X-Energy introduced its company and first product to Virginia chapter of ANS

On Tuesday, October 27, three leaders from X-Energy spoke to the Virginia ANS chapter about their company and the Xe-100, the high temperature, pebble bed gas reactor power system that they are designing. During the presentation, meeting attendees learned that X-Energy is an early phase start-up with a total staff of a few dozen people,…

Several important nuclear energy developments from the Westinghouse press office

On October 28, 2015, Westinghouse issued a press release titled AP1000® RCP REACHES FULL QUALIFICATION confirming a rumor I heard during my visit to Knoxville last week. The release contained wonderful, sigh of relief, news indicating that the hard-working, under-the-gun engineers and technicians at Curtiss-Wright’s EMD division had achieved their task of building and successfully…

Atomic Show #246 – Carmen Bigles, Coqui Pharmaceuticals Update

In November 2014, I spoke with Carmen Bigles, the founder of Coqui Pharmaceuticals, a company that is preparing to build a $330 million medical isotope production facility near Gainesville, FL. Since that discussion 11 months ago, Coqui has made steady progress in completing their construction and operating license application to the NRC for a class…

GE-Hitachi and DTE announce additional ESBWR detailed design work

GE-Hitachi issued a press release on October 5 indicating that they will be working with DTE to determine the resource requirements and schedule for performing the detailed design work necessary to build an ESBWR (Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor) as Fermi Unit 3. Though DTE has not announced a decision to build the facility, it…

Licensing demonstration reactors in the United States

During the joint DOE-NRC workshop on advanced non-light water reactors held last week (Sep 1-2, 2015), John Adams of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation gave a presentation on reactor license classification terminology. It made me squirm in my chair with the desire to interrupt. Probably because he has read and…

Atomic Show #242 – Moltex Energy – Ian Scott and John Durham

Moltex Energy has developed a unique conceptual design for a molten salt reactor called the Stable Salt Reactor. In this design, the fuel salt is loaded into tubes that resemble the standard cladding tubes into which solid pellets are loaded in a conventional water cooled reactor. The tubes are arranged into assemblies that resemble the…

Reactor Coolant Pumps for AP1000 still a problem

This is a story that I really don’t want to tell, but bad news is like old fish. It doesn’t smell any better as it ages. All eight AP1000 construction projects are at risk “for want of a nail.” In this case the nail is a reactor coolant pump, the largest one in the world,…

Who said modular construction would save money on first of a kind units?

On July 27, 2015, the Wall St. Journal published an article written by Rebecca Smith titled Prefab Nuclear Plants Prove Just as Expensive. That piece has been widely shared and discussed on social media with more than 2700 shares on Facebook and more than 150 shares on Twitter as counted from the original article. I…

Will North Anna 3 be lead ESBWR?

There is a growing perception that the Nuclear Renaissance in the U.S. is dead, killed off forever by low natural gas prices. Some members of the American Nuclear Society (ANS) are not so sure. At the June 7 President’s Reception for the 2015 ANS annual meeting, there were several intriguing discussions about new projects that…

Moving nuclear energy discussions forward

On Wednesday, June 24 Bloomberg BNA (Bureau of National Affairs) conducted a morning meeting titled A Chain Reaction: The Role of Nuclear Energy in New England’s Energy Mix at the Westin Copley Place in Boston, MA. The timing was fortuitous for me, my wife and I were visiting family in Maine the weekend before the…