The NFRC was established in 2002 to promote the construction and operation of nuclear reprocessing facilities. NFRC promotes reprocessing commercial spent nuclear fuel that is generated by commercial nuclear power plants.

Reprocessing dramatically reduces the amount of high-level radioactive waste that would have to be stored in a geologic repository. We also support reprocessing plutonium and highly enriched uranium from nuclear warheads into fuel for use in commercial nuclear power plants.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Reprocessing In South Korea?

Nuclear Waste A Gowing Headache For South Korea As US Resists Appeal For Reprocessing Technology

PACKED STORAGE: South Korea’s radioactive waste storage is filling up, but what South Korea sees as its best solution — reprocessing the spent fuel so it can be used again — faces stiff opposition from its U.S. ally.

NUCLEAR PROBLEM: South Korea It is now the world’s fifth-largest nuclear energy producer, operating 23 reactors. A commission will be launched before this summer to start public discussion on permanent storage of spent nuclear fuel rods.

THE TREATY: Nuclear technology was originally transferred from the U.S. under a 1973 treaty that governs how its East Asian ally uses nuclear technology and explicitly bars reprocessing. (Wash Post, AP, 3/26/2013)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Above-Normal Outages of U.S. Nuclear Capacity Persist at the Start of 2013

Nuclear outages in 2012 were generally higher than in recent years because of extended forced and planned outages at four nuclear power plants, and they continued into the new year. Coupled with the beginning of spring refueling outages, outage levels in early 2013 are above those seen in the previous five years.

In 2012, four nuclear plants accounted for more than four gigawatts of capacity in extended outages. All of these outages continued into 2013, and at least one plant will be retired without ever returning to service:

  • Southern California Edison's San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) Units 2 and 3 (2,150 MW total) near San Diego, California, have both been offline since January 2012 as a precaution after a steam generator tube leak led to the discovery of excessive wear in the plant's new steam generators. The units remain offline while the problems are evaluated and repairs are made, which tightened electricity supply for Southern California last summer.
  • Omaha Public Power District's (OPPD) Fort Calhoun reactor (478 MW) has been offline since April 9, 2011, initially due to flooding on the Missouri River. A subsequent inspection by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission identified additional problems, and OPPD is working through a checklist of repairs and changes to be addressed before restarting the plant. In August, OPPD hired Exelon, a company that operates 17 U.S. nuclear plants, to manage Fort Calhoun.
  • Progress Energy Florida's Crystal River Unit 3 (860 MW) about 60 miles southwest of Gainesville, Florida, has been offline since September 2009 to repair the reactor containment vessel. Progress's handling of Crystal River repairs became an issue in the company's recent merger with Duke Energy. In February, Duke Energy announced plans to retire this unit from service.
  • At NextEra Energy's Turkey Point plant outside Miami, Florida, Unit 3 (802 MW) went offline in late February 2012 for refueling, underwent additional repairs through the summer and early fall, and only returned to service in late October. In early November, Turkey Point Unit 4 (693 MW) was taken offline for a planned four-month refueling and maintenance outage. (DOE-EIA)
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on data from the Form EIA-923, Power Plant Operations Report, and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Power Reactor Status ReportsNote: Nuclear capacity in outage is estimated based on monthly generation data collected by EIA and daily availability data from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Energy Department Announces New Funding Opportunity for Innovative Small Modular Reactors

As part of the Obama Administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy to speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy, the Energy Department today issued a new funding opportunity announcement to help U.S. industry design and certify innovative small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs). Building off the cost-share agreement announced in November 2012, this follow-on solicitation is open to other companies and manufacturers and is focused on furthering small modular reactor efficiency, operations and design.

The Energy Department will solicit proposals for cost-shared small modular reactor projects that have the potential to be licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and achieve commercial operation around 2025, while offering innovative and effective solutions for enhanced safety, operations and performance. Selected projects will span a five-year period with at least 50 percent provided by private industry. Subject to congressional appropriations, federal funding for this solicitation and the project announced last year will be derived from the total $452 million identified for the Department’s Small Modular Reactor Licensing Technical Support program.

Small modular reactors – which are approximately one-third the size of current nuclear power plants – have compact, scalable designs that are expected to offer a host of safety, construction and economic benefits. The Energy Department is seeking 300 megawatts or smaller reactor designs that can be made in factories and transported to sites where they would be ready to “plug and play” upon arrival. The smaller size reduces both capital costs and construction times and also makes these reactors ideal for small electric grids and for locations that cannot support large reactors.

Today’s funding opportunity announcement follows the Energy Department’s cost-share agreement announced last year to accelerate commercialization of a small modular reactor design that targets a 2022 deployment date. Under that agreement, the Department will share costs on the design, certification and licensing of the B&W mPower small modular reactor design, with B&W providing at least 50 percent of the total cost. The Tennessee Valley Authority plans to deploy two 180 megawatt small modular reactor units for commercial operation in Roane County, Tennessee, by 2021, with as many as six mPower units at that site. (DOE)

Find more information on the funding opportunity announced today at