The State of the Nuclear Industry

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SPEAKER:
KURT EDSINGER
DATE/TIME:
MON, 12/09/2019 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
LOCATION:
3105 ETCHEVERRY HALL
Fall 2019 Colloquium Series
Abstract: In many ways, nuclear power has never been more needed than right now, but the challenges that nuclear power is experiencing in many parts of the world are substantial and largely tied to economics.  In the U.S., plants are shutting down before the end of their licensed lifetime. There are several factors at play, but their sustainability and longevity are largely reflective of their inability to compete in their marketplace.  Outside of the U.S., plants are experiencing similar pressures to reduce costs. The industry is exploring technology to increase competitiveness and have recognized a few successes and a number of additional opportunities. They are also looking beyond electricity to markets such as hydrogen and ammonia.

Nuclear power is also an important consideration for the future, and models of the future generation generally point to a significant role for nuclear.  However, new nuclear construction projects have experienced a series of cost overruns and schedule challenges. New designs that can be built more quickly and at lower cost are needed to compete in an environment that demands lower total life cycle costs.

Bio: Dr. Kurt Edsinger is the Director of Materials & Advanced Nuclear at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). The primary system materials area at EPRI consists of three major programs, BWR Vessel and Internals Program (BWRVIP), PWR Materials Reliability Program (MRP), and Steam Generator Management Program (SGMP), along with a group focused specifically on non-U.S. materials challenges overseen by the International Materials Research (IMR) committee. These activities include near- term efforts to resolve current issues and basic R&D to address longer-term issues and support the viability of the industry. The advanced nuclear area focuses on technologies and R&D to enable deployment of the next generation of plants, both light water reactors and non-light water reactors, led by the Advanced Nuclear Technology (ANT) program. Prior to his current role in Materials & Advanced Nuclear, Dr. Edsinger held a number of roles of increasing responsibility in EPRI’s Nuclear Sector, including Director of Fuel and Chemistry, and Manager of the Fuel Reliability Program (FRP). Before joining EPRI, he managed the Materials Technology Group for General Electric. In that position, he led a group of scientists and engineers in resolving BWR fuel performance issues, developing new fuel products, and demonstrating fuel reliability margins. Dr. Edsinger received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from San Jose State University and a Doctorate degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a dissertation on fracture in structural steels.

Plutonium and Uranium from Weapons Testing

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SPEAKER:
Kiel Holliday
DATE/TIME:
MON, 11/25/2019 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
LOCATION:
3105 ETCHEVERRY HALL
Fall 2019 Colloquium Series
Abstract:

It’s not immediately intuitive to think of an explosion as a reducing environment. After all, a conventional explosion is an oxidative process. In the case of a nuclear explosion; however, it has been known since 1975 that large amounts of iron in the surrounding environment can be reduced to its ferrous form. 1. An explanation for this is not readily available based on mass balances and equilibrium redox conditions. There has been speculation as to the nature of actinide oxidation states under these conditions based on condensation temperatures and fractionation. 2. This work is the first direct measurement of the oxidation state of plutonium in historic fallout and improves upon previous measurements of uranium and iron. 3. In addition to the oxidation state, the local chemistry surrounding the actinides in fallout debris will ultimately dictate its long-term stability. To investigate what phase contains these actinides in fallout we combined autoradiography with scanning electron microscopy – energy dispersive spectroscopy to map which elements co-locate with plutonium. This lead to some insight into the factors that ultimately drive plutonium concentrations in fallout debris.

About the Speaker:

 Kiel Holiday is Group Leader for the Chemistry of Nuclear Materials Group in the Materials Science Division. He received his Ph.D. in Radiochemistry from University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 2009. He completed a two-year post-doc with the Institut für Nukleare Entsorgung (INE) in Karlsruhe, Germany before joining the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 2011. Kiel has experience in solid-state synthesis and characterization of actinide materials by various X-rays and electron techniques. Kiel currently performs research in the chemical processing of nuclear materials for stockpile stewardship, nuclear forensics, and innovations in manufacturing.

