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PostPosted: Feb 10, 2016 8:49 am 
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I'll be posting some notes from this conference, held today and tomorrow at Oak Ridge National Lab.


Last edited by quincykaye on Feb 10, 2016 10:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Feb 10, 2016 9:24 am 
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John Kotek:

Budget request conversation, effort within DOE to respond to advanced nuclear community
Seen interest grow, how to respond to new ideas and help some project initiatives
Role of secretary of energy: raising understanding of nuclear's contribution to climate change community
Challenge of losing nuclear plants
SMRs are coming up more and more in conversations, Southern Co.'s interest in pairing with advanced nuclear concepts
Timely, affordable access, regulatory help needed for start-ups
Budget NRC is requesting appropriated funds, establishing a basis for non-LWR
Agreement among 20 countries to increase funding for R&D, "mission innovation"
Looking ahead to innovate--things we can do to for nuclear and climate commitments: working w/ industry to plan out the next 60 years, safety
Highlights one company who is seeking NRC application this year (NuScale)
Advanced reactor community is often venture-backed, needed access to capabilities within labs, getting assured access to these things
Investments in Advanced Test Reactor at INL to assure continued operation
More infrastructure investments at INL
DOE advanced reactor budget line is same as last year's request
Flat budget profile
Established GAIN initiative, $200K vouchers for access to DOE labs
Requests feedback from innovators to shape the GAIN program according to their needs
Should advanced reactors be organized around coolant types? Input desired.
Thanks to NIC, Third Way, and others that are raising visibility of advanced reactors, exciting time to be in DOE, Secretary Moniz sees nuclear playing a big role in reducing CO2 emissions

Question (Rod Adams): because some advanced reactors need a prototype site, could DOE sites under remediation be used to host advanced reactors?

Kotek: can't comment on that, doesn't control cleanup funds.


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PostPosted: Feb 10, 2016 10:04 am 
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Jeff Merrifield:

With the exception of "Atoms for Peace", high-profile turning moments in the nuclear industry come from negative events
Unfortunately, this obscures a hallmark achievement for the nation from nuclear energy
Here at ORNL, scientists turned "dirt" into vast amounts of energy
Americans benefit from safe, clean nuclear energy, 70% of clean energy
Most people support nuclear power and are aware of its significance
Old anti-nukes are dying off while the young are excited about the potential of advanced nuclear power
Soon Watts Bar 2 will come online
DOE announced X-energy and Southern Company for funding awards
Recent nuclear legislation introduced and passed, decades since something pro-nuclear passed with this level of support
Struck by enthusiasm for nuclear energy at recent Third Way meeting in DC
Encouraged by the number of technology developers in this room
We need to go big and we need to go bold
If we believe that global climate change in real we must put significantly more money on the table for new nuclear technology
Money that the federal govt spends on biomass and renewable: $15B
Comparable amount for nuclear is $1.66B
Must move beyond a program where one or two "winning" companies are funded by DOE
Need robust research and demonstration program
Current fee structure framework of NRC is a significant burden to the development of these technologies
NRC needs money off the fee-base to build understanding of advanced reactors
NRC needs a review that is risk-informed, timely, and recognize smaller source terms of these new concepts
NRC needs a program that allows improvement in half of the time of existing reactors
NRC cannot and should not promote advanced reactor designs, but should recognize a comparatively safe design and regulate appropriately
"A rising tide lifts all boats," advanced reactor developers risk the enthusiasm and support of the public by undercutting other designs
Advanced reactor community needs a clear and unified voice
Final thought, as a nuclear community, we cannot and should not be judged by the accomplishments of the past, must move forward to the future
Billions of people can have an improved standard of living from these technologies


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PostPosted: Feb 10, 2016 11:21 am 
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ARC-100 Advanced Reactor
"It's the economy, stupid," A phrase that should resonate with those of us in this room.
What are we really trying to innovate here? Staying relevant, that's what we have to talk about.
ARC-100 is a 100 MWe Sodium-cooled fast reactor
Discusses reasons why ARC-100 is competitive, simplicity (slide)
ARC-100: Fastest path, lowest risk path to deployment? Technology readiness (slide)
Secure: Robust core and fuel (slide)

