Nuclear power has safely, reliably, and economically contributed almost 20% of electrical generation in the United States over the past two decades. It remains the single largest contributor (more than 70%) of non-greenhouse-gas- emitting electric power generation in the United States.
Separations and Waste Forms (FC-1) – The separations and waste forms campaign develops the next generation of fuel cycle and waste management technologies that enable a sustainable fuel cycle, with minimal processing, waste generation, and potential for material diversion.
Fuel Cycle R&D (MS-FC) – Game-changing, innovative ideas will play an important role in developing revolutionary fuel cycle concepts of the future.
The Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future (BRC) was formed by the Secretary of Energy at the request of the President to conduct a comprehensive review of policies for managing the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle and recommend a new strategy. It was cochaired by Rep. Lee H. Hamilton and Gen. Brent Scowcroft. Other Commissioners were Mr. Mark H. Ayers, the Hon. Vicky A. Bailey, Dr. Albert Carnesale, Sen. Pete Domenici, Ms. Susan Eisenhower, Sen. Chuck Hagel, Mr. Jonathan Lash, Dr. Allison M. Macfarlane, Dr. Richard A. Meserve, Dr. Ernest J. Moniz, Dr. Per Peterson, Mr.
A strategy for the successful deployment of small modular reactors (SMRs) must consider what the goals of deployment would entail, the challenges to achieving these goals and the approach to overcome those challenges. This paper will attempt to offer a framework for addressing these important issues at the outset of the program. The deployment of SMRs will be realized by private power companies making the decision to purchase and operate SMRs from private vendors.
The Department of Energy has a policy that individuals with a conflict of interest cannot participate in the technical review of procurement proposals. This certification must be completed by individuals prior to their participation in the pre-application and/or proposal review processes.
The potential for SMR deployment will be largely determined by the economic value that these power plants would provide to interested power producers who would evaluate their prospects in relation to other options for generating electricity. To help better understand this proposition, DOE enlisted the Energy Policy Institute at Chicago in 2010 to conduct an economic analysis of SMRs based upon what is known today.
For the clean energy goal to be met, then, the non-carbon emitting sources must provide some 2900 TWhr. Hydropower is generally assumed to have reached a maximum of 250 TWhr, so if we assume renewables reach 650 TWhr, (double the EIA estimate) that leaves 2000 TWhr for nuclear power. If the Administration’s loan guarantee program for current large reactors is successful, then one might expect the large reactors to reach 1000 TWhr by 2035. This leaves some 1000 TWhr for SMR – that is a lot of electricity.
As the largest domestic source of low-carbon energy, nuclear power is making major contributions toward meeting our nation’s current and future energy demands. The United States must continue to ensure improvements and access to this technology so we can meet our economic, environmental and energy security goals. We rely on nuclear energy because it provides a consistent, reliable and stable source of base load electricity with an excellent safety record in the United States.
Nuclear power plants in the United States currently produce about 20 percent of the nation’s electricity. This nuclear-generated electricity is safe, clean and economical, and does not emit greenhouse gases. Continued and expanded reliance on nuclear energy is one key to meeting future demand for electricity in the U.S. and is called for in the National Energy Policy. Nevertheless, no new nuclear plants have been built in the U.S. in many years, and none are currently slated for construction.
A significant effort is being placed on silicon carbide ceramic matrix composite (SiC CMC) nuclear fuel cladding by Light Water Reactor Sustainability (LWRS) Advanced Light Water Reactor Nuclear Fuels Pathway. The intent of this work is to invest in a high-risk, high-reward technology that can be introduced in a relatively short time. The LWRS goal is to demonstrate successful advanced fuels technology that suitable for commercial development to support nuclear relicensing.
The most life-limiting structural component in light-water reactors (LWR) is the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) because replacement of the RPV is not considered a viable option at this time. LWR licenses are now being extended from 40y to 60y by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) with intentions to extend licenses to 80y and beyond. The RPV materials exhibit varying degrees of sensitivity to irradiation-induced embrittlement (decreased toughness) , as shown in Fig. 1.1, and extending operation from 40y to 80y implies a doubling of the neutron exposure for the RPV.
There are over 100 nuclear power plants operating in the U.S., which generate approximately 20% of the nation’s electricity. These plants range from 15 to 40 years old. Extending the service lives of the current fleet of nuclear power plants beyond 60 years is imperative to allow for the environmentally-sustainable energy infrastructure being developed and matured.
This report provides an update on the assessment of environmentally-assisted fatigue for light water reactor (LWR) extended service conditions. The report is a deliverable in FY11 under the work package for LWRS under the Advanced Reactor Concepts.
The FY10 activities for development of a nuclear concrete materials database to support the Light Water Reactor Sustainability Program are summarized. The database will be designed and constructed using the ORNL materials database infrastructure established for the Gen IV Materials Handbook to achieve cost reduction and development efficiency.
A Screening Method for Guiding R&D Decisions: Pilot Application to Screen Nuclear Fuel Cycle Options
The Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy (DOE-NE) invests in research and development (R&D) to ensure that the United States will maintain its domestic nuclear energy capability and scientific and technical leadership in the international community of nuclear power nations in the
Licensees of commercial nuclear power plants in the United States are expected to submit license renewal applications for the period of operation of 60 to 80 years which has also been referred to as long term operation (LTO). The greatest challenges to LTO are associated with degradation of passive components as active components are routinely maintained and repaired or placed through maintenance programs.
The Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy (DOE-NE) invests in research and development (R&D) to ensure that the United States will maintain its domestic nuclear energy capability and scientific and technical leadership in the international community of nuclear power nations in the years ahead. The 2010 Nuclear Energy Research and Development Roadmap presents a high-level vision and framework for R&D activities that are needed to keep the nuclear energy option viable in the near term and to expand its use in the decades ahead.
The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy (DOE-NE), Office of Fuel Cycle Technology, has established the Used Fuel Disposition Campaign (UFDC) to conduct the research and development activities related to storage, transportation, and disposal of used nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. The mission of the UFDC is to identify alternatives and conduct scientific research and technology development to enable storage, transportation, and disposal of used nuclear fuel (UNF) and wastes generated by existing and future nuclear fuel cycles.
The Risk-Informed Safety Margin Characterization (RISMC) pathway is a set of activities defined under the U.S. Department of Energy Light Water Reactor Sustainability Program. The overarching objective of RISMC is to support plant life-extension decision-making by providing a state-of-knowledge characterization of safety margins in key systems, structures, and components (SSCs).
The Department of Energy (DOE) sponsored a workshop on nuclear separations technologies in Bethesda, Maryland, on July 27 and 28, 2011, to (1) identify common needs and potential requirements in separations technologies and opportunities for program partnerships, and (2) evaluate the need for a DOE nuclear separations center of knowledge to improve cross- program collaboration in separations technology. The workshop supported Goal 3 of the DOE Strategic Plan1 to enhance nuclear security through defense, nonproliferation, and environmental management.
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 that 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).
The Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP) project was established under the Energy Policy Act in August 2005 (EPACT-2005). EPACT-2005 defined an overall plan and timetable for NGNP research, design, licensing, construction and operation by the end of FY 2021. At the time that EPACT-2005 was passed, it was envisioned that key aspects of the project included: