Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

August 15, 2014 | 2:17 pm

MOX Project Recognized for Quality, Safety, Environmental Stewardship

NRC LogoThe MOX Project is achieving a commendable combination of high-quality work, extensive safety record, and recognized environmental stewardship.

Starting off the accolades, the latest Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) inspection report confirmed that the MOX Project achieved three consecutive quarters with no violations.

As quoted in a Aiken Standard article, Kelly Trice, president and CEO of CB&I AREVA MOX Services, said,

“This report is more good news for the MOX project, as the NRC certifies again that we are building this important nonproliferation project safely and in compliance with all strict NRC regulations, We have a dedicated workforce that values safety and quality as part of a job well done, and our strong internal inspection program conducts rigorous tests and inspections for all construction processes.”

This latest recognition follows the Commission’s extensive annual evaluation in March, when the MOX Project earned the NRC’s highest overall rating.

These MOX Project successes are a direct result of nearly 1,500 workers’ individual commitments to a quality job and surpassing 19,000,000 consecutive work hours without a lost workday due to injury. For a worksite of this size and complexity, this safety focus is especially noteworthy.

And, the accomplishments don’t stop there …

Also noted in the article, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control recognized CB&I AREVA MOX Services for outstanding environmental leadership and continuous improvement toward environmental objectives.  This led the program’s Advisory Committee to renew CB&I AREVA MOX Services’ membership on the South Carolina Environmental Excellence Program (SCEEP).

MOX Project: Excellence in quality, safety, and environmental stewardship—a solid performance for one of America’s most crucial nonproliferation programs.

June 20, 2014 | 12:38 pm

Video: Transferring and Storing Used Nuclear Fuel

This video demonstrates the process for safely transferring used nuclear fuel from a reactor into a dry shielded canister, transporting the canister to an independent spent fuel storage installation (ISFSI), and loading the canister into a fortress-like horizontal storage module.

These above-ground NUHOMS® storage modules ensure the highest level of safety and radiation shielding while enabling inspection and ease of future offsite canister transport. The concrete modules are designed to withstand earthquakes, floods and tornadoes, and have even been airplane crash tested.

Watch the video and read the Top 10 FAQs about safely managing used nuclear fuel.

June 17, 2014 | 12:35 pm

Top 10 FAQs about Transporting and Storing Used Nuclear Fuel

Mike McMahon, Senior Vice President, AREVA TN AmericasBy Mike McMahon, Senior Vice President, AREVA TN Americas

The topic of safely transporting and storing used nuclear fuel at U.S. nuclear energy facilities is causing a lot of discussion in communities around the country. Questions about radiation shielding, safety, and seismic capabilities are prompting the most responses, but there are also persistent misunderstandings about safely managing used nuclear fuel that muddy the conversation.

Let’s clear that up…

During our nearly 50 years of experience safely managing used nuclear fuel, we have advanced safe used nuclear fuel storage technology significantly with AREVA’s NUclear HOrizontal Modular Storage (NUHOMS®) system.

Based on that experience, let’s take a look at the…

Top 10 Used Nuclear Fuel FAQs

  1. What is “high burnup fuel” and can it be safely transported and stored? “Burnup” is a term used to describe how much energy has been produced in a nuclear fuel assembly. Typical units are “Gigawatt-days per Metric Ton of Uranium” (GWD/MTU). Burnup can be thought of as the “gas mileage” for nuclear fuel because it tells us how much energy has been extracted from a given amount of uranium in the same way that “miles per gallon” tells us how far a car will go on one gallon of gas. The term “Gigawatt-days” is the amount of energy required to produce one gigawatt (1 billion watts) of power for one day (24 hours). It is similar to the more familiar term “kilowatt-hour” or “kW-hr” seen on a monthly electric bill (i.e., one kilowatt-hour is the amount of energy required to produce one kilowatt [1000 watts] of power for one hour). By way of comparison, since 1 Gigawatt is equal to 1,000,000 kilowatts, 1 Gigawatt-day is equal to 24,000,000 kilowatt-hours. Since nuclear fuel produces enormous amounts of energy, we need to use big units of measure!

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) considers “High Burnup” Fuel to be any fuel with a burnup higher than 45 GWD/MTU. There is nothing magical about the 45 GWD/MTU number – it is a somewhat arbitrary limit to mark the boundary between “high burnup” and “low burnup” fuel. High burnup fuel can be and has been safely stored and transported. Since 1966, AREVA has safely and successfully transported more than 75,000 used nuclear fuel assemblies, including 15,000 high burnup fuel assemblies.

