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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
Original article: world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/GNF-accident-tolerant-fuel-loaded-into-US-reactor

US company to build a proposed medical isotope facility in Janesville, WI The US nuclear regulator has published in the Federal Register a notice of opportunity for submissions regarding a “first of a kind” application by Shine Medical Technologies to operate a proposed medical isotope production facility that does not require a nuclear reactor.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said submissions must be filed by 10 March 2020 by anyone who wishes to participate in the hearing process for the application.

Shine has proposed to construct and operate a facility in Janesville, Wisconsin for the production of the radioisotope molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) through the irradiation and processing of a uranyl sulfate solution. The company said this patented process replaces a nuclear reactor with a low-energy, accelerator-based neutron source. 

This source functions by colliding deuterium ions with tritium gas to cause fusion. The fusion reaction results in high energy neutrons and helium-4. In other words, the accelerator takes a radioactive by-product created by nuclear power plants (tritium) and turns it into the same clean, harmless gas used to make balloons float.

Date: Wednesday, 15 January 2020
Original article: nucnet.org/news/nrc-calls-for-submissions-on-first-of-a-kind-production-facility-1-2-2020

Company makes progress after initial accident-tolerant testing at Hatch nuclear plant in 2018 Clinton is a single boiling water reactor unit in Illinois. Photo courtesy Creative Commons. US-based Global Nuclear Fuel (GNF) announced it has loaded test fuel assemblies using its accident-tolerant technology at Exelon’s single-unit Clinton nuclear power station in Illinois.

GNF said the lead test assemblies used the ARMOR-coated zirconium cladding and three varieties of its IronClad technology. They are the first fuelled ferritic steel-based cladding assemblies to be installed in a commercial reactor.

GNF’s accident tolerant fuel assemblies are of two types: one uses an iron-chromium-aluminium fuel cladding material known as IronClad and the other – a coated zirconium fuel cladding known as ARMOR.

Date: Wednesday, 15 January 2020
Original article: nucnet.org/news/accident-tolerant-test-assemblies-loaded-at-clinton-plant-1-2-2020

The US Department of Energy has selected Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) in Upton, New York, as the site for a new research facility that it says will be a game-changing resource for the international nuclear physics community. The Electron Ion Collider (EIC) will be designed and constructed over 10 years and cost about USD1.6-2.6 billion.

Date: Tuesday, 14 January 2020
Original article: world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Brookhaven-selected-to-host-new-US-ion-collider

The US Department of Energy has selected Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) in Upton, New York, as the site for a new research facility that it says will be a game-changing resource for the international nuclear physics community. The Electron Ion Collider (EIC) will be designed and constructed over 10 years and cost about USD1.6-2.6 billion.

Date: Saturday, 11 January 2020
Original article: world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Brookhaven-selected-to-host-new-US-ion-collider

US-based BWX Technologies (BWXT) announced on 18 December that its TRISO nuclear fuel manufacturing restart activities are ahead of schedule. 

Date: Wednesday, 25 December 2019
Original article: neimagazine.com/news/newsbwxt-ahead-of-schedule-on-triso-fuel-restart-activities-7569740

Wilbur Ross: ‘If the US and Japan don’t lead this renaissance, then somebody else will.’ Photo courtesy US DOE. The US is working with allies like Japan to led the way in assuring the efficient licensing and construction of a new generation of inherently safe and economically viable reactors, commerce secretary Wilbur Ross told the Japan Roundtable Washington Conference.

Mr Ross said president Trump is committed to revitalising the industry and that nuclear “is and must remain an essential part of our energy mix long into the future”.

To achieve sustainable global development on a real scale, and to balance electrical demand when renewables are not available, then nuclear “must be a viable option”, he said. “If the US and Japan don’t lead this renaissance, then somebody else will.”

He said Japan would benefit greatly by having a fleet of new, inherently safe reactors. Nuclear dropped from 25% of Japan’s electrical output before the March 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi accident, to 3% in 2017, with growing dependence on coal, LNG, and oil for electrical generation.

“Both Japan and the US need a new nuclear capability as we become increasingly electrified, and replace old and inefficient electrical generating capacity,” Mr Ross said.

“So, too, does the world, as more people are buying more electronic gadgets, as the transportation sector shifts to electric vehicles and as the need for desalination grows.”

A memorandum of cooperation, signed in November 2018, to promote civil nuclear power development in both the US and Japan “builds on our desire to promote the global leadership of our nuclear industries”, Mr Ross said.

One of the highest priorities for the US Department of Energy is the versatile test reactor, a fast-neutron test reactor for which it hopes to have cost estimates by 2026.

The US wants to use the VTR to test and qualify the materials needed to develop advanced nuclear reactors.

A DOE official said earlier this year that the VTR will be a state-of-the-art science and technology lab for advanced nuclear energy. It will feature a sodium-cooled fast reactor that uses high energy neutrons to test and develop advanced reactor fuels and materials.

“If we don’t build this capability, US companies will have no choice but to rely on foreign countries like Russia and China to develop their technologies,” the official said.

“The DOE will now move forward with its conceptual design of the reactor, which could be completed as early as 2026 at the site of one our national labs.”

Date: Tuesday, 24 December 2019
Original article: nucnet.org/news/us-and-japan-must-lead-the-way-says-commerce-secretary-12-1-2019

The US Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has unveiled three new nuclear incident response aircraft. The King Air 350ER aircraft are equipped with specialised radiation detection systems and will be used to conduct measurements of air and ground contamination following a nuclear or radiological accident or incident, as well as conducting baseline surveys for normal levels of radiation in the environment in preparation for major public events.

Date: Tuesday, 24 December 2019
Original article: world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/New-aircraft-to-support-US-radiological-emergency

The Clinch River site in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it will issue an early site permit to the Tennessee Valley Authority for the Clinch River site in west Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where small modular nuclear reactors could eventually be built.

The early site permit closes several site-related issues, including many related to environmental impacts, for SMRs at the site, the NRC said.

The permit, which will be valid for up to 20 years, is expected to be issued in the next few days.

The permit does not authorise any construction activities regulated by the NRC. No reactor designs have been approved and the TVA board has not yet approved the building of nuclear reactors in Oak Ridge. TVA would need to apply separately for an NRC licence to build and operate a reactor at the Clinch River Nuclear Site.

Date: Thursday, 19 December 2019
Original article: nucnet.org/news/nrc-to-issue-early-site-permit-for-small-modular-reactors-12-3-2019