Four U.S. Senators, John Barrasso (R-WY), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Mike Crapo (R-ID), and Cory Booker (D- NJ) introduced bipartisan legislation to revitalize the United States’ nuclear infrastructure. S. 4897, the American Nuclear Infrastructure Act of 2020, will enable U.S. international leadership, preserve America’s nuclear fuel supply chain, reduce carbon emissions, and strengthen our economic, energy, and national security.
The American Nuclear Infrastructure Act of 2020 (ANIA) will:
- Reestablish American International Competitiveness and Global Leadership;
- ANIA empowers the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to lead in international forums to develop regulations for advanced nuclear reactor designs.
- ANIA provides the NRC authority to deny imports of Russian and Chinese nuclear fuel on national security grounds.
- Expand Nuclear Energy Through Advanced Nuclear Technologies;
- ANIA makes the permitting process for advanced nuclear more predictable and efficient.
- ANIA creates a prize to incentivize the successful deployment of next-generation nuclear reactor technologies.
- ANIA requires the NRC to identify and update regulatory barriers to enable advanced nuclear technologies to reduce industrial emissions.
- Preserve Existing Nuclear Energy.
- ANIA authorizes a targeted credit program to preserve nuclear reactors that could prematurely shut down.
- ANIA modernizes outdated rules that restrict investment in nuclear energy.
- Revitalize America’s Nuclear Supply Chain Infrastructure; and
- ANIA helps develop the advanced nuclear fuels needed to power 21st-century nuclear reactor designs.
- ANIA authorizes a uranium reserve to ensure America does not lose the capacity to fuel its nuclear reactors with American fuel.
- ANIA identifies modern manufacturing techniques to build nuclear reactors better, faster, cheaper, and smarter.
- Authorize funds for Environmental Cleanup Programs.
- ANIA authorizes funding to assist in cleaning up legacy abandoned mining sites on Tribal land.
Did you know that fewer than 10% of Americans can claim the title of “veteran”?
GTTSi is so proud that 80% of our employees can proudly say they are a VETERAN!
Today, less than 1% of the population is defending America, and although not all veterans will see war, all who serve are willing to give it all, if called upon to do so!
Historians say that Dwight Eisenhower was prouder of being a soldier than he was as President.
While relatively few veterans will ever reach the rank of general, pride in ones’ military service is a bond shared by nearly all who have served.
Veterans gave us our freedom, security, and the greatest nation on earth – so please take time on Veteran’s Day to remember them, thank them, and pray for those that are now serving, their families, and America.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved Southern Nuclear Company’s request to increase the capacity of the two Farley reactors by approximately 1.7 percent.
According to an NRC press release on October 21, NRC staff determined that Southern Nuclear could safely increase both reactors’ heat output, primarily through more accurate means of measuring feedwater flow. Southern Nuclear is also improving some plant systems not regulated by the NRC to more efficiently convert the increased reactor output to electricity.
The uprates will increase Unit 1’s generating capacity from approximately 910 MWe to 944 MWe, and Unit 2’s generating capacity from about 910 MWe to 953 MWe. The NRC said that Southern Nuclear intends to implement Farley-1’s uprate within 180 days of completing the reactor’s spring 2021 refueling outage and Farley-2’s uprate within 180 days of completing the reactor’s fall 2020 outage.
Farley Nuclear Plant is located in Columbia, Alabama and currently produces around 19% of Alabama Power’s electricity.
Warmest wishes for a Happy Birthday to Nick Ertle, Doug Shaw, Latia Gary, Colt Rauschuber, Mike Ward, Scotty Bradshaw, Duane Strickland, Larry Gentry, John Patterson, and Robert Robinson
We are so happy that you’re a part of our team! Happy Birthday and all the best to you in the year to come.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the selection of two U.S.-based teams to receive $160 million in initial funding under the Advanced Reactor Development Program (ADRP).
DOE is awarding TerraPower, LLC (Bellevue, WA) and X-energy (Rockville, MD) $80 million each in initial funding to build two advanced nuclear reactors that can be operational within seven years. The awards are cost-shared partnerships with the industry that will deliver two first-of-a-kind advanced reactors to be licensed for commercial operations. DOE will invest a total of $3.2 billion over seven years, subject to the availability of future appropriations, with industry partners providing matching funds.
Specifically, TerraPower will demonstrate the Natrium reactor, a sodium‐cooled fast reactor that leverages decades of development and design undertaken by TerraPower and its partner, GE‐Hitachi. X-energy will deliver a commercial four-unit nuclear power plant based on its Xe-100 reactor design. The Xe-100 is a high temperature gas-cooled reactor that is ideally suited to provide flexible electricity output as well as process heat for a wide range of industrial heat applications, such as desalination and hydrogen production.
Both projects incorporate a range of design features that will not only enhance safety, but make them affordable to construct and operate, paving the way for the United States to deploy highly competitive advanced reactors domestically and globally.
“DOE and U.S. industry are extremely well-equipped to develop and demonstrate nuclear reactors with the requisite sense of urgency, which is important not only to our economy, but to our environment, because nuclear energy is clean energy,” said Dr. Rita Baranwal, Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy.
