• Nuclear WasteNew Treatment Technology Could Reduce Nuclear Waste Burden

    Researchers have developed a novel treatment technology that may help to significantly reduce the burden of nuclear waste. This breakthrough could therefore significantly speed up disposal of such material and reduce the overall cost of dealing with our legacy waste.

  • Radiation detectionRedesigning Radiation Monitors at U.S. Ports of Entry

    Every day at ports of entry around the country, hundreds of thousands of vehicles and containers cross into the country. Since 9/11, all incoming vehicles and containers at land crossings, rail crossings, mail facilities, and shipping terminals are scanned by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers to detect potential threats, including radiation. The time has come to replace and upgrade the aging radiation detection systems.

  • Nuclear wasteFuture Solutions for Spent Nuclear Fuel

    Nuclear technology has been used in the United States for decades for national defense, research and development, and carbon-free electric power generation. Nuclear power is a key element of the U.S. response to climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, nuclear energy, as an essential form of electricity production, generates radioactive waste in the form of spent nuclear fuel. Spent nuclear fuel must be handled, stored, and ultimately disposed of in a manner that won’t harm the environment.

  • Radiation detectionRadSecure 100 Radiological Security Initiative Launched in 100 U.S. Cities

    The RadSecure 100 Initiative focuses on removing radioactive material from facilities where feasible and improving security at the remaining facilities located in 100 metropolitan areas throughout the United States. Partnerships with local medical facilities, industrial firms, and law enforcement will be key to the project.

  • Nuclear safetyExtending Nuclear Power Accident Code for Advanced Reactor Designs

    Nuclear power is a significant source of steady carbon-neutral electricity, making the design and construction of new and next-generation nuclear reactors critical for achieving the U.S.’s green energy goals. A number of new nuclear reactor designs, such as small modular reactors and non-light water reactors, have been developed over the past 10 to 15 years.Sandia Lab researchers have been expanding their severe accident modeling computer code, called Melcor, to work with different reactor geometries, fuel types and coolant systems.

  • Radiation detectionGPS-Carrying Rat Snakes Monitor Radiation at Fukushima

    Scientists found a new way to keep track of radiation level at the Fukushima Exclusion Zone: rat snakes, which are common in Japan. The snakes’ limited movement and close contact with contaminated soil are key factors in their ability to reflect the varying levels of contamination in the zone.

  • Nuclear wasteStudying Spent-Fuel Canister to Support Long-Term Storage

    Nuclear waste is stored in more than sixty dry-cask storage sites in thirty-four states. These facilities store the majority of the more than 90,000 metric tons of nuclear waste in the United States, including nearly 80,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel.

  • Iran’s nukesIran's Uranium Metal Production Concerns U.S.

    Report issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna to member nations noted inspectors have confirmed Iran produced 200 grams of uranium metal enriched up to 20 percent. Uranium metal can be used to build the core of a nuclear bomb.

  • Nuclear forensicsInternational Nuclear Forensics Group Examines Nuclear Security Challenges

    The Nuclear Forensics International Technical Working Group (ITWG) was established in 1995 when nuclear materials were being smuggled out of the former Soviet Union and into Europe. Last month the ITWG held its annual meeting virtually.

  • Nuclear powerA First: 3D Printed Nuclear Reactor Components Now Installed at a Nuclear Plant

    3D-printed fuel assembly brackets have been installed and are now under routine operating conditions at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant Unit 2 in Athens, Alabama.

  • Nuclear powerInvestigating Materials for Safe, Secure Nuclear Power

    By Steve Nadis

    A longstanding interest in radiation’s effects on metals has drawn Michael Short into new areas such as nuclear security and microreactors.

  • Nuclear powerThe U.S. Army Tried Portable Nuclear Power at Remote Bases 60 Years Ago – It Didn’t Go Well

    By Paul Bierman

    The U.S. military’s Camp Century was a series of tunnels built into the Greenland ice sheet and used for both military research and scientific projects. The military boasted that the nuclear reactor there, known as the PM-2A, needed just 44 pounds of uranium to replace a million or more gallons of diesel fuel. Heat from the reactor ran lights and equipment and allowed the 200 or so men at the camp as many hot showers as they wanted in that brutally cold environment. The PM-2A was the third child in a family of eight Army reactors, several of them experiments in portable nuclear power.

  • Nuclear powerImproving the Safety of Next-Generation Reactors

    On 11 March 2011, in response to a massive earthquake, the nuclear reactors at Fukushima-Daiichi automatically shut down, as designed. The emergency systems, which would have helped maintain the necessary cooling of the core, were destroyed by the subsequent tsunami. Because the reactor could no longer cool itself, the core overheated, resulting in a severe nuclear meltdown. Since then, reactors have improved exponentially in terms of safety, sustainability and efficiency. Unlike the light-water reactors at Fukushima, which had liquid coolant and uranium fuel, the current generation of reactors has a variety of coolant options, including molten-salt mixtures, supercritical water and even gases like helium.

  • Nuclear threatsU.S. Should Make Monitoring and Detecting Nuclear Threats a Higher National Priority

    To address current and evolving nuclear threats, the U.S. needs a higher prioritized and more integrated program for monitoring, detecting, and verifying nuclear test explosions, nuclear weapon stockpiles, and the production of fissile material, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences.

  • Iran’s nukesIran Says 60 Percent Enrichment “Under Way” at Natanz Site

    Iranian officials say the country has begun enriching uranium up to 60 percent purity, higher than it has ever done before, despite ongoing talks between Tehran and world powers to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. Under the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran had committed to keep enrichment to 3.67 percent. Recently it has been enriching up to 20 percent, saying the deal was no longer enforceable. Enriching uranium to 60 percent would be the highest level achieved by Iran’s nuclear program, it is still short of the 90 percent purity needed for military use.