprocessing plants that have been proposed or any similar facility,” the senators wrote, claiming that “the reprocessing of plutonium that would be undertaken at these plants would create security and proliferation risks that far outweigh any ostensible energy benefits. . . . Furthermore, such projects would be vulnerable to attacks by nefarious actors who seek to exploit the infrastructure and nuclear fuel at these plants to threaten U.S. nationals and interests.”

[-] [email protected] 0 points 9 hours ago

Did not expect this to go to any other company but a Russian one tbh.

submitted 9 hours ago by [email protected] to c/[email protected]

Source: https://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Transfer-of-exploration-licence-for-Niger-uranium

USA-based African Discovery Group (AFDG) has signed a letter of intent to acquire the uranium exploration licence for the Ouricha-3 deposit in Niger from Central Global Access International Niger (CGAIN). Meanwhile, GoviEX plans to seek damages for the withdrawal of its mining rights to the Madaouela deposit.

As part of the transaction, AFDG is expected to issue shares to CGAIN - an international company operating in several sectors and industries - and the existing operating team. The transaction is expected to result in the existing AFDG shareholders retaining majority ownership of the company. The government of the Republic of Niger is expected "to retain a working interest in the operations of the Niger licence after cost recovery".

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2024, subject to shareholder approval, customary due diligence and documentation.

Delaware-based AFDG, which is dedicated to the development of the African continent, said it expects to change its name to African Uranium in conjunction with the closing. The company intends to hire a Chief Executive Officer with extensive geological experience in uranium exploration in West Africa, with the existing exploration team expected to retain their current roles.

AFDG said the transaction would create a uranium exploration company "with a focus on creating value around Africa's under explored basins of uranium. After close of the transaction, AFDG will dedicate itself to uranium exploration going forward on the African continent. By working in concert with the government of Niger, African Uranium will create local skills to develop the highly promising nuclear industry on the continent".

"We are highly enthusiastic to move forward in such a paradigm-changing venture for our company and our shareholders," said AFDG Chairman Alan Kessler.

Ouricha-3 is located within the northern Agadez region of Niger. It is 35 km northwest of Global Atomic's Dasa project, Africa's highest grade uranium deposit, and 20 km south of Orano's Imouraren uranium mine, one of world's largest uranium reserves. The deposit straddles the Arlit fault, a key structure for uranium mineralisation at Imouraren and the mines in Arlit.

Historic exploration on and around Ouricha-3 began was started in 1977 by France's Cogema. More than two-thirds of the Ouricha-3 permit is located in the Afouday perimeter, which was the subject of exploration by Areva in 2006.

GoviEx contests Madaouela decision

In July last year, a coup d'état occurred in Niger, during which the country's presidential guard removed and detained president Mohamed Bazoum. Subsequently, General Abdourahamane Tchiani, the Commander of the Presidential Guard, proclaimed himself the leader of the country.

Since then, Nigerien authorities have withdrawn the operating permit for Orano's Imouraren uranium mine, which was issued to its subsidiary Imouraren SA in 2009. Also, Canada's GoviEx Uranium has recently had its mining rights to the Madaouela deposit withdrawn.

In a 17 July letter to stakeholders, GoviEx Uranium Executive Chairman Govind Friedland said the withdrawal of its mining rights for Madaouela is "especially perplexing". Any future developers would effectively need to "start from scratch", he said.

"The necessity to conduct a new drilling campaign, environmental assessments, social studies, metallurgical test work, etc - tasks into which we have already invested millions - will inevitably lead to significant project delays," Friedland said. "Such delays are contrary to the government's stated objectives for rapid development and economic progress in the region."

According to GoviEx, the decision to withdraw its mining rights did not follow the withdrawal procedure prescribed under the applicable mining code. "We are fully prepared to pursue all necessary legal avenues to defend our rights and protect our investments and have formally written to the Ministry of Mines to contest the decision and to initially seek an amicable solution as per Niger's Mining Convention," Friedland said. "We are starting the process to secure independent assessments of damages related to the withdrawal of our mining rights."

The company said it now intends to concentrate on the development of its Muntanga uranium project in Zambia, which it has been working to develop since 2016. The project, it said, has "massive potential, poised to become a cornerstone of our company".

