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Vogtle First to Implement New Voluntary Rule Allowing Improved Safety Focus
The following guest post comes from Victoria Anderson, senior project manager for risk assessment at NEI.Since the NRC published the Probabilistic Risk Assessment Policy Statement in 1995, both the industry and NRC have worked to use risk information to better focus implementation of regulations at our country’s nuclear reactors. Risk information has helped advance maintenance efforts, routine inspections and testing procedures to ensure that licensees direct resources to the equipment and practices that are most important to safe, reliable operation of their plants.In one such effort, in 2004, the NRC published a voluntary rule – 10 CFR 50.69, Risk-informed categorization and treatment of structures, systems and components for nuclear power reactors – that would allow licensees to refocus their equipment special treatment requirements on the structures, systems and components that are the most important to protecting the plant. Specifically, licensees implementing this voluntary

Chief Nuclear Officer, Passionate Communicator
I have the fortune of being able to meet and work with plenty of exceptional people in this industry. Randy Edington is one of them. As the executive vice president and chief nuclear officer for the largest nuclear energy facility in America, Edington travels domestically and internationally sharing his passion for our technology. He welcomes the opportunity to convince plant neighbors and nuclear opponents that Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station is a safe, clean and reliable source of power—not to mention the nation's largest source of power.Edington knows well the importance of communicating nuclear after logging 33 years in the commercial nuclear energy industry and serving in the U.S. Navy's nuclear submarine program prior to that. Last week, he shared a career's worth of lessons learned with the communications team at NEI. His presentation is truly remarkable and something to behold in person. I'll do my best to convey the highlights below. Shared Respon

Nuclear power to change shape in 2015
Précis:  As we embark on a new year, there are distinct challenges and opportunities on the horizon for the nuclear power industry. Many industry experts believe that technology like Small Nuclear Reactors (SMR) represent a strong future for nuclear. Yet, rapidly growing renewable energy sources, a bountiful and inexpensive supply of natural gas and oil, and the aging population of existing nuclear power plants represent challenges that the industry must address moving forward. As 2014 concludes, many nuclear operators are evaluating their plants to determine if they will apply for a second license renewal to extent plant life from 60 years to 80 years. Second license renewal Image:  Premium`:  No Image Caption:  Tina Taylor, Director

AEM company wins fuel fabrication contract for 'Proryv' project
SverdNIIkhimmash has won a RUB5.7 billion ($784 million) contract to design, manufacture and supply equipment for fuel module fabrication and the start-up of "minimum re-fabrication" of fuel for nuclear power plants. SverdNIIkhimmash is a subsidiary of Rosatom's engineering division Atomenergomash (AEM).The contract serves Rosatom's 'Proryv', or Breakthrough, project to enable a closed nuclear fuel cycle. The ultimate aim is to eliminate production of radioactive waste from nuclear power generation. Specifically, the contract serves the pilot demonstration reactor BREST-OD-300, which is to be built at the site of Siberian Chemical Combine (SCC), another Rosatom subsidiary, based in Tomsk. BREST-300 is a lead-cooled reactor system developed by the N A Dollezhal Research and Development Institute of Power Engineering (NIKIET).Construction of a facility for the production of fuel for SCC is "the first stage and a key element of" the Proryv project and is scheduled for completion in 2017,

Science should be “left to its own devices” over US nuclear waste
Précis:  Waste management has long been a thorn in the side of the nuclear energy industry in the United States, and it remains a debate that continues to linger on and on. Has political will rather than science been the root of the problem? Before going forward on the US nuclear waste debate, we must look at the political dynamics of the past two administrations. At the federal government level, the Blue Ribbon Commission on the future of nuclear energy in America was released in January 2012, outlining a three point strategy in how to deal with spent nuclear fuel. Image:  Premium`:  No read more

Rostov 3 gears up
The third reactor at Russia's Rostov nuclear power plant was brought to the minimum controlled power level yesterday, moving it a step closer to starting commercial operation.The loading of 163 fuel assemblies into the VVER-1000 pressurised water reactor was carried out between 14 and 19 November and hydrotesting of the primary and secondary reactor loops started on 25 November.Rosenergoatom, the Rosatom subsidiary that operates all of Russia's civil nuclear power plants, said last month in a statement that construction and commissioning of the unit is ahead of schedule. Rosenergoatom said earlier this year the unit was scheduled to enter commercial operation by the end of 2014. Hot testing of the unit was completed on 24 October and additional pre-start due diligence work was conducted until 31 October.Four 1000 MWe VVER pressurized water reactors have been planned at the Rostov site (formerly known as Volgodonsk) since the early 1980s. Construction of units 1 and 2 began promptly, bu

