This Earth Day I want to take the opportunity to reflect on some of the ways the Office of Nuclear Energy has been working to innovate nuclear technologies, with the goals of supporting U.S. low-carbon energy objectives and protecting the planet from the harmful effects of global climate change.
Scroll through the photo gallery to see just a few of the ways the Energy Department is addressing climate change through technologies that cut carbon pollution, grow the economy and protect the planet.
Thirty years ago this month, two events happened that had profound and lasting impacts on energy and environmental issues in the U.S. and around the world. One overshadowed the other in public awareness, but both set the stage for a revolutionary approach to assuring nuclear safety.
Today, in downtown Chicago, the Department of Energy is hosting the first of eight public meetings around the country on the Department’s consent-based siting initiative for facilities needed to manage our nation’s nuclear waste. We hope to hear from the public, communities, states, Tribal governments, and others on what matters to them as the Department moves forward in developing a consent-based process for siting facilities to store, transport, and dispose of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste.
On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck Japan. It was one of the most powerful earthquakes on record, unleashing a tsunami that ravaged 430 miles of coastline, destroying communities, and killing nearly 16,000 people. The combined effects of the earthquake and tsunami overwhelmed on and offsite power systems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, leading to the meltdown of three reactors and the release of radioactive contaminants into the surrounding environment. Five years on, the decommissioning and clean-up at Fukushima remains in the early stages and will likely take decades to be completed. In the aftermath of this multi-unit accident, the global nuclear community has been reassessing certain safety assumptions about nuclear reactor plant design, operations and emergency actions, particularly with respect to extreme events that might occur.
To hasten the development of innovative technologies, the Office of Nuclear Energy’s (NE) FY17 budget request, announced today, focuses on further improving our infrastructure capabilities so that we can be more responsive to innovators who want us to establish a broader set of research, development and demonstration capabilities and to make those capabilities easier to access.
The 7th Workshop on Risk Informed Regulation and Safety Culture was one of a series of workshops designed by the Office of Nuclear Energy in concert with experts from the Idaho National Laboratory to assist China in developing a comprehensive, successful and efficient Risk-Informed Regulatory framework.