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US-based BWX Technologies has signed a cooperation agreement with the state of Wyoming as it evaluates locations for a potential new Triso nuclear fuel production facility to support anticipated future demand for advanced reactor deployment.

The Virginia company said its Advanced Technologies subsidiary had signed the agreement to evaluate the requirements for siting a fuel fabrication facility in the state.

BWXT has already signed an agreement with the Wyoming Energy Authority to assess the viability of deploying small-scale nuclear reactors in the state.

Bill Gates’s reactor company TerraPower recently broke ground on its first Natrium advanced nuclear plant in Wyoming.

BWXT said it will evaluate such matters as potential factory locations, facility design, estimated capital expenditures and operating costs, staffing, supply chain and licensing.

The company said it is evaluating the manufacture of Triso fuel in support of the emerging advanced reactor market.

Triso – or “tristructural-isotropic” – fuel particles contain a spherical kernel of enriched uranium oxycarbide surrounded by layers of carbon and silicon carbide, which contains fission products.

Establishing A Baseline For Triso Fuel Facilities

“This new effort will help establish the baseline for facilities necessary to meet anticipated demand for this specialised nuclear fuel and includes establishing the scale necessary for economic viability,” a statement said.

The US Department of Energy describes Triso fuel as “the most robust nuclear fuel on Earth” because of its ability to withstand high temperatures, resist corrosion and act as its own containment system.

BWXT said Triso is an ideal fuel source for advanced reactor designs requiring different fuel configurations and enrichments than are common to conventional large reactors connected to the grid today.

Earlier this year, BWXT announced plans for an expansion of its Cambridge manufacturing plant aimed at supporting growing demand for small modular reactors, traditional large-scale nuclear reactors and advanced reactor technologies both domestically and globally.

The Cambridge plant is one of the largest nuclear equipment manufacturing facilities in North America.

In 2022 BWXT announced the “landmark” production of Triso nuclear fuel that will power the Project Pele microreactor. Project Pele, backed by the Department of Defense, aims to design a microreactor capable of being transported in standard-sized shipping containers.

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Construction has begun of Unit 2 at the Xudabu nuclear power station, bringing the number of plants under construction in China to 26.

China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and state media said the first batch of concrete had been poured for the nuclear island of Unit 2 at Xudabu, in Liaoning Province, bordering North Korea in northeastern China, marking the official start of construction of the unit.

Xudabu-2 will be a 1,250 MW CAP1000 reactor, the Chinese version of the Westinghouse AP1000 pressurised water reactor unit. Construction of an identical unit, Xudabu-1, began in November 2023.

There are already two Russia-supplied VVER-1200 PWR units under construction at Xudabu, also written in English as Xudabao and Xudapu.* Those units are Xudabu-3 and -4.

The Xudabu project was originally expected to comprise of six CAP1000 plants, with Units 1 and 2 in the first phase. Site preparation began in November 2010, but plans changed with the construction of two VVER-1200 reactors for Units 3 and 4.

Two further CAP1000 reactors are planned for Units 5 and 6.

The construction of Xudabu-1 and -2 was approved by China’s State Council in July 2023.

The Xudabao nuclear station is owned by Liaoning Nuclear Power Company, in which CNNC holds a 70% stake with Datang International Power Generation Co holding 20% and State Development and Investment Corporation owning 10%. The general contractor is China Nuclear Power Engineering Company, a subsidiary of CNNC.

According to recent US Energy Information Administration analysis, China has added more than 34 GW of nuclear power capacity in the past 10 years, nearly tripling its nuclear capacity. Its 26 plants under construction are more than any other country.

China now has 56 commercial reactors in operation, the same number as France and second only to the US, which has 94. However, the nuclear share in the three countries differs widely. The nuclear share of total electricity production in the US is about 18%, while in China it is about 5% and in France about 62% – the highest in the world.

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The Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) announced $40 million in funding to develop cutting-edge technologies to enable the transmutation of used nuclear fuel into less-radioactive substances. According to ARPA-E, the new initiative addresses one of the agency’s core goals as outlined by Congress: to provide transformative solutions to improve the management, cleanup, and disposal of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel.