Investigating Uranium(VI) Sorption and Mobility in Future Nuclear Waste Repositories

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SPEAKER:
RUTH M. TINNACHER
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, EAST BAY
DATE/TIME:
MON, 11/18/2019 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
LOCATION:
3105 ETCHEVERRY HALL
Fall 2019 Colloquium Series
Abstract:

Most nuclear waste repository options include an engineered barrier system surrounding waste containers in order to minimize the release of radioactive contaminants into the environment after waste package failure and waste form degradation. The proposed buffer material in these barrier systems is compacted bentonite, a natural, geologic material largely consisting of montmorillonite clay. Uranium (U) is the primary element in spent nuclear fuel, and a relevant, environmental contaminant of water resources. Uranium sorption onto clay and its slow diffusive transport away from waste canisters are expected to limit U(VI) mobility in future engineered barrier systems. However, a prediction of these processes is complicated by the complex mineralogical structure of montmorillonite clay, and the effects of evolving chemical and thermal conditions on U(VI) solution speciation, sorption and transport behavior. In this talk, we will provide an overview of the relevant parameters and processes that are expected to govern uranium mobility in future engineered barrier systems, and characterize the effects of chemical solution conditions and temperature on U(VI) sorption and diffusion behavior based on results from our ongoing experimental and modeling studies.

This research is being performed using funding received from the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy's Nuclear Energy University Program (Federal Grant Number: DE-NE0008683).

About the Speaker:

Ruth M. Tinnacher has been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at California State University East Bay since Fall 2016. She completed M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in ‘Environmental Science and Engineering’ at the Colorado School of Mines in May 2001 and December 2008, as well as a Dipl. Ing. (Equiv. M.Eng.) in ‘Chemical Process Engineering in Industrial Environmental Protection’ at the University of Leoben, Austria in 2000. After working as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for three years, she joined Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as a Project Scientist in July 2011. In her research, Dr. Tinnacher investigates environmental geochemistry problems that are driven by energy- and climate-related questions. Her primary research focus has been on the environmental impacts of nuclear energy and waste, with a particular interest in the mobility of radioactive contaminants in subsurface environments. In addition, she is also interested in the impacts of geologic CO2 sequestration and hydraulic fracturing on groundwater quality, and the link between environmental geochemistry and carbon cycling.

The Future of China’s Nuclear Power Program

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SPEAKER:
MARK HIBBS
DATE/TIME:
MON, 11/04/2019 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
LOCATION:
3105 ETCHEVERRY HALL
Fall 2019 Colloquium Series
Abstract:

China today, after three decades of forced development and deployments, is poised to become the world’s leading nuclear power country during the first half of this century. If China succeeds, it will surpass all advanced nuclear power countries that failed so far to effect a transition from light-water reactors to fast reactors with a closed fuel cycle; in recent years China launched initial industrial-scale projects toward the achievement of this goal. But during the 2020s and beyond the environment for nuclear power development in China will constrain China’s resolve and capacity in several areas. These include deepening contradictions in electricity policy, challenges in technology development, the evolution of government and industry risk assessment, the persisting impact from the Fukushima accident, and the maturing of China’s political economy.

About the Speaker:

Mark Hibbs is Senior Fellow in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C. His research is focused on international nuclear trade, national nuclear power programs, and international nuclear governance. Hibbs has assisted the participating governments of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the leading global multilateral nuclear trade control arrangement, and is the author of the Carnegie report The Future of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, published in 2011. In 2012 Hibbs co-authored with James Acton a report on Why Fukushima Was Preventable. In 2014 Hibbs authored a study on Turkey’s policies concerning the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the NSG, as part of a project called Turkey’s Nuclear Future. Since 2012, Hibbs has led a project at Carnegie supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation concerning decision making in China’s nuclear energy program. In 2018 Hibbs published the final report from this project as a book: The Future of Nuclear Power in China; the Mandarin-language version of this report was published in China in 2019.

How to Deliver the Goods Through Application of Quality Assurance Principles

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SPEAKER:
DAREN JENSEN
DATE/TIME:
MON, 10/30/2019 - 6:00PM TO 7:00PM
LOCATION:
3105 ETCHEVERRY HALL
Fall 2019 Colloquium Series
Abstract:

This colloquium will discuss why it is important to embrace quality assurance principles for research programs in order to create a competitive advantage, enhance the research reputation, and gain customer confidence: “delivering the goods”.

