• The Resilience and Safety of Nuclear Power in the Face of Extreme Events

    As the prospect of extreme global events grows — from natural disasters and intensifying climate change-driven weather patterns that could affect a nuclear plant, to a rise in infectious diseases that could affect its workforce — nuclear power plants’ adaptable workforces and robust designs will be essential to staying resilient and contributing to a low carbon path to the future.

  • Ensuring Safe Nuclear Waste Disposal

    Disposal concepts call for the waste to be isolated a third of a mile belowground for safe storage, enclosed within engineered barrier systems and surrounded by subsurface rock. But there’s still the chance radionuclides might leak out if these systems lose their protective properties as it heats up due to radioactive decay. International nuclear waste disposal research effort evaluates maximum allowable temperature for buffer material.

  • Radioactive Contamination Is Creeping into Drinking Water Around the U.S.

    As mining, fracking and other activities increase the levels of harmful isotopes in water supplies, health advocates call for tighter controls.

  • Belgium to Shut Down All Existing Nuclear Power Plants

    The Belgian government has said all of the country’s existing nuclear energy plants will close by 2025. However, Belgium will invest in future nuclear technology.

  • Iran Can Produce One Nuclear Weapon in as Little as Three Weeks

    The growth of Iran’s stocks of near 20 and 60 percent enriched uranium has dangerously reduced breakout timelines: Iran has enough enriched uranium hexafluoride (UF6) in the form of near 20 and 60 percent enriched uranium to produce enough weapon-grade uranium (WGU), taken here as 25 kilograms (kg), for a single nuclear weapon in as little as three weeks. It could do so without using any of its stock of uranium enriched up to 5 percent as feedstock.

  • New 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.

  • Redesigning 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.

  • Future 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.

  • RadSecure 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.

  • Extending 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.

  • GPS-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.

  • Studying 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 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.

  • International 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.

  • A 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.