“Safe, clean nuclear power will play a critical role in helping the United States and the world reduce and eliminate energy-related emissions,” said ARPA-E director Evelyn N. Wang. “Transmutation could shorten the timeline for UNF disposal by thousands of years, which represents a transformational solution for generations to come.”

NEWTON: The funding opportunity announcement is part of ARPA-E’s Nuclear Energy Waste Transmutation Optimized Now (NEWTON) program, which seeks to develop technologies that enable transmutation, the process of an isotope being converted to a different isotope or element through a nuclear reaction. NEWTON aims to enable the economic viability of transmutation at a scale that will significantly reduce the mass, volume, activity, and effective half-life of the existing stockpile of commercial UNF.

There are three key objectives of the program:

To develop technologies related to the generation and acceleration of particle beams that can initiate transmutation reactions.

To identify solutions related to modeling, designing, and fabricating target materials for transmutation of UNF; incorporating transmutable materials into a target; and processing transmuted material for waste or isolation.

To integrate the technologies developed in the first two categories into a techno-economic analysis and life-cycle assessment of a transmutation facility and maintain a materials and components database for transmutation facilities.

NEWTON continues ARPA-E’s work to develop ways to address spent fuel through its CURIE and ONWARDS programs, which focus on the recycling of UNF into fuel for advanced reactors.

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A new supercomputer named Bitterroot started operating in June at Idaho National Laboratory’s Collaborative Computing Center (C3) and is speeding up nuclear energy research by improving access to modeling and simulation tools. Bitterroot arrived at INL in March, and INL announced July 15 that it was open to users on June 18 after installation and an extensive program of testing.

Bitterroot joins other high-performance computing (HPC) resources at INL—including Sawtooth, C3’s flagship supercomputer—that can be accessed through the Department of Energy’s Nuclear Science User Facilities (NSUF) for nuclear energy–related research projects at no cost to the user. More than 1,300 researchers currently access HPC resources at the lab, according to the DOE, which celebrated the additional capacity from Bitterroot on July 15.

Bitterroot’s range: Bitterroot is a Dell-based CTS-2 that offers more than 43,000 processing cores with 3 petaflops of performance. Importantly, it is the first system supported by NSUF to offer high-bandwidth memory, and that will speed up computations in certain applications that previously have been slowed down by bandwidth limitations.

“NSUF’s flagship Sawtooth supercomputer is unable to keep with the high demand for high-priority, complex operations on its own,” the DOE said.

According to INL, Bitterroot’s memory “will improve performance for memory-bandwidth-limited applications like the Multiphysics Object Oriented Simulation Environment, better known as MOOSE, framework. MOOSE is the foundation for many of the tools that aid advanced nuclear research that support the existing reactor fleet as well as the development and eventual licensing of new designs.”

High-performance computing: “INL high performance computing is unique in that 80-90 percent of our computer cycles are dedicated to nuclear energy research,” said Matthew Anderson, manager of the High-Performance Computing group at INL. “Bitterroot brings us a new capability and additional capacity as we prepare for additional long-term investments in new computing resources.”

HPC allows engineers and scientists to model a wide variety of complex variables in advanced reactor materials and fuels before construction begins, such as how steel or concrete degrade over time and what byproducts build up in nuclear fuel. Supercomputers can support physical experiments by performing simulations to predict how materials will perform. Those predictions can be used to select the most promising experiments, which could reduce the time and cost required for technology development.

C3 was built in 2019 as a 67,000-square-foot facility equipped to host multiple supercomputers. In addition to Bitterroot, C3 is also home to Sawtooth (ranked the 37th fastest-performing supercomputer when it was installed in 2020) and INL’s other systems: Lemhi, Hoodoo, and Viz. In fiscal year 2023, the lab’s supercomputers provided users with 939 million core hours on more than 3.7 million jobs, according to INL.

Filling a gap: Bitterroot will be able to claim status as the NSUF’s newest supercomputer for just about one year. It will help bridge the gap in modeling and simulation needs while the NSUF works to bring its next flagship supercomputer—Teton—online in 2025.

Teton is anticipated to be three times as powerful as Sawtooth. Bitterroot and Sawtooth will continue operating after Teton comes online to help meet the high user demand from industry, national laboratories, and academia.

Bitterroot gets its name from an Idaho mountain range and continues INL’s tradition of naming its high-performance computers after Idaho landmarks. Sawtooth and Teton are also ranges in the Rocky Mountains.

More on the NSUF: The NSUF is the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy's only designated nuclear energy user facility. NSUF resources include test reactors, beamlines, post-irradiation examination, and HPC at university, national laboratory, and industry partner sites.

“Not every company in the nuclear industry has its own gamma irradiation facility or supercomputer, but we’re all working toward the same goal of deploying more carbon-free nuclear energy,” said NSUF director Brenden Heidrich. “You never know who will make the next breakthrough, and partnerships like NSUF are vital to help level the playing field.”

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Source: https://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/KHNP-selected-to-supply-new-Czech-nuclear-units

Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power has won the Czech government's contest for at least two new nuclear power units in the country, with its bid preferred to that from France's EDF.

The tender for new nuclear was originally for a binding offer for one new unit at Dukovany and non-binding offers for up to three more - another one at Dukovany and two at Temelín. But in February the Czech government announced it was changing the tender to binding offers for up to four new units, citing the cost savings per unit if they were not procured on a unit-by-unit basis. A third bidder, Westinghouse, did not go further in the process.

EDF was proposing its EPR1200 reactor, KHNP proposed its APR1000, with both companies stressing their agreements with Czech suppliers to localise work if selected as preferred bidder.

Czech Republic Prime Minister Petr Fiala announced the decision at a press conference, and posted a message on Facebook saying: "Contract negotiations will begin with the Korean company KHNP, which, based on the evaluation of experts, offered better conditions in most of the evaluated criteria, including the price."

The estimated cost of the new units

The evaluation was led by the team from Elektrárna Dukovany II with 206 evaluators and experts not only from EDUII, but also from the ČEZ Group and consulting companies, assessing the offers.

Overall, the documentation associated with the bids totalled approximately 200,000 pages of documents and the amount of time spent evaluating bids reached approximately 900 man-months. The contracting authority sent approximately 2700 questions to individual applicants and received answers to all of them.

The Czech government said the two bids were compared on a range of criteria including price per megawatt-hour produced. It said that if two units were contracted, the KHNP bid was for a cost of around CZK200 billion per unit (USD8.6 billion).

The winning bidder's reaction

In a statement issued to World Nuclear News following the announcement, KHNP's CEO Jooho Whang said: "I believe the primary reason the Czech government selected KHNP as the preferred bidder is because they recognised KHNP’s excellence in project management and construction capabilities, demonstrated by construction of 36 Korean nuclear reactors at home and abroad.

"Following KHNP’s successful project in the UAE, I expect that KHNP will play a pivotal role not only for Korea but globally in achieving energy security and carbon neutrality by constructing Korean nuclear reactors in the Czech Republic. A nuclear project involves long-term cooperation spanning approximately 100 years, covering construction through to operation. KHNP aims to solidify a 100-year friendship between the Czech Republic and Korea by constructing an APR1000 nuclear power plant. We will remain dedicated and exert our utmost efforts until the closing moments as we approach the upcoming negotiations with the project owner to ensure that the APR1000 reactor is built in the country."

What the Czech government has said

Fiala said: "Our goal was to come up with a solution that would be economically rational and ensure enough energy at an acceptable price. The offer of the Korean company KHNP meets these parameters. At the same time, it will bring a significant impetus to the development of the Czech economy thanks to the involvement of Czech industry to the extent of approximately 60%."

Minister of Industry and Trade Jozef Síkela said "it is clear that the preferred bidder offered a better price and more reliable guarantees of cost control, as well as the schedule of the entire project", adding "nuclear now provides us with more than a third of our electricity consumption, and in the future it should be around half. That is why its development is absolutely essential for us. At the same time, the variant of building two blocks in one location will ensure that many works will not have to be carried out twice, and will allow economies of scale to be used, thus leading to a significant reduction in costs. Specifically, about 20% per block. That's why we chose this option. It will be possible to decide on the possible use of the option for the construction of two more blocks, among other things, in connection with the development of the Czech energy industry."