  2. How long can the storage system safely contain the high burnup fuel? The NRC issues a license for dry fuel storage systems for an initial period of 20 years. When the initial license ends, it does not mean that the system is no longer safe, it simply means it requires review and renewal – much like a driver’s license. At the end of 20 years, the NRC requires that a license renewal application be submitted, which, if approved, will extend the license for an additional increment of up to 40 years. The NRC does not place a limit on the number of 40-year renewals that can be obtained. The design life of AREVA’s NUHOMS® systems is 100+ years with an aging management program. Effective product life can be extended almost indefinitely through inspections, aging management programs, and maintenance. The NUHOMS® system’s horizontal above-ground fortress-like structure enables easy access for inspections, monitoring, and maintenance that may be needed for aging management and life extension programs.
  3. How would a utility transport containers loaded with high burnup fuel from the utility site? Is there an NRC-licensed container approved to safely transport high burnup fuel? Yes, AREVA’s NUHOMS® MP197HB Transport Package is NRC-licensed for transportation of canisterized high burnup fuel from the utility site to a repository, to another interim storage site, or to a recycling plant, whichever options are available to receive used nuclear fuel.
  4. Can “damaged” nuclear fuel be safely stored and then transported? Damaged fuel can unequivocally be safely stored and transported in our storage containers, just as undamaged or intact fuel can be safely stored and transported. The dry fuel storage container includes an internal basket structure that keeps the fuel assemblies separated and stable. When storing damaged fuel we either take an added step of inserting screened caps on either end of the basket compartment, or we place the fuel assembly in a separate ventilated container (called a “can”) before placing it in the basket. The damaged fuel can then be safely stored in exactly the same manner as intact fuel in our NUHOMS® system.
  5. How do you keep the used fuel safe in an earthquake? The AREVA’s NUHOMS® system securely stores the dry fuel storage containers in a horizontal position within a sturdy, low-profile, reinforced concrete structure. Our robust earthquake-resistant design achieves the highest seismic capability of any used fuel storage system in operation today. We offer NUHOMS® module designs that are engineered for 1.5g horizontal ground acceleration and 1.0g vertical acceleration. As a reference point, people have trouble standing at 0.02g acceleration!
  6. What happens when a tornado, or flood, or even an airplane strikes the used fuel storage site? The NUHOMS® system’s low profile, thick reinforced concrete design can weather the impact. It can withstand tornado-accelerated objects including telephone poles (13.5” diameter, 276 pounds traveling 200 mph), a steel pipe (12” diameter, 1,500 pounds, 140 mph), and an automobile (4000 pounds, 195 mph), and can safely maintain its sealed integrity when impacted by an aircraft. Flooding does not affect the above-ground NUHOMS® system’s safe operations.
  7. What are the radiation levels at a nuclear fuel storage site? All levels are well within the required limits. Immediately next to the closest publicly-accessible area boundary, the total dose received from a dry fuel storage facility containing sealed NUHOMS® containers is less than the regulatory limit of 25 mrem over the course of one year. By way of comparison, the average American receives a dose of about 310 mrem in one year from natural background sources of radiation, such as cosmic rays and radon.
  8. Can the storage system leak radioactive material? Nuclear fuel is in the form of solid ½” pellets contained in metal rods. No AREVA dry fuel storage systems have ever leaked radioactive material.
  9. How long does used fuel have to stay in the reactor’s used fuel pool before it is put in a dry cask storage system? Cooling time in the reactor’s used fuel pool before dry storage is typically 5 to 7 years after the fuel’s last operation in the reactor core. Some of AREVA TN’s designs allow for storage after as short a time as 3 years.
  10. What if a worst-case scenario actually happens inside a dry fuel canister or during the transport of a canister? We intentionally build-in design conservatism in our calculations to ensure that an AREVA dry fuel storage container is capable of safely storing fuel in the very worst case scenario. Containers are backfilled with inert Helium gas, and are designed to transfer the heat out of the fuel assemblies so that fuel will be safe during the storage period. One key way to do this is through the convection heat transfer from the fuel to the Helium in the container cavity. In our calculations, we do not credit this convection heat transfer (or cooling) inside the container cavity, so our containers are designed to manage the original higher heat levels. Our very conservative approach offers the most comprehensive, safest solution for storing fuel. In the licensing process for our transport cask, we made the worst case scenario assumption that the cladding had been damaged, and then did our calculations to ensure that the fuel would still be safe in spite of that occurrence!

Now that you have these answers, learn more about NUHOMS® and safe used fuel transport and storage (video) on our AREVA TN website, and watch the high-impact test video showing a 660-pound steel projectile impacting an AREVA storage container at 534 miles per hour.

June 6, 2014 | 11:00 am

70th Anniversary at U.S. National D-Day Memorial

AREVA Inc. CEO Gary MignognaRemarks by AREVA Inc. CEO Gary Mignogna

It is truly an honor to be with you here at the National D-Day Memorial for the 70th D-Day Anniversary Commemoration.

I have had the opportunity to visit Normandy. To walk on the beach, to see and feel the remnants of the barriers and bunkers, to hear the tales of tremendous courage and perseverance, and to be overwhelmed with emotion at the American Cemetery and Memorial that overlooks Omaha Beach.

This place where we gather today is both familiar and special to me. I grew up in Lynchburg and have called central Virginia home for the past forty-four years. I have long been aware and proud of my community’s contribution and sacrifice. Today we recognize those who fought for our freedom, we remember those whose lives were lost, and we celebrate the triumph of courage, liberty, and humanity.

The history of French-American friendship and partnership dates back more than 200 years. In 1777, George Washington, met and developed a life-long friendship with a Frenchman, General Lafayette, who went on to serve under him for the duration of the Revolutionary War. Historians describe Lafayette as the son Washington never had, and Lafayette would name his only son after Washington. Right here in the Commonwealth, Franco-American collaboration was further exemplified by the critical support from French troops in the defeat of British forces in Yorktown in 1781. That cooperation between our nations continued through the Normandy invasion and continues today.

The world has changed significantly since June 6, 1944; that day of valiant heroism, and yet we continue to strive for the dual aims of continued peace and prosperity. In a dynamic and interconnected 21st century world, clean, safe, reliable energy is inextricably linked to the sustainable prosperity of America. The