A recent report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed that 9 of the 10 highest-generating power plants in the U.S. last year were nuclear. These top 10 power plants generated a combined 230 million MWh in 2019, according to the EIA. That total is nearly 6% of all U.S. electricity generation
The top 10 plants, from the highest generation down, are Palo Verde, Browns Ferry, Peach Bottom South Texas, Oconee, West County Energy Center, Susquehanna, Braidwood, Bryon, and Vogtle. The natural gas-fired West County project is the only non-nuclear plant in the ranking.
Palo Verde, Browns Ferry, and Oconee nuclear power plants have consistently been among the 10 largest generators of electricity in the United States because they are the only nuclear plants with three reactor units, which gives them more generating capacity. A plant’s refueling and maintenance schedules may also affect annual electric power generation capacity. For example, Comanche Peak was one of the top 10 highest-generating power plants in 2010 but was not one in 2019 because scheduled refueling and maintenance reduced plant availability in 2019
The capacity factors for the 9 nuclear power plants in the top 10 range from 89% (Browns Ferry) to 99% (Byron and Peach Bottom). The natural gas plant among the top 10 had a capacity factor of 65%.
Although, Exelon recently announced plans to shutdown Bryon and Dresden sometime in 2021. They plan to bring Byron-Unit 2 offline for a planned refueling outage. The 33-year-old nuclear plant will come offline early in October for 19 days of maintenance, refueling, and upgrades. During the refueling outage, they will employ 700 employees and approximately 1,200 additional contractors.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Byron Station (Units 1&2) has provided safe, reliable carbon-free electricity to more than 2 million homes and businesses in Northern Illinois, as well as, powering critically important hospitals, regional response centers, and essential businesses.
The station’s highly trained employees, coupled with skilled contractors from around the country, understand the critical role they play in ensuring a safe and successful refueling outage. Therefore, they plan to implement additional precautions to ensure they remain healthy during the pandemic, including rigorous self-screening for signs of fever or respiratory issues before reporting to work.
The refueling outage for Unit 2 will focus on refueling 1/3 of the reactor, equipment repairs, inspections, and preventive maintenance items. Due to the COVID-19 issues, Exelon reduced the scope of the outage and the workforce needed for the outage was reduced by 425. Crews will replace circulating water valves, buried piping, and digitally upgrade some of the main control room monitoring functions.
Byron-Unit 2 generates about 1,136 MW of carbon-free power at capacity and is licensed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for operation to 2046. Exelon announced their plan to shutdown the station based on PJM market rules.
Warmest wishes for a Happy Birthday to Bill Skinner, Sid Crouch, Fiona McAllister, Kyle Koiner, and Ken Scharf.
We are so happy that you’re a part of our team! Happy Birthday and all the best to you in the year to come.
U.S. Secretary of Energy, Dan Brouillette, (pictured above) recently announced an agreement had been reached between South Carolina and the federal government, namely the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), concluding a years-long standoff that finally resolves the litigation presented by S.C. Attorney General, Alan Wilson over the long-term storage of plutonium at the Savannah River Site.
S.C. Attorney General has continuously pursued (via lawsuit) compensation from the DOE for the plutonium that had not been removed, as was required in agreement with 50 USC Section 2566. This agreement required the DOE to remove 1 metric ton of plutonium from South Carolina by January 1, 2016, should the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication (MOX) Facility’s production objective not be met by that date (January 1, 2016), or pay a fine of $1 million per day, up to $100 million per year through 2021. The MOX Facility was never completed and DOE’s nuclear weapons agency, NNSA (National Nuclear Security Admin.), terminated the project in late 2018, after billions of dollars had been invested and over a decade of work. The plan to build the MOX facility was based on an agreement with Russia to process nuclear weapons grade plutonium (34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium) into fuel for use at our nuclear power plants.
Terms of the deal include DOE’s promise to remove 9.5 metric tons of plutonium from South Carolina by 2037, and an upfront $600 million payment from the Trump administration – the single largest legal settlement in the Palmetto State’s history.
Attorney General, Alan Wilson, emphasized that he and his team never wavered from their “long-term commitment to preventing South Carolina from becoming a dumping ground for nuclear waste” – a remark similar to the one employed by opponents of Yucca Mountain in Nevada.
Brouillette suggested that all the plans are not finalized, so how the plutonium will be removed and where it will go is not yet been established. However, he continued, that the material could be processed and sent to southeastern New Mexico for burial at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, an approach known as dilute-and-dispose, or it could be staged elsewhere at another Energy Department facility, or it could be utilized in a nuclear reactor.
Exactly what will be done with most of the $600 million is up to the General Assembly and Gov. Henry McMaster, but $75 million is supposedly earmarked for attorney fees, however, Governor McMaster has taken umbrage with the cost. Lawmakers associated with the 310-square-mile Savannah River Site have said a substantial amount of the settlement must come to their area and be applied locally – economic development initiatives, rural broadband buildout, and academics.