About the Speaker:

Mr. Daren Jensen is the owner of Optimum Performance Solutions consulting and has over thirty-three years of experience in managing and implementing complex nuclear quality assurance programs and providing consulting services. He is the former QA Manager for the Nuclear Energy University Programs (NEUP) and is the current QA Program Manager for the Idaho National Laboratory where he led the effort in preparing for and achieving the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Nuclear Quality Assurance (NQA-1) certification for the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) QA program. He has a B.S in Physics from Idaho State University and an M.S in Industrial Safety from the University of Idaho.  He is a Six Sigma Blackbelt and a certified Quality Management System Lead Auditor. Mr. Jensen is the Chair of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) NQA-1 Applications Subcommittee and a Member of the NQA-1 Executive and Standard (Main) Committees.

The Single Volume Camera Project Overview

SPEAKER:
Melinda Sweeny
DATE/TIME:
MON, 10/21/2019 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
LOCATION:
3105 ETCHEVERRY HALL
Fall 2019 Colloquium Series
Co-Hosted with NSSC
Abstract:

The Single Volume Scatter Camera (SVSC) Collaboration is multi-institution effort lead by Sandia National Laboratories to develop portable neutron imaging systems for a variety of applications in non-proliferation and arms control. Current state-of-the-art kinematic neutron imaging systems consist of distributed scintillator volumes in which the position, time, and energy of multiple interactions are used to reconstruct a neutron’s incoming direction. Such systems suffer from poor geometrical efficiency and are ultimately limited in performance by the size of the individual scintillator cells. The SVSC project aims to improve the geometrical efficiency by up to an order magnitude by reconstructing multiple neutron interactions within the same scintillator volume. The concept, overall program goals, and current progress up to date will be presented.

About the Speaker:

Melinda Sweeny is staff member at Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, California. She received her Ph.D in physics from the University of California at Davis in 2011, specializing in experimental particle physics. Over the last ten years, she has participated in the research and development of a variety of detection methods and systems for the search and characterization of radiological material, including: border monitoring with a water-based neutron detector, neutrino detection for reactor monitoring, source localization using neutron emissions with double-scatter imaging, and neutron imaging with coded aperture techniques. Her recent work includes detector development for the optically-segmented Single Volume Scatter Camera and Silicon Photomultiplier readout of the scintillator-based detection system.

Status of the Versatile Test Reactor program

31050D Florent Heidet Nuclear Engineer
SPEAKER:
FLORENT HEIDET
Manager, Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems group
DATE/TIME:
MON, 10/14/2019 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
LOCATION:
3105 ETCHEVERRY HALL
Fall 2019 Colloquium Series
Abstract:

The Versatile Test Reactor (VTR) program is aiming at designing and building an advanced test reactor in the U.S. within 10 years. This reactor will bridge the current capability gap in irradiation capabilities, effectively supporting development of all types of advanced reactors through enabling accelerated material and fuel testing. At this stage, the VTR is a 300 MWth sodium-cooled fast reactor using metallic fuel bearing plutonium. It allows achieving fast flux in excess of 4x1015 n/cm2, offers very large irradiation volumes, and permit concurrent use of up to four coolant types through the cartridge loops. The state of the project, its origin, and an overview of the design activities will be discussed.

About the Speaker:

Dr. Florent Heidet is a principal nuclear engineer and manager of the Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems group at Argonne National Laboratory. Florent’s interest is in development of advanced nuclear reactors and enabling their construction. He is the manager for the core design activities of the Versatile Test Reactor, and the Argonne program manager for the Transformational Challenge Reactor. Florent has also initiated the modeling & simulation and analysis activities related to Molten Salt Reactor at Argonne. He obtained his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 2010.

Designing, modeling, and executing experiments at the Annular Core Research Reactor

Chodash, Perry
SPEAKER:
PERRY CHODASH
DATE/TIME:
MON, 09/18/2019 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
LOCATION:
3105 ETCHEVERRY HALL
Fall 2019 Colloquium Series
Abstract:

After a 35-year hiatus, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is executing a series of experiments looking at the thermostructural response of materials at the Annular Core Research Reactor (ACRR).  The purpose of these experiments is to help validate a radiation transport code and a finite element structural code used at the laboratory.  The radiation transport was modeled using the Monte Carlo radiation transport code, Mercury.  The energy deposition from the Mercury simulation was then input into the finite element code, Diablo, to model the thermal diffusion and structural response.  Preliminary results from these simulations and experiments will be presented.

