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Iran will retaliate against any country that carries out cyber attacks on its nuclear sites, the head of civilian defence said on 3 July, after a fire at its Natanz enrichment facility.

Date: Tuesday, 07 July 2020
Original article: neimagazine.com/news/newsincident-damages-building-at-irans-natanz-enrichment-facility-8011793

The US House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis has released a majority staff report “Solving the Climate Crisis: The Congressional Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy and a Healthy, Resilient, and Just America”.

Date: Tuesday, 07 July 2020
Original article: neimagazine.com/news/newsus-report-recognises-nuclear-as-zero-carbon-energy-source-8011952

The International Atomic Energy Agency said it has been informed by Iran about a fire in a building at the site of the Natanz uranium enrichment facility early on 2 July.

Iran told the IAEA that the fire was quickly extinguished and that there had been no nuclear material or other radioactive material in the building. Iran said the cause was not yet known, adding there were no injuries or radioactive contamination.

The Natanz site is under IAEA safeguards, including verification and monitoring under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, an agreement reached in Vienna in 2015, between Iran and the P5+1 (China, France, Russia, the UK, the US plus Germany).

The JCPOA was a far-reaching 25-year settlement that constrained Iran’s nuclear capacity in exchange for sanctions relief. Iran agreed to remove about two-thirds of Natanz’s centrifuges, limit uranium enrichment to 3.67%, and down-blend or sell most of its LEU stockpile. Iran is also required to provide the IAEA daily access to Natanz for continuous monitoring of enrichment activities and centrifuge production.

Date: Tuesday, 07 July 2020
Original article: nucnet.org/news/iaea-says-no-nuclear-or-radioactive-material-in-natanz-fire-7-1-2020

The World Nuclear Association (WNA) has released a new technical position paper on “The Enduring Value of Nuclear Energy Assets”.

Date: Saturday, 04 July 2020
Original article: neimagazine.com/news/newswna-releases-position-paper-on-long-term-operation-8007121

The slightly elevated levels of three different radioisotopes recently detected in northern Europe are probably related to a nuclear reactor which is either operating or undergoing maintenance, the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement on 3 July.

The recorded air concentrations of the particles were very low and posed no risk to human health and the environment, the statement said.

However, the IAEA also said the geographical origin of the release has not yet been determined.

Last week, Estonia, Finland and Sweden reported levels of ruthenium-103, caesium-134 and caesium-137 isotopes in the air which were higher than usual.

The IAEA, in an effort to help identify the possible origin of the radioisotopes, contacted counterparts in Europe and asked for information about whether they were detected in their countries, and if any event there may have been associated with the atmospheric release.

Date: Saturday, 04 July 2020
Original article: nucnet.org/news/elevated-radioisotope-levels-in-nordic-region-likely-linked-to-nuclear-reactor-7-5-2020

A cross-section of a Triso fuel pellet. Photo courtesy Idaho National Laboratory. Idaho National Laboratory has awarded the nuclear operations subsidiary of US-based BWX Technologies a contract to expand and upgrade its Triso nuclear fuel manufacturing line.

The $26m contract will expand BWXT’s Triso capacity for the manufacture of Triso fuel compacts and upgrade existing systems for delivering production-scale quantities of Triso fuel.

Triso refers to a specific design of uranium nuclear reactor fuel. Triso is a shortened form of the term Tristructural-Isotropic. Tristructural refers to the layers of coatings surrounding the uranium fuel, and isotropic to the coatings having uniform materials characteristics in all directions so that fission products are essentially retained.

BWXT said it is the only US company to manufacture irradiation-tested uranium oxycarbide Triso fuel using production-scale equipment. Its Triso production facility is licensed to produce this type of high assay low enriched uranium (Haleu) fuel, which is undergoing validation in a series of experiments at Idaho National Laboratory’s advanced test reactor under the Department of Energy’s advanced gas-cooled reactor programme.

Date: Saturday, 04 July 2020
Original article: nucnet.org/news/bwxt-wins-usd26m-contract-to-expand-and-upgrade-production-line-7-5-2020

US-based BWX Technologies (BWXT) announced on 1 July that its Nuclear Operations Group subsidiary has been awarded a competitively bid contract by the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) to expand and upgrade its TRIstructural-ISOtropic  (TRISO) nuclear fuel manufacturing line.

Date: Friday, 03 July 2020
Original article: neimagazine.com/news/newsbwxt-wins-contract-to-expand-triso-fuel-production-8006799

US-based  X-energy has teamed with Japan’s Nuclear Fuel Industries (NFI) to be the exclusive counterparty to supply fuel to the Japanese high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR).

Date: Friday, 03 July 2020
Original article: neimagazine.com/news/newsx-energy-to-supply-fuel-for-japans-htgr-8007077

Plan also calls for action on radwaste and development of SMRs The report called for Congress to to pursue a legislative solution to the nuclear waste problem. Plans for a deep geologic repository at Yucca Mountain (pictured) in Nevada have been shelved. The US Congress should establish a national clean energy standard that includes zero-emission carbon technologies like nuclear to achieve net-zero emissions in the electricity sector by no later than 2040, the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis said in a report released on 30 June.

The Climate Crisis Action Plan said the clean energy standard should maximise near-term emissions reductions. It should cover zero-emission technologies, including nuclear, wind, solar, energy storage, hydropower and fossil energy with carbon capture use and storage.

The clean energy standard would allow electricity generated from existing nuclear power plants to qualify for credits. The report noted, however, that nuclear power plants are not pollution-free. They generate radioactive waste that lasts for thousands of years and for which the US has not developed a permanent disposal solution.

“The primary challenge in siting a deep geologic nuclear waste repository, such as Yucca Mountain, is obtaining local consent,” the report said. It called for Congress to continue to pursue a legislative solution to the nuclear waste problem, which should include consent-based siting for any permanent repository for nuclear waste. The DOE should prioritise accepting high-level radioactive waste or spent nuclear fuel from decommissioned civilian nuclear power reactors in high population areas and high earthquake hazard areas.

Date: Friday, 03 July 2020
Original article: nucnet.org/news/climate-committee-urges-congress-to-set-clean-energy-standard-that-includes-nuclear-7-4-2020