Nuclear power has contributed almost 20% of the total amount of electricity generated in the United States over the past two decades. High capacity factors and low operating costs make nuclear power plants (NPPs) some of the most economical power generators available. Further, nuclear power remains the single largest contributor (nearly 70%) of non-greenhouse gas-emitting electric power generation in the United States.
The Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy, Used Nuclear Fuel Disposition Research and Development Office (UFD), performs the critical mission of addressing the need for an integrated strategy that combines safe storage of spent nuclear fuel with expeditious progress toward siting and licensing a disposal facility or facilities. The UFD International Program plays a key role in this effort.
Irradiation is known to have a significant impact on the properties and performance of Zircaloy cladding and structural materials (material degradation processes, e.g., effects of hydriding). This UFD study examines the behavior and performance of unirradiated cladding and actual irradiated cladding through testing and simulation. Three capsules containing hydrogen-charged Zircaloy-4 cladding material have been placed in the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR). Irradiation of the capsules was conducted for post-irradiation examination (PIE) metallography.
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 irradiated condition, the fracture toughness of the RPV may be severely degraded, with the degree of toughness loss dependent on the radiation sensitivity of the materials. As stated in previous progress reports, the available embrittlement predictive models, e.g.
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.
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.
Your $50,000/year fellowship award will be administered through your designated university or college.
The Nuclear Energy University Programs (NEUP) fellowship stipend is currently $30,000 for a twelve-month tenure period, prorated monthly at $3,000 for shorter periods as approved by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy (DOE-NE). The cost of education allowance is $19,000 per tenure year and is to be used by the affiliated institution to cover the costs of educating the Fellow.
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 purpose of ring compression testing is to generate data to support the development of the technical basis for extended storage and transportation of high-burnup fuel. This report highlights the results of completed Phase I testing of high-burnup M5® cladding and the revised three-year test plan. The goal of the ring compression testing is to identify process conditions that would minimize radial-hydride formation and the corresponding DBTT of high-burnup fuel cladding and to generate data and models to support the development of the technical basis for extended storage and transportation of high-burnup fuel.
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.
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.