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A Billion Miles Under Nuclear Energy
Matt WaldAn exceptionally successful twenty-year nuclear-powered mission is about to enter its grand finale. The Cassini-Huygens mission will begin its final phase on April 26, when the Cassini probe now orbiting Saturn makes a course adjustment to swing through the 1,500-mile gap between the planet and its rings, an area not yet explored. Presuming it survives in that space without colliding with anything else orbiting Saturn, then this fall, it will dive a little deeper and plunge toward Saturn’s surface, where it will transmit data until it burns up in the planet’s atmosphere. A NASA video explains. The dramatic end is deliberate; it will eliminate the possibility that the probe could crash on a planet that could support any form of life that stowed away on the spacecraft. Cassini took seven years to get to Saturn, and then transmitted dramatic pictures of the rings. It confirmed an ocean of water on the moon Enceladus, raising the possibility of life there. It found new rings.

German firms apply data-driven reactor dismantling amid mounting closures
Decommissioning work on EnBW’s 840 MW Neckarwestheim-1 plant (GKN I) was set to start this month after the Baden-Wurttemberg environment ministry granted the German operator a dismantling permit February 3, EnBW said in a statement.Related Content: New reactor ownership models set to cut decommissioning costsUK uses multiple site data to save over 1 billion pounds on decomFrance's lower-cost decommissioning plan rests on Chooz A reactor learningsGermany upgrades technology to curb cost of fleet shutdownImage: Image Caption: ENBW has been granted permission to dismantle the Neckarwestheim-1 reactor and plans to shut Neckarwestheim-2 in 2022. (Image credit: ENBW)Channels: Decommisioning

NRC finalizes advanced reactor action plan to optimize tight resources
NuScale formally delivered a complete Design Certification Application (DCA) for its Light Water Reactor (LWR) design to the NRC in January, becoming the first SMR developer to enter the full licence review process.Related Content: Southern Nuclear eyes demo advanced reactor by 2025 as tests progressCanada set for first lead-cooled reactor by 2025 after $200mn funding boostTerrestrial Energy to unveil US SMR site, supplier plans in 2017NuScale files US’ first SMR license application as suppliers await tenderImage: Image Caption: The NRC wants to be capable of regulating advanced reactors by 2025. (Image credit: DoE)Channels: New BuildSmall Modular ReactorsSupply Chain

Southern Nuclear eyes demo advanced reactor by 2025 as tests progress
Alabama's Southern Nuclear is developing a multi-technology advanced reactor research and development (R&D) program, forging separate partnerships with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH), X-energy and TerraPower. In October, Southern Nuclear and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) announced a joint project to develop and license advanced reactors, including GEH's PRISM sodium-cooled fast reactor design.Related Content: Terrestrial Energy to unveil US SMR site, supplier plans in 2017NuScale files US’ first SMR license application as suppliers await tenderUS operator seeks swift SMR licensing to optimize low-carbon outputUS utilities join forces with SMR vendors to speed developmentImage: Image Caption: GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy's PRISM design is one of several technology types supported by Southern Nuclear.Channels: New BuildSmall Modular ReactorsSupply Chain

UK to re-tender 6-billion-pound decom contract; Trump's Cabinet starts waste repository push
UK to re-tender Magnox decom contract after scope deemed inaccurate The U.K.'s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has terminated its contract with Cavendish Fluor Partnership (CFP) for the management and decommissioning of 12 shutdown Magnox nuclear power sites, Energy Secretary Greg Clark said in a statement to Parliament March 27. The sites represent the U.K.'s first fleet of nuclear power plants and CFP was allocated the 14 year clean up contract following a 6.1 billion-pound ($7.6 billion) tender launched in 2012.Related Content: UK uses multiple site data to save over 1 billion pounds on decomGerman firms apply data-driven reactor dismantling amid mounting closures France's lower-cost decommissioning plan rests on Chooz A reactor learningsUS waste facility developer acts on local impact queries to avoid delaysImage: Image Caption: Magnox is removing fuel from reactors, cooling ponds and fuel stores and transferring it to Sellafield for reprocessing. (Image c

Holtec Applies for License for CIS Facility in New Mexico
Matt WaldStorage of used nuclear fuel today is safe and secure, but scattered. However, a consolidated “interim storage” facility appears likely in the next few years, where the material would cool slowly inside sealed casks while the government prepares a burial spot.Holtec International, one of the builders of those casks, will discuss later today its recent application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a license to build a “consolidated interim storage” facility on a 1,000-acre patch of land half-way between Hobbs and Carlsbad, New Mexico. The project aligns with key aspects of industry’s principles for the management of used fuel. One was the establishment of an interim facility so the casks would not have to be monitored and guarded in scores of different locations. The other was that the project have the support of its host community and state. In this case, the land was bought by two New Mexico counties, Eddy and Lea, with just this use in mind, and Holtec has w

Why Ex-Im Bank Board Nominations Will Turn the Page on a Dysfunctional Chapter in Washington
In our present era of political discord, could Washington agree to support an agency that creates thousands of American jobs by enabling U.S. companies of all sizes to compete in foreign markets? What if that agency generated nearly billions of dollars more in revenue than the cost of its operations and returned that money – $7 billion over the past two decades – to U.S. taxpayers? In fact, that agency, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank), was reauthorized by a large majority of Congress in 2015. To be sure, the matter was not without controversy. A bipartisan House coalition resorted to a rarely-used parliamentary maneuver in order to force a vote. But when Congress voted, Ex-Im Bank won a supermajority in the House and a large majority in the Senate.For almost two years, however, Ex-Im Bank has been unable to function fully because a single Senate committee chairman prevented the confirmation of nominees to its Board of Directors. Without a quorum on its Boa

Critical American Jobs: Vacancies President Trump and the Senate Need to Fill ASAP
When a new president takes office, there is always a lot on the White House’s plate. But recently 93 members of the House of Representatives sent President Trump a letter asking him to move one particular issue higher on the list: picking new members for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, so that body can resume its crucial work of overseeing energy infrastructure.The members of Congress are correct about that agency, known as FERC, but it is not the only part of government that is short-handed.FERC is supposed to have five members, but the number had dwindled to three, and recently one of the three quit, so FERC is not able to muster a quorum.FERC does many jobs. The one most important to the nuclear industry is oversight of the Independent System Operators, the non-profit companies that run the electricity markets and operate the electric grid over most of the country. Those markets have serious problems but, with FERC out of action, proposed reforms will have to wait. So wi

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