Following the 1986 disastrous accident at Chernobyl, gaining independence following the fall of the former Soviet Union, two revolutions, and on-going Russian intervention, Ukraine is seeking to expand its use of commercial nuclear energy and to further reduce its dependence on Russia for energy.
Electronuclear, which owns and operates Brazil’s nuclear power plants, is taking steps to implement the Brazil 10-year energy plan, which includes extending the Angra 1 operating license to 2044 and completing construction of Angra 3 by 2026.
USA Nuclear Awarded Contract with Entergy Services to Support Palisades Nuclear Power Plant Decommissioning Project
During the week of March 22, 2021, USA Nuclear performed an on-site assessment of Palisades Nuclear Power Plant to determine the process and tasks to be performed in security to decommission the site safely and successfully within a pre-defined plant shutdown schedule. A separate report was developed and provided to site leadership identifying USA Nuclear’s observations and recommendations. Steven D. Root, P.E. and Senior Nuclear Engineer Consultant at USA Nuclear, conducted the subject onsite security assessment.
The Institute of Nuclear Materials Management (INMM) is an international professional association for nuclear materials management professionals. One of its six technical divisions is the Nuclear Security and Physical Protection (NSPP) Technical Division. The INMM conducts an annual meeting where 400 – 600 technical papers are presented, usually around 100 in physical protection. In addition, INMM conducts numerous workshops every year, mentors students, produces a journal, and operates American National Standards Institute (ANS) standards committees.
There is considerable interest on the part of the U.S. Government to support the economic viability of emerging advanced reactor technologies. But for these reactors to be successful in domestic and international markets, the U.S. must reconsider regulatory requirements that were initially developed for the existing U.S. fleet of large light water reactors.
As chair of the Nuclear Security and Physical Protection (NSPP) technical division of the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management (INMM), USA Nuclear’s Joe Rivers conducts industry-leading technical workshops on risk-informing security. These workshops are meant to better prepare nuclear technology professionals to better protect nuclear infrastructure. Across the series, key conclusions have emerged.
Sandia National Laboratories, on behalf of the NNSA International Nuclear Security program, is creating a methodology that will allow advanced reactor (AR) developers to, in advance, assess the economic value of potential alterations of their designs to meet security requirements to send their technology overseas. Known as a “security-by-design economic tool,” in simple terms, it boils down to making up-front design changes that could increase capital costs played off against decreasing operational costs over the life of the plant. But, like all things nuclear, nothing is simple.
Commercial nuclear power plant operators are required to provide protection of their plants against radiological sabotage, including the identification of areas that contain equipment, systems, and components that must be protected to prevent malicious acts that could directly or indirectly endanger the public health and safety by causing exposure to radiation. This process – identifying areas that need to be protected against sabotage – is known as vital area identification. USA Nuclear is a recognized leader in this environment.
The US Must Take Steps NOW to Assure that Advanced Reactor Designs Slated for International Use Include Strong Security Protection
It is axiomatic that without growing future electricity demand, there is little incentive to add new generating facilities (regardless of technology). Absent an unpredicted major upsurge in electric vehicle market penetration, EIA tells us that electricity demand growth in the U.S. will remain virtually flat at least until 2050. U.S.-based advanced reactor suppliers will, of necessity, focus near-term marketing in other countries.
Leveraging Commercial Nuclear Security Experience and Technology using Security Risk Assessment (SRA) Tools
Commercial nuclear plants are safe and secure. Bill Gates said in 2012, “Nuclear energy, in terms of an overall safety record, is better than other energy,” and that is still valid today. A large contribution to the impressive safety records at nuclear plants is the strong security force and systems in place to prevent adversaries from causing radiological sabotage.