The Fuel Cycle subcommittee of NEAC met April 25-26 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The main topics of discussion were the Used Nuclear Fuel (UNF) disposal program, the System Study Program’s methodology that is to be used to set priorities for R&D on advanced fuel cycles, and the University Programs. In addition to these, we were briefed on the budget, but have no comments other than a hope for a good outcome and restrict ourselves to general advice until more is known.
The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy (DOE-NE), Office of Fuel Cycle Technology (OFCT) has established the Used Fuel Disposition Campaign (UFDC) to conduct the research and development (R&D) activities related to storage, transportation and disposal of used nuclear fuel (UNF) and high level nuclear waste (HLW). The Mission of the UFDC is
The mission of the Used Fuel Disposition (UFD) Campaign of the US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Nuclear Energy is to identify alternatives and conduct research and technology development to enable storage, transportation, and disposal of used fuel from existing and future nuclear fuel cycles. As part of this mission UFD is developing analysis capability and general experimental data related to geologic disposal options.
Learn more about the Nuclear Energy Enabling Technologies (NEET) program, which will develop crosscutting technologies that directly support and complement the Office of Nuclear Energy’s (NE) development of new and advanced reactor concepts and fuel cycle technologies.
Fiscal year (FY) 2011 marks the ten-year anniversary of the founding of the International Nuclear Energy Research Initiative, or I-NERI. Designed to foster international partnerships that address key issues affecting the future global use of nuclear energy, I-NERI is perhaps even more relevant today than at its establishment. In the face of increasing energy demands coupled with clean energy imperatives, we must clear the hurdles to expanding the role of nuclear power in our energy portfolio.
The reactor pressure vessel (RPV) in a light-water reactor (LWR) represents the first line of defense against a release of radiation in case of an accident. Thus, regulations, which govern the operation of commercial nuclear power plants, require conservative margins of fracture toughness, both during normal operation and under accident scenarios. In the unirradiated condition, the RPV has sufficient fracture toughness such that failure is implausible under any postulated condition, including pressurized thermal shock (PTS) in pressurized water reactors (PWR).
In 1999 the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) formed a special task force, called the TOPS Task Force, from the Nuclear Energy Research Advisory Committee (NERAC) to identify near- and long-term technical opportunities to further increase the proliferation resistance of global civilian nuclear power systems. Recommendations on specific areas of research were called for, as well as on areas where international collaboration could be most productive.
Energy and water are both essential to sustainable development and economic productivity. Ample supplies of water are essential to energy production, and water management is dependent on ample supplies of energy for water treatment and transportation. The critical nexus between energy and water has been recognized in a variety of recent studies, but the policy and regulatory machinery that this nexus depends on is not keeping up with the growing challenges.
Irradiation-assisted stress corrosion cracking is a key materials degradation issue in today’s nuclear power reactor fleet and affects critical structural components within the reactor core. The effects of increased exposure to irradiation, stress, and/or coolant can substantially increase susceptibility to stress-corrosion cracking of austenitic steels in high-temperature water environments. Despite 30 years of experience, the underlying mechanisms of Irradiation Assisted Stress Corrosion Cracking (IASCC) are unknown.
The Fuel Cycle Subcommittee (FCSC) of NEAC met in Washington, August 17- 19, 2010. DOE’s new science-based approach to all matters related to nuclear energy is being implemented. The general approach was outlined to NEAC in the briefing on the NE Roadmap. There are many new directions being considered, and this meeting of the FCSC was to brief the Subcommittee on new directions in nuclear energy that might go beyond our present 4.5% enriched LWRs.
The management of used nuclear fuel and nuclear waste is required for any country using nuclear energy. This includes the storage, transportation, and disposal of low and intermediate level waste (LILW), used nuclear fuel (UNF), and high level waste (HLW). The Used Fuel Disposition Campaign (UFDC), within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Nuclear Energy (NE), Office of Fuel Cycle Technology (FCT), is responsible for conducting research and development pertaining to the management of these materials in the U.S.
The International Nuclear Energy Research Initiative (I-NERI) is a research-oriented collaborative program that supports the advancement of nuclear science and technology in the United States and the world. Innovative research performed under the I-NERI umbrella addresses key issues affecting the future use of nuclear energy and its global deployment. The 2010 Nuclear Energy Research and Development Roadmap issued by the U.S.
The NEAC Facilities Subcommittee made a site visit to Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) on August 26, 2010. Subcommittee members included John Ahearne (Vice Chairman of NEAC and Facilities Subcommittee Chairman), Dana Christensen (ORNL), Thomas B. Cochran (Natural Resources Defense Council), Michael Corradini, (University of Wisconsin-Madison), and Andrew Klein (Oregon State University). Tansel Selekler (Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy) accompanied the Subcommittee.
The U.S. nuclear power industry continues to make pro- gress toward the construction of new nuclear power plants in the United States. Currently, 13 license applica- tions are under active review by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for up to 22 new reactors. The De- partment of Energy has awarded conditional commit- ments for loan guarantees to the partners in the Vogtle project and is negotiating terms for loan guarantees with several new nuclear projects.
The Idaho National Laboratory (INL) Ten-Year Site Plan for Fiscal Year 2014 outlines the vision, strategy, and progress toward delivering and sustaining world-leading capabilities needed for the core mission of the laboratory - nuclear energy research, development and demonstration (RD&D) and multi-program missions in energy security and national and homeland security.
The Nuclear Energy Advisory Committee, Facility Subcommittee visited the Idaho National Laboratory on 19-20 May 2010 to tour the nuclear infrastructure and to discuss the INL plans for facility modernization as a dimension of the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy’s (NE) mission. This was there mission.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP) project helps address the President’s goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing energy security. The NGNP project was formally established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005), designated as Public Law 109-58, 42 USC 16021, to demonstrate the generation of electricity and/or hydrogen with a high-temperature nuclear energy source. The project is being executed in collaboration with industry, DOE national laboratories, and U.S. universities. The U.S.