CEO and Chairman of nuclear operator ČEZ, Daniel Beneš, said: "We have a clearly defined schedule, which provides for a fixed date for the start and completion of construction, and it is important for us that the selected contractor commits to it under the threat of sanctions. The offer of the preferred bidder was more satisfactory in this respect.'

The background

The Czech Republic currently gets about one-third of its electricity from the four VVER-440 units at Dukovany, which began operating between 1985 and 1987, and the two VVER-1000 units in operation at Temelín, which came into operation in 2000 and 2002.

What next?

The government has said its aim is for the contracts for the initial unit(s) to be finalised this year and signed by the end of March 2025. The target for test operation of the first new unit is 2036 with commercial operation in 2038.

Westinghouse 'reserves right to challenge decision'

Following the announcement Westinghouse issued a statement saying it reaffirmed its view that "KHNP is not authorised to use Westinghouse reactor technology... without Westinghouse’s agreement". It says KHNP has failed to comply with US export control rules, which it says require "authorisation from the US government before sharing technology beyond the agreed to Korea transfer" which is at the heart of on-going legal action in the USA involving the two companies. Westinghouse added that it "reserves its rights to challenge this in front of the relevant national and international jurisdictions".

submitted 1 day ago by [email protected] to c/[email protected]

Source: https://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Construction-starts-on-Xudabao-2

The first batch of concrete has been poured for the nuclear island of unit 2 at the Xudabao nuclear power plant in China's Liaoning Province, marking the official start of construction of the unit.

The construction of units 1 and 2 of the Xudabao (also known as Xudapu) plant was approved by China's State Council on 31 July last year.

On 6 November, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment announced that the National Nuclear Safety Administration had decided to issue a construction licence for Xudabao units 1 and 2, which will both feature 1250 MWe CAP1000 reactors - the Chinese version of the Westinghouse AP1000.

A ceremony was held on 15 November at the Xudabao site near Xingcheng City, Huludao, to mark the start of construction of unit 1.

The Xudabao project was originally expected to comprise six CAP1000 reactors, with units 1 and 2 in the first phase. Site preparation began in November 2010. The National Development and Reform Commission gave its approval for the project in January 2011. China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) noted that the total investment in units 1 and 2 exceeds CNY48 billion (USD6.6 billion).

However, with a change in plans, construction of two Russian-supplied VVER-1200 reactors as Xudabao units 3 and 4 began in July 2021 and May 2022, respectively.

"The Xudabao nuclear power plant has officially entered a new stage of comprehensive construction of two models and four units," CNNC said. "At present, the construction of the four units of the Xudabao nuclear power project is progressing in an orderly manner. Units 1 and 2 are scheduled to be put into operation and generate electricity in 2028 and 2029, respectively; units 3 and 4 have all entered the equipment installation stage, and all important milestone nodes have been achieved on schedule with high quality. They are scheduled to be put into operation and generate electricity in 2027 and 2028, respectively."

The Xudabao plant is owned by Liaoning Nuclear Power Company Ltd, in which CNNC holds a 70% stake with Datang International Power Generation Co holding 20% and State Development and Investment Corporation owning 10%. The general contractor is China Nuclear Power Engineering Company Ltd, a subsidiary of CNNC.

Two further CAP1000 reactors are proposed for units 5 and 6 at the Xudabao plant.

After all the six units of the plant are put into operation, they will provide more than 54 TWh of clean electricity every year, saving about 19.2 million tonnes of coal annually, and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by about 56.7 million tonnes annually, CNNC said.

With construction of Xudabao 2 under way, CNNC now has 12 reactors being built in China, with a combined generating capacity of 13.9 GWe.

submitted 2 days ago* (last edited 2 days ago) by [email protected] to c/[email protected]

Source: https://www.nucnet.org/news/world-s-first-mox-fuel-containing-minor-actinides-loaded-at-beloyarsk-4-7-2-2024

Russia has loaded what it claims are the world’s first fuel assemblies containing uranium-plutonium mixed oxide (MOX) fuel along with minor actinides into the Beloyarsk-4 BN-800 fast breeder reactor (FBR) near Yekaterinburg in central Russia.