Kirk Sorensen (my favorite)
Coming home to be in Oak Ridge
Possible nuclear fuel--thorium, reducing long-lived waste
Coolant choices for a nuclear reactor--salts shine, tremendous thermal capacity
slide of nuclear fuel assembly
easier to work with fluoride fuel-LiF-BeF2 fluoride salt is an excellent carrier for uranium nuclear fuel
Liquid fuels enhance safety options, safety plug, demonstrated right here at Oak Ridge, not theory
Flibe builds on the MSRE
Flibe just finished study-shows slides from study
250 MWe LFTR power conversion system
Flibe Energy's purpose: to develop LFTR and supply the world with affordable and sustainable energy, water, and fuel


Last edited by quincykaye on Feb 10, 2016 4:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Feb 10, 2016 11:56 am 
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Mike McGough:

NuScale: Blazing the Trail to Commercialization (slide), pleased to be recipient of DOE funding
Must have vision to bring a new design to market--must have time, lots of money, market (customer), government support, licensing, supply chain, people
warning:new fuels, non-LWRs, new materials will take longer
Southern slide: Why advanced reactors?
Southern slide: innovation needed
Southern slide: time
background of NuScale, spending more than $12 million a month, more than 600 people on project, multiple offices
What is a NuScale Power Module? includes the reactor vessel,steam generators, pressurizer and containment
Size comparison--smaller
Coolant flow driven by physics--natural circulation
Fuel--NuFuel HTP2 (trademark)
Site overview--35 acres, reactor building flanked by turbine buildings
Safety--systems needed to protect the core
Reduced core damage
More barriers between fuel and environment
Innovative advancements to reactor safety
NuScale testing programs: reactor qualification test plans, 13 years of test data


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PostPosted: Feb 10, 2016 1:07 pm 
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Walter Howes, Verdigris Capital LLC

Global competitive landscape of advanced reactors
Advanced reactors can exploit lull with ultra-cheap fossil fuels to get licensed
Reactor orders in North America and Europe are not sufficient to fuel a nuclear industry
Nuclear renaissance continues in Asia
Nuclear supply chain is globalized
Demand-side factors are driving nuclear strategies
US demand for nuclear weaves around like a drunken sailor, UK too
Most growth is happening in government-dominated economies like China, UAE, etc.
Future nuclear demand is Asian-dominated
SMR world-view has completely changed
Large reactor design and development, sovereign-driven
Small reactors, additional options
Caution about embracing the desalination market
Reactor development will happen amongst existing identified players
Opinion, French are out of the "game", Russia, who knows?


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PostPosted: Feb 10, 2016 1:28 pm 
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Cindy Pezze, Westinghouse:

Lead fast reactor, advanced reactor development
Integral design, pool type
Safety case would be "boring"
Reduced capital cost and simple and compact design
Reactor design is the product of a company self-assessment
Fully committed to develop and commercialize the lead fast reactor


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PostPosted: Feb 10, 2016 1:38 pm 
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Kevan Weaver, TerraPower:

US needs to play in global nuclear markets
TerraPower's investors are motivated by longer-term considerations
Worried about the billions who "burn stuff" just to survive
Curing malaria doesn't do much good if the standard of living isn't there to keep people healthy
Weaver was employee #4, now there are 128 employees
Proud to be part of the Southern Company team on chloride fast reactor
Most of team is working on travelling-wave fast reactor
1500 specimens being irradiated in BOR-60 fast reactor in Russia
More specimens rotating in and out of reactor until BOR-60 shuts down
Need a fast flux testing facility in the US to do testing
Commissioned 10,000 sq ft of lab space in Bellevue, Washington
High bay for testing of fuel handling machine
Areva built full-scale fast reactor assembly, 5 meters long, including welding and wire wrap
Doing flow testing with that full-scale assembly
Heat exchangers and steam generators
TerraPower very serious about what they want to do and where they want to be
Prototype planned for mid-2020s