About the Speaker:

Perry Chodash is a design physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He received an M.S. and Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 2011 and 2015, respectively. He completed his doctoral research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where he set a limit on the nuclear excitation by electronic transition rate in U-235. His current research is in the areas of radiation transport and modeling the thermostructural response of materials due to intense radiation pulses.

Detoxing Nuclear Waste using Molten Salts: Can Nuclear Power be Unchained from Nuclear Proliferation?

Sungyeol Choi
SPEAKER:
SUNGYEOL CHOI
Assistant Professor of Nuclear and Quantum Engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)
DATE/TIME:
MON, 09/30/2019 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
LOCATION:
3105 ETCHEVERRY HALL
Fall 2019 Colloquium Series
Abstract:

Regardless of aqueous and non-aqueous techniques, conventional reprocessing is not accessible for many countries running nuclear power plants due to Pu diversion concerns. Considering that only some of the fission products present in used nuclear fuel dominate the environmental impact of a final waste repository, removing them selectively whilst retaining the actinides in solid mixtures would be a major breakthrough. This goal could be achieved using molten salt oxide reduction. This process may also allow for the conversion of high-level waste into low and intermediate-level waste. This talk will present a research approach combining electrochemical processes, laser spectroscopic monitoring, and computational modeling, to move towards a more sustainable approach for used fuel management.

About the Speaker:

Sungyeol Choi is Assistant Professor, Department of Nuclear and Quantum Engineering and Deputy Director, Nuclear Nonproliferation Education and Research Center at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). Previously, he was Research Fellow at Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University, and Senior Researcher at Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute. He earned B.S. (2008) and Ph.D. (2012) in Nuclear Engineering from Seoul National University. His research interests include used nuclear fuel management, radioactive waste treatment, nuclear security, and reactor coolant chemistry.

“We’ll Get to That Next!” Why You Shouldn’t Put Off Control Room Design

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SPEAKER:
RONALD LAURIDS BORING PHD
DATE/TIME:
MON, 09/23/2019 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
LOCATION:
3105 ETCHEVERRY HALL
Fall 2019 Colloquium Series
Abstract:

Staffing and control are crucial considerations in the development and licensing of advanced reactors. Advanced reactors do not solve the challenges of human-in-the-loop control through full automation, and it is incorrect to assume that the control system of a new reactor is a tail-end design activity. The very viability of advanced reactor designs hinges on their ability to be economically competitive with fossil plants for producing electricity, and staffing is key to managing operational costs of future plants. Idaho National Laboratory has developed prototyping tools and capabilities to jumpstart control system development for advanced designs. Using simplified plant simulation models and visualization tools, it is possible to prototype control room designs and validate them using operator-in-the-loop evaluations. In this manner, the concept of operation may be developed in parallel with other aspects of reactor design. Along the way, key decisions on the staffing requirements and level of automation may be determined and demonstrated, allowing a clear path to licensing of advanced reactors.

About the Speaker:

Ronald Laurids Boring, Ph.D., is a Distinguished Scientist at Idaho National Laboratory, where he has led human factors research projects for agencies such as the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, NASA, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the U.S. Department of Defense.  He and his research team developed the Guideline for Operator Nuclear Usability and Knowledge Elicitation (GONUKE) for conducting human factors in support of nuclear technologies, the Human Unimodel for Nuclear Technology to Enhance Reliability (HUNTER) for dynamic human reliability analysis, and the Advanced Nuclear Interface Modeling Environment (ANIME) for prototyping digital interfaces in nuclear power environments. He is the founder of the Human Systems Simulation Laboratory. Dr. Boring has a Ph.D. in Cognitive Science from Carleton University.  He was a Fulbright Academic Scholar to the University of Heidelberg, Germany.  He has published over 250 research articles in a wide variety of human reliability, human factors, and human-system interaction forums. He is Chairperson for the Idaho Section of the American Nuclear Society and Chair for the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.