Russia and Armenia agree to unit 2 life extension
Russia and Armenia have signed an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in extending the operating life of unit 2 of Armenia's sole nuclear power plant.The VVER-440 unit - which operates at Metsamor, 30 km from the capital Yerevan - is due to be withdrawn from service in September 2016.The agreement was signed on 20 December by Rosatom director general Sergey Kirienko and Armenia's energy minister Yervand Zakharyan, Rosatom said yesterday. It will lead to the issuance of a licence to extend the service life of the unit by ten years, until September 2026.Rosatom specialists have conducted a preliminary examination of the unit and will produce a comprehensive report before the end of the first quarter of 2015, Rosatom said. Following that report, a training program will ensue. An application for the life extension licence will follow, in September 2016. Upgrade work at the unit is expected to be completed by 2019.The work is to be funded by a Russian state loan.Two model V-230 react

What Do Amazon's Drones and Advanced Nuclear Reactors Have in Common?
Dr. Leslie DewanLater this morning, the House Science Committee will hold a hearing on the "Future of Nuclear Energy". Click here to watch the hearing live on UStream at 10:00 a.m.Featured on the witness list is a name that our readers will be familiar with - Dr .Leslie Dewan of Transatomic Power. She was kind enough to pass along a copy of her testimony so we could preview it for you right now.We've gotten to know Dr. Dewan very well over the past year thanks to her role in NEI's Future of Energy campaign. Transatomic is developing a new reactor that's designed to burn used nuclear fuel. It's an incredibly promising new technology, but one that Dr. Dewan is concerned won't come to market first in the U.S. because of regulatory hurdles. It was just those sort of challenges that led the Bill Gates nuclear startup Terrapower to decide to build their first prototype in China:The commercial nuclear regulatory structure in the United States is currently set up only for l

SMR: Young entrepreneur is on path to make nuclear fusion a hot commodity
Précis:  Richard Dinan, a young and multi-sector entrepreneur explains how he hopes to create a prototype micro-fusion reactor through his start-up Applied Fusion Systems. Could big bang technology be the next big thing in clean energy? And could young enterprising entrepreneurs make nuclear cool again? When Richard Dinan, a UK entrepreneur best known for his appearances in a reality TV show Made in Chelsea, reported that he set up Applied Fusion Systems-the latest in a long list of entrepreneurial endeavours-business reporters were at the very least intrigued to learn more. Dinan has taken everything but the typical path to entering the fringes of the nuclear power sector and his first foray was in a very unexpected area, the wearable smart energy industry. Image:  Premium`:  No

Putin: Russia ready to build 'more than' 20 reactors in India
11 December 2014 - Russia is willing to help India build "more than" 20 new nuclear power units, Russian President Vladimir Putin said today following talks in Delhi with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.A package of intergovernmental and interdepartmental documents was signed on the sidelines of the visit, including on cooperation in the energy, medicine, investment and humanitarian areas."We have just signed a document of great significance – the strategic vision for strengthening Indian-Russian cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear power. It contains plans to build over 20 nuclear power units in India, as well as cooperation in building Russia-designed nuclear power stations in third countries, in the joint extraction of natural uranium, production of nuclear fuel and waste elimination. This will lay the foundation for our long-term mutually beneficial cooperation in the nuclear sector," Putin told reporters following the talks. World Nuclear News

NRC: “no backlog” for license renewal process
Précis:  In recent weeks the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) began approving license renewal applications for the first time in two years when it gave the green light to a license extension at the Limerick nuclear plant in Pennsylvania. We learn the latest on what was accomplished during this hiatus. The two-year hiatus was prompted in 2012, when the U.S. Appeals Court for the DC Circuit rejected NRC’s 2010 revision of the “Waste Confidence Rule.” That rule essentially made a generic finding regarding the environmental impacts of continued storage of spent fuel at reactor sites after the reactors shut down. The generic finding meant that NRC staff did not need to analyze that question in every licensing decision. Playing by the new rules Image:  Premium`:  No

Winter Fury, Meet Nuclear Reliability
Unless you live in Siberia, you probably don’t care much about when it snows there. But some meteorologists care, because it may act as a bellwether for how things will go in the rest of the northern hemisphere. And things are looking a little rough this season: About 14.1 million square kilometers of snow blanketed Siberia at the end of October, the second most in records going back to 1967, according to Rutgers University’s Global Snow Lab. Global Snow Lab? And their logo isn’t a snow globe!? Anyway, what does the snow in Siberia mean for us? Taken together they signal greater chances for frigid air to spill out of the Arctic into more temperate regions of North America, Europe and Asia, said Judah Cohen, director of seasonal forecasting at Atmospheric and Environmental Research in Lexington, Massachusetts, who developed the theory linking Siberian snow with winter weather. There’s been a tendency lately to pay more attention to the weather, likely because the

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