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PostPosted: Feb 10, 2016 4:07 pm 
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Leslie Dewan, Transatomic: called away at literally the last minute to Boston

Eric Loewen, GE Hitachi:

PRISM demonstration reactor
All reactors will be hurt by the failure of any one reactor, used an analogy with cruise ships
PRISM technology has a 4-7 year lead because of regulations already completed

Question from Rod Adams: what prevents you from going forward? You're GE.

Loewen: a customer and a contract.


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PostPosted: Feb 11, 2016 8:34 am 
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Day two:

William Ostendorff, Nuclear Regulatory Commission:

Who interviewed with Rickover? A few hands raised.
Experiences with 10 CFR part 52 licensing
Ready to review small modular reactors and non-light-water reactors now
$5M support for licensing, off the fee basis
Was in Vietnam a few years ago talking with them about developing a licensing basis
Vietnam figured you could just buy licensing experience, you can't
He's seen the NRC staff doing their due diligence
Combined Operating Licenses issued (Vogtle 3 and 4, Summer 2 and 3, Fermi 3)
COL hearing in progress (South Texas 3 and 4)
COL under review (Levy, Lee, Turkey Point, [AP1000], North Anna [ESBWR])
Part 50 license issued to Watts Bar 2 in 2015
Small modular reactors (mPower, NuScale, Westinghouse SMR, Holtec SMR-160)
Lots of work with NuScale and before them B&W/mPower
Insuring fidelity and clarity of expectations in licensing
Design Specific Review Standards (DSRS) is a big deal
Looking at emergency planning zones, revising regulations
Can EPZ be shrunk for SMRs?
He thinks NRC is doing "reasonably well"
NRC experience with non-light-water reactors (Fermi 1, Peach Bottom 1, Ft St Vrain)
Staff does not believe there are any impediments to licensing non-light-water reactors
Preparation for non-LWR design licensing
DOE proposed General Design Criteria for non-LWRs
Stepwise review and approval of new designs
SHINE medical isotope reactor reviewed under 10 CFR part 50
NRC required by law to recover 90% of their expenses as fees
He feels the NRC is ready, anxious to receive your applications

Question (Rod Adams): you say you're ready to work, but how long and how much? How long and how much is very important to a commercial project.

Ostendorff: staff has been instructed to complete a high-quality applicant review in 39 months. Not sure about non-LWRs. Staff ready to sit down in pre-application meetings, first meeting is free.

Question (Andrew Sowder): can the 90% fee recovery requirement be rolled back?

Ostendorff: not aware of any efforts to do that.

Question (Sherrell Greene): are fluid fueled reactors a unique licensing concept?

Ostendorff: can't answer the question, not technically competent to answer the question.


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PostPosted: Feb 11, 2016 9:17 am 
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Christina Beck, General Atomics:

Development of silicon carbide materials for EM-squared concept

Simon Irish, Terrestrial Energy:

Focused on today's market needs, think we have a cost-competitive reactor
Dispatch power at 4-5 cents/kWhr, 300 MWe SMR, nth of a kind (10+)
Strong load-following credentials, backing up renewable generation
Company securing investment from private investors, governments, and environmental NGOs
Molten-salt reactor system, integral design, build and license first powerplant in 2020s
December 2015, closed on $10M financing round
Nuclear needs CAPEX reduction
We need a reactor product that can produce industrial heat
Safety case drives cost of development, cost to license, cost to construct, cost to operate
Key innovation is a sealed reactor vessel with operating life of 7 years
2 operating silos, 6 storage silos, every 7 years move operating reactor to storage silo
Any users of high temperature heat could connect to reactor
Uses solar salt (nitrate) as intermediate salt
Molten salt can dissipate its own heat through convection, absent in solid fueled system
Strong negative temperature coefficient, entirely passive shutdown mechanism
No Zr-water reactions since both are not present, operates at atmospheric pressure
Very very different commercial touchpoint through inherent safety approach
Heritage is MSRE and DMSR efforts at ORNL in late 1970s
Replaceable core addresses material lifetime challenge of MSRs
Licensing under Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, which graduated, risk-informed, and principle-based
Licensing in the US is not the same as Canada, but they continue to monitor US developments


