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A design concept for a nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) reactor to power future astronaut missions to Mars has exceeded key performance parameters and optimised the reactor for manufacturability, General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) has announced. The reactor's features include a compact core thanks to the use of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) fuel.

Date: Friday, 18 September 2020
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New fuel type is seen as crucial for next generation reactors US energy secretary Dan Brouillette . Courtesy DOE. The US Department of Energy is working to end US reliance on Russia for nuclear fuel and plans to begin processing US uranium into high-grade fuel at a DOE facility in Portsmouth, Ohio, as early as next year, energy secretary Dan Brouillette told members of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy.

The “high-assay low-enriched uranium”, or Haleu fuel, is particularly important for new and smaller commercial reactors that the DOE considers critical to grid stability as renewables replace aging fossil fuel power plants, Mr Brouillette said.

He told lawmakers the DOE has moved centrifuges from its Oak Ridge laboratories to a mothballed uranium processing plant built in the 1950s at Portsmouth, Ohio, and expects to begin processing to produce Haleu next year.

In addition, the DOE is working on legislation authorising the creation of a uranium reserve.

Date: Friday, 24 July 2020
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Lead test assemblies of accident-tolerant fuel (ATF) installed in unit 1 of Southern Nuclear's Edwin I Hatch nuclear power plant in early 2018 have completed a 24-month fuel cycle. A sample of the lead test rods will now undergo testing.

Date: Thursday, 27 February 2020
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Global Nuclear Fuel (GNF) accident-tolerant fuel assemblies have been loaded into a US reactor for the first time. Lead test assemblies using the company's ARMOR-coated zirconium cladding and IronClad accident-tolerant fuel solutions have been installed at Exelon's Clinton boiling water reactor power plant in Illinois.

Date: Thursday, 16 January 2020
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US-based Westinghouse Electric Company announced on 18 January that it had been awarded $93.6 million of funding from the US Department of Energy (DOE) in support of its EnCore accident-tolerant fuel programme.

Date: Thursday, 24 January 2019
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US nuclear reactor startup Transatomic Power announced on 25 September that it is shutting down operations, after deciding that it can see no viable path to bringing its molten salt reactor designs to scale. However, it still wants its technology to play a role in the future of advanced nuclear reactors. Transatomic’s CEO and co-founder Leslie Dewan, noted: “We haven’t been able to scale up the company rapidly enough to build our reactor in a reasonable timeframe. It is therefore with a heavy heart that I must announce that Transatomic is suspending operations.” He added that the company will be “open-sourcing our intellectual property, making it available for any researchers — private, public or nonprofit — who want to continue the work we’ve started.”

Date: Tuesday, 02 October 2018
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New accident tolerant fuel (ATF) developed by France’s Framatome is being tested at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), the US Office of Nuclear Energy (ONE) announced on 15 June. The fuel was recently installed for testing at INL’s Advanced Test Reactor (ATR). This is the second experiment currently in progress in the ATR that is being developed through the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) accident tolerant fuel programme. Earlier this year, General Electric (GE) installed ATF fuel cladding at the commercial Edwin I. Hatch NPP in Georgia. ATF has advanced cladding and fuel pellet designs that increase its safety and performance. The program was developed in 2012 after the Fukushima accident to bring new advanced fuel concepts to market by 2025.

Date: Friday, 22 June 2018
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The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected 13 projects to receive USD60 million of cost-shared R&D funding for advanced nuclear technologies, including the first awards under the US Industry Opportunities for Advanced Nuclear Technology Development initiative. Recipients include NuScale Power's small modular reactor, which has become the first SMR to complete the first phase of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) design certification process.

Date: Tuesday, 01 May 2018
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The Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with X-energy to assess the US company's small modular reactor (SMR). They will look at the potential deployment of X-energy's Xe-100 high temperature gas-cooled pebble bed modular reactor in Jordan.

Date: Wednesday, 29 November 2017
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US President Barack Obama wants to scrap the Department of Energy's project at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina that was designed to take plutonium no longer needed for nuclear weapons and turn it into fuel for commercial nuclear reactors.

Date: Wednesday, 10 February 2016
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