• Nuclear threatsNuclear Threats Are Increasing – Here’s How the U.S. Should Prepare for a Nuclear Event

    By Cham Dallas

    On the 75th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, some may like to think the threat from nuclear weapons has receded. But there are clear signs of a growing nuclear arms race and that the U.S. is not very well-prepared for nuclear and radiological events. Despite the gloomy prospects of health outcomes of any large-scale nuclear event common in the minds of many, there are a number of concrete steps the U.S. and other countries can take to prepare. It’s our obligation to respond.

  • Nuclear accidentsTracking the Neural Network's Nuclear Clues

    Following the 2011 earthquake in Japan, a tsunami disabled the power supply and cooling in three Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant reactors. The reactors’ cores largely melted in the first 72 hours. The disaster helped inspire PNNL computational scientists looking for clues of future nuclear reactor mishaps by tracking radioactive iodine following a nuclear plant reactor breach.

  • Nuclear wasteReducing Radioactive Waste in Dismantle Nuclear Facilities

    On Monday, France announced it was shutting down the country’s oldest nuclear reactor – and that additional twelve aging reactors will be dismantled by 2035. Scientists have designed a methodology for dismantling nuclear facilities while limiting the amount of toxic nuclear waste generated in the process.

  • Nuclear powerFrance Shuts Down Its Oldest Nuclear Plant

    France gets 70 percent of its energy from nuclear reactors – it has 56 of them (only the United States, with 98, has more). Most of France’s nuclear reactors were built in the late 1960s and 1970s, and they are reaching – and in some cases, have exceeded — the 40-year limit on the safe operation of reactors. On Monday, France took offline its oldest nuclear reactor, and it will shut down 12 more by 2035.

  • Energy securityMicroreactors for Resilient Power in Puerto Rico

    Puerto Rico is home to 3.2 million American citizens, with all the energy needs of a modern economy. Most of the territory’s power, however, is generated by facilities dating from the 1960s, which is nearly thirty years older on average than mainland U.S. power plants. To meet the island’s energy demand without the need for more fossil fuels, one promising candidate is the use of microreactors.

  • Nuclear powerDigital Twins of Nuclear Reactors Could Bring Down Nuclear Energy Costs

    Safe and more affordable nuclear energy is the goal of a new project which brings together researchers who specialize in nuclear energy technology and computer science. Among other things, the project will develop virtual copies of nuclear reactors, enabling smarter maintenance for current reactors and more automation for advanced reactors.

  • Iran’s nukesU.S. Ending Sanctions Waivers on Iran's Civilian Nuclear Program

    The United States has announced it will end sanctions waivers that allow Russian, Chinese, and European firms to carry out civilian nuclear cooperation with Iran, effectively scrapping the last remnants of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, a move dismissed by Tehran as “desperate.”

  • Iran’s nukesSnapback of Sanctions under the Terms of the Nuclear Deal Is Fully Justified Today

    By David Albright

    “If Iran today wants a serious discussion about sanctions relief, it should start by abandoning the key threat Tehran poses to international peace and security: its uranium enrichment program,” writes David Albright, a nuclear weapons expert and the president of the Institute for Science and International Security. “Instead, Iran holds its own people hostage over the deadly coronavirus outbreak in a cynical campaign for wholesale sanctions relief.” The willingness of Iran’s leadership to refuse epidemic aid and thus dramatically, and unnecessarily, increase the number of sick and dying Iranians; the willing of the leadership to intensify and deepen the severe economic deprivation and misery across the country – and do all that in order to grow an economically nonviable, menacing uranium enrichment program — “That alone should lead all to consider just what is the real purpose of Iran’s enrichment program,” Albright writes.

  • Nuclear powerAn Atomic Catch 22: Climate Change and the Decline of America's Nuclear Fleet

    By Eric Scheuch

    Nuclear energy in the United States has become deeply unprofitable in the last decade, driven by a combination of aging infrastructure and other electricity sources like renewables and natural gas simply becoming cheaper to build and operate. While some in the environmental community may cheer nuclear’s decline, others are concerned. Love it or hate it, nuclear plays a unique role in the American electric sector, one for which we currently have no market-ready replacement, and its decline will likely make other environmental issues, particularly climate change, harder to solve.

  • Nuclear disastersConsequences Remain Decades After Chernobyl Disaster: UN

    The United Nations says persistent and serious long-term consequences remain more than thirty years after the explosion and fire at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine. The world body is marking International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day on 26 April, the 34th anniversary of the accident that spread a radioactive cloud over large parts of Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia. The anniversary is being marked after fires recently burned in the 30-kilometer exclusion zone around the plant, raising concerns about the potential release of radioactive particles into the air.

  • Nuclear safetyMaintaining Nuclear Safety and Security During the COVID-19 Crisis

    By William Tobey, Simon Saradzhyan, and Nickolas Roth

    Every major industry on earth is struggling to adapt in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes nuclear facilities and nuclear-powered vessels, which count among the critical infrastructure of dozens of nations now struggling with the pandemic, representing more than half the world’s population. Meanwhile, ISIS has already announced its intent to exploit the pandemic while a number of other violent extremist organizations are also taking pains to exploit the crisis. Without implementing extraordinary measures to maintain safety and security, nuclear installations risk compounding the crisis with a large-scale radiation release.

  • Nuclear powerFusion Researchers Endorse Push for Pilot Power Plant in U.S.

    By Peter Dunn

    The growing sense of urgency around development of fusion technology for energy production in the United States got another boost this week with the release of a community consensus report by a diverse group of researchers from academia, government labs, and industry. High among its recommendations is development of a pilot fusion power plant, an ambitious goal that would be an important step toward an American fusion energy industry.

  • Nuclear clean-upNew Materials Could Help Clean-Up Chernobyl and Fukushima

    Engineers have developed materials that could be used to help decommission the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear power stations. The materials, created in collaboration with colleagues in Ukraine, simulate Lava-like Fuel Containing Materials (LFCMs) – hazardous substances left behind by a nuclear meltdown. The development paves the way for the safe analysis of hazardous materials left behind at Chernobyl and Fukushima.

  • Nuclear wasteMaterials Currently Used to Store Nuclear Waste Accelerate Corrosion

    The materials the United States and other countries plan to use to store high-level nuclear waste will likely degrade faster than anyone previously knew because of the way those materials interact, new research shows. The findings show that corrosion of nuclear waste storage materials accelerates because of changes in the chemistry of the nuclear waste solution, and because of the way the materials interact with one another.

  • Nuclear wasteGlaciers May Offer Safe Sites for Nuclear Waste Storage

    New insights into rates of bedrock erosion by glaciers around the world will help to identify better sites for the safe storage of nuclear waste. The findings of a new research overturn earlier research, showing that erosion rates do not increase with the speed of glacier flow as quickly as previously anticipated.