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PostPosted: Feb 11, 2016 10:09 am 
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Andrew Sowder, EPRI:

Three good things you can do in life, preach the gospel, plow the soil, or work for the power company
EPRI emerged from the public response to a blackout
Developed energy markets face the challenge of legacy infrastructure and regulation
Recognizing the need for a more flexible and resilient infrastructure
90 GW of coal generation could retire in the near future
100 GW of nuclear generation also at risk, quite a bit more than we thought
$2 trillion in new generation possibilities
Natural gas fills the gap for coal and nuclear retirements, also exposes you to price shock
Are there new markets for nuclear energy? Liquid fuels, fresh water?
Fermi 1 was built through the leadership of one man, head of Detroit Edison, Walker Cisler
Just maintaining the role of nuclear in the 21st century will be very challenging
Don't put Gen-4 in competition with Gen-3, there will not be a Gen-4 in the US without a healthy Gen-3
Sustained role for nuclear will require a more compelling business case than just electricity generation
Talk to the customers and ask them what they really want
EPRI now has an official Gen-4 program, let's start building the foundation for advanced nuclear now
Currently a 4-year funding commitment modeled on ALWR program
Not here to advocate for a particular type, just to move things forward


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PostPosted: Feb 11, 2016 11:04 am 
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Jeff Harper, X-Energy:

Xe-100 concept, pebble-bed fueled, steam-generator, 125 MWt, 48 MWe
Helium cooled, helical steam generator at 540C, 15 MPa, once-through then out fuel cycle
40 year lifetime
X-Energy perceives themselves as the "underdog", especially compared to the Chinese HTR-PM
$20M invested by Dr. Kam Ghaffarian in X-Energy since founding in 2009
No customer currently identified
Technology originally developed at Oak Ridge
core power density 3.9 kW/liter, TRISO fuel
$53M funding from FOA ($40M DOE and $13M private)
Three main thrust of research: reactor design furtherance, fuel development, NRC engagement
Project builds off of NGNP and AGR programs
Full scale demonstration in early 2030s

Robert Prince, Gen-4 Energy:

You can go on the website for technical details
He joined Hyperion four years ago, Andy Kadak called it "all hype, no results"
Initial technology came out of Los Alamos Laboratory, small, transportable
Selected lead-bismuth as the coolant, has polonium issue, reactor is sealed unit
25 MWe, lasts ten years, at 5 year point, swap out the module
Why small reactors? Low accident consequences, small is beautiful
Need to put the zirconium-metal-water reaction behind us
Rickover got the money for Shippingport based on his desire to build a reactor for an aircraft carrier
Use traditional defense-in-depth that the NRC has spent years regulating and understanding
Mines use large diesel generators, why not use this instead?
Putting carbon in the sky is not a good idea, look at Beijing
Save money by not buying refueling equipment and having it on site
Company is a small business, venture backed
Less than $20M invested to date, used $990k from FOA to do thermal-hydraulic modeling of natural circulation flow in an LBE-cooled reactor
Nearly all of FOA money invested in national laboratories and universities
Basic thing that needs to be done is raise the temperature and lower the pressure
Most of the FOA money went to University of South Carolina and LANL
We can do, we must do it
Went to Wharton business school, time is money, must cut the time, decide what we're going to do and do it
Regulatory risk is perceived as too high for private venture investment


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PostPosted: Feb 11, 2016 11:48 am 
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Diane Jackson, NRC:

Don't know which advanced reactor type will appeal for licensing


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PostPosted: Feb 11, 2016 10:00 pm 
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Thanks for the report.


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