Russia executed cyberattacks that put the country in a position where it could control or shut down nuclear power plants in the US and Europe, the Trump administration said. Though experts believe the hackers had access to shut down systems at the plant, no reactors were sabotaged or shut down.
Nuclear energy makes up about 11% of the global energy mix and at least 30% of the electricity in 12 countries, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency's Country Nuclear Power Profiles. The annual report found that 30 countries have operating reactors and 15 countries are in the process of building reactors.
The Southwest Experimental Fast Oxide Reactor in Arkansas, owned by the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, will be transitioned to SAFSTOR status by the end of the month unless the federal government provides $8 million to finish the plant cleanup. The reactor was shut down in the early 1970s.
Entergy Nuclear Operations and Entergy Operations have agreed to take steps to prevent misconduct after the Nuclear Regulatory Commission discovered willful violations at Entergy's Grand Gulf nuclear power plant in Mississippi. Actions include annual training, causal evaluations and identifying other steps.
The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission and Framatome are studying the technical and financial viability of small modular reactors. The reactors would be good options for isolated areas and could also be used for urban heating or water desalination, French nuclear lobbying group SFEN said.
North Korea may be performing preliminary testing on one of its experimental light water reactors, according to an analysis of satellite images of the plant. It's unknown if the reactor would be used for power generation or nuclear weapons, but analysts say the reactor could be operational later this year.
Transparency, openness and a willingness to discuss the possibility of failure are the most reliable ways to overcome increasingly complex and interconnected systems, writes Michael McKinney, citing a book by Chris Clearfield and Andras Tilcsik. "By openly sharing stories of failures and near failures -- without blame or revenge -- we can create a culture in which people view errors as an opportunity to learn rather than as the impetus for a witch hunt," Clearfield and Tilcsik write.
Sandia National Laboratories carried a simulated cargo of used nuclear fuel by truck, sea and rail for 14,500 miles to record the stress put on the cargo. The lab aims to determine whether fuel rods can handle the shocks and vibrations without breaking if they are moved to storage sites.
The New Jersey Legislature has separated a bill that contained support for nuclear power plants, clean energy and offshore wind power into three separate bills that will move jointly through the legislature. The nuclear energy bill could generate as much as $300 million from ratepayers to keep the state's nuclear power plants running.