Russia’s state nuclear operator Rosenergoatom said the fuel loading with the “innovative” assemblies is designed to confirm the possibility of industrial disposal of minor actinides.

Minor actinides are the most radiotoxic and long-lived components contained in used fuel. The possibility of eliminating them using fast neutron reactors will reduce the volume of radioactive waste from the entire infrastructure of the nuclear fuel cycle resulting from the operation of nuclear power plants, said Beloyarsk NPP director Ivan Sidorov.

Three experimental MOX assemblies containing the minor actinides americium-241 and neptunium-237 manufactured at Rosatom’s Mining & Chemical Combine (MCC) were loaded into the reactor core after approval by the regulator. State nuclear corporation Rosatom said the Federal Service for Ecological, Technological and Nuclear Supervision (Rostekhnadzor) had confirmed the safety of the assemblies.

In the BN-800 reactor, the assemblies will undergo experimental industrial operation during three cycles.

Beloyarsk-4 is an 820-MW FBR that began commercial operation in October 2016.

An FBR is designed to generate more fissile material than it consumes, allowing a significant increase in the amount of energy obtained from natural, depleted and recycled uranium.

The technology also enables plutonium and other actinides to be used and recycled, considerably reducing the amount of long-lived radioactive waste.

MOX fuel is manufactured from plutonium recovered from used reactor fuel, mixed with depleted uranium. It provides a means of using surplus weapons-grade plutonium for civilian energy generation. This eliminates the need for the storage of surplus plutonium, which needs to be secured against the risk of theft for use in nuclear weapons.

[-] [email protected] 5 points 2 weeks ago

Well, he knows about this community now! 🙂

[-] [email protected] 5 points 2 weeks ago

"Like, you have no idea what we’re talking about, but you’re very opinionated about it."

Thought that was an apt summary of your posts on Kyle.

[-] [email protected] 8 points 4 months ago* (last edited 4 months ago)

So, lessening our dependency on Russia and making the environmental footprint smaller in the process. Double win!

Mind that a 30% reduction comes on top of the already extremely low EDF lifecycle impact of just 3.7 grams of CO2eq per kWh. For comparison, globally nuclear energy stands lowest at 6.4 grams(figure 1, page 8).

[-] [email protected] 5 points 5 months ago

Of course I woke up to this being world news (reported by the Dutch NOS for example). So, I thought I'd share this one from a reputable source.

I've said it before: the decision by TEPCO to release this water over a period of 30 years, means it'll be a 30 year PR nightmare. This nothingburger 'news' is a good example.

[-] [email protected] 5 points 8 months ago

It cannot be overstated how important this deal is. ARENH was a deliberate attempt to kill nuclear and put EDF in tens of billions of debt. This finally puts EDF in the black again, long term, with options to build out their nuclear portfolio again.

Truly awesome news! 🥳

[-] [email protected] 6 points 9 months ago

That's exactly what they're talking about: huge datacenters powered by small nuclear reactors 🙂

[-] [email protected] 9 points 10 months ago

So, an undetectable rise in tritium. I do wonder which media is going to report on this, besides the nuclear ones.

I expect none. After all, "Fukushima water turned out to be basically just water" doesn't really get the clicks or sell the papers. Sad reality. For years people will be insisting "nuclear waste" was dumped here.

[-] [email protected] 8 points 11 months ago

Dat zou echt super nuttig zijn 🙂

[-] [email protected] 4 points 1 year ago

Als Limburger is dit echt extreem herkenbaar.

[-] [email protected] 10 points 1 year ago

Dit excuus was er natuurlijk ook gekomen zonder dat er een camera aan het draaien was.


[-] [email protected] 6 points 1 year ago

Yes, erg goede ontwikkeling, zoals ik gister al stelde op het Tweakers forum: Nu blijft de access dus altijd open, is het in eigen beheer en is het alvast (straks) compatibel met Threads. Slim!

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joined 1 year ago