• Nuclear storageStrengthening Nuclear Storage Research

    Today, nuclear power utilities store over 80,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel across the nation. Since the fuel will remain in dry storage longer than was expected, scientists are working to better understand exactly how the fuel behaves under extended storage conditions, how the canisters age, and the forces the two would undergo when shipped and stored for long periods.

  • Nuclear wasteRetaining Knowledge of Nuclear Waste Management

    Sandia National Laboratories have begun their second year of a project to capture important, hard-to-explain nuclear waste management knowledge from retirement-age employees to help new employees get up to speed faster. The project has experts share their experience with and knowledge of storage, transportation, and disposal with next generation scientists.

  • Nuclear heatRevolutionary Nuclear Heating Plant

    By Luboš Palata

    A team of scientists has come up with a radical solution to heat cities using spent nuclear rods, which they say is cost-effective and greener than natural gas. As the EU moves away from coal, many are interested.

  • Fukushima: Ten years onThe Lessons and Legacy of the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

    A decade after a powerful earthquake and tsunami set off the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown in Japan, Stanford experts discuss revelations about radiation from the disaster, advances in earthquake science related to the event and how its devastating impact has influenced strategies for tsunami defense and local warning systems.

  • Nuclear powerHow Fukushima Triggered Germany's Nuclear Phaseout

    By Christoph Hasselbach

    The Fukushima disaster shook the belief in safe nuclear power to its core. For Germany, it marked a historic turning point for environmentalism.

  • Fukushima: Ten years onFukushima: Ten Years On from the Disaster, Was Japan’s Response Right?

    By William Nuttall and Philip Thomas

    How should a government react when confronted by clear evidence of radioactive material being released into the environment? We set out to determine how best to respond to a severe nuclear accident using a science-led approach. Could we, by examining the evidence, come up with better policy prescriptions than the emerging playbook deployed in Ukraine and Japan? Together with colleagues, we used research methods from statistics, meteorology, reactor physics, radiation science and economics and arrived at a surprising conclusion.

  • Fukushima: Ten years onThe Fukushima Disaster Didn’t Scare the World Off Nuclear Power

    By Lindsay Maizland

    Ten years ago, three nuclear reactors melted down at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan, producing the worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.The disaster, caused by an earthquake-triggered tsunami, pushed Japan and a few other countries to rethink their use of nuclear energy. But elsewhere, it didn’t spur major changes. Instead, experts say, climate change could force a major reckoning with how the world uses nuclear power.

  • Fukushima: Ten years onRadiation Knows No Bounds—but Builds Strong Bonds Between Two Communities

    PNNL’s detection prowess harkens back to early studies at Hanford, a former plutonium production site near the laboratory. This work gave rise to PNNL’s expertise in radiochemistry, nuclear physics, and the ability to sense, measure, and identify radioactivity at increasingly lower levels. PNNL’s scientific studies during Hanford operations also built expertise in predicting how contaminants would move in the environment and in estimating radiation releases and exposures.

  • Fukushima: Ten years onTen Years after Fukushima, Safety Is Still Nuclear Power’s Greatest Challenge

    By Kiyoshi Kurokawa and Najmedin Meshkati

    Ten years ago, on March 11, 2011, a tsunami destroyed the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station and released radioactive materials over a large area. The accident triggered widespread evacuations, large economic losses and the eventual shutdown of all nuclear power plants in Japan. A decade later, the nuclear industry has yet to fully address safety concerns that Fukushima exposed. This is worrying, because Fukushima was a man-made accident, triggered by natural hazards, that could and should have been avoided.

  • Nuclear powerWant Cheaper Nuclear Energy? Turn the Design Process into a Game

    By Kim Martineau

    Nuclear energy provides more carbon-free electricity in the United States than solar and wind combined, making it a key player in the fight against climate change. But the U.S. nuclear fleet is aging, and operators are under pressure to streamline their operations to compete with coal- and gas-fired plants. Researchers show that deep reinforcement learning can be used to design more efficient nuclear reactors.

  • Nuclear safetyNuclear Waste Storage Canisters to Be Tested

    Three 22.5-ton, 16.5-feet-long stainless-steel storage canisters, with heaters and instrumentation to simulate nuclear waste so researchers can study their durability, will be tested at Sandia National Lab. The three canisters have never contained any nuclear materials. They will be used to study how much salt gathers on canisters over time. Sandia will also study the potential for cracks caused by salt- and stress-induced corrosion with additional canisters that will be delivered during the next stage of the project.

  • Nuclear fuelNovel Chemical Process a First Step to Making Nuclear Fuel with Fire

    Uranium dioxide, a radioactive actinide oxide, is the most widely used nuclear fuel in today’s nuclear power plants. A new “combustion synthesis” process recently established for lanthanide metals—non-radioactive and positioned one row above actinides on the periodic table—could be a guide for the production of safe, sustainable nuclear fuels.

  • Nuclear securityStudents of Nuclear Security Have a Problem. Here’s How to Help Them.

    Radioactive materials are attractive targets to thieves and other bad actors. These are rare finds, valuable on the black market and relatively easy to weaponize. New security professionals rarely learn practical skills for protecting these targets until they are on the job at nuclear power plants, research reactors, processing plants and other nuclear facilities.

  • Nuclear powerStudy Identifies Reasons for Soaring Nuclear Plant Cost Overruns in the U.S.

    By David L. Chandler

    Analysis points to ways engineering strategies could be reimagined to minimize delays and other unanticipated expenses. Many analysts believe nuclear power will play an essential part in reducing global emissions of greenhouse gases, and finding ways to curb these rising costs could be an important step toward encouraging the construction of new plants.

  • Nuclear powerPutting Nuclear Reactors in Space

    A new agreement hopes to speed along a nuclear reactor technology that could be used to fuel deep-space exploration and possibly power human habitats on the Moon or Mars.