Nevada National Security Site officials say a facility housing weapons grade plutonium is safe from earthquake threats that could expose radiation to surrounding populations. But the officials said the Nevada security site is implementing measures suggested by a federal safety board to comply with concerns about risks from seismic events.
Las Vegas Review Journal 5th April 2019 read more »
The flagship of the Trump administration’s advanced nuclear power research program could cost up to 40 percent more than a government official estimated earlier this year, a U.S. Department of Energy document shows.
Reuters 5th April 2019 read more »
Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Rick Perry recently announced the launch of the Versatile Test Reactor (VTR) project, flagging it as one of the department’s top priorities. The project, which would be the first new DOE test reactor in decades, would differ from the DOE’s operating test reactors because it would be cooled by liquid sodium instead of water, enabling it to produce large numbers of “fast” neutrons. The DOE says that such a facility is needed to develop new reactors that use fast neutrons to generate electricity. US nuclear plants today are light-water reactors, which use slow (“thermal”) neutrons. The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) questions the need for a dedicated fast neutron test reactor and, more generally, has serious concerns about fast reactor safety and security, detailed in a critique it released last year. Fast reactors pose nuclear proliferation and terrorism risks in part because they commonly use fuels containing plutonium, a nuclear weapon-usable material. Most fast reactor concepts also involve reprocessing of their spent fuel, which separates plutonium in a form that is vulnerable to theft.
UCS 5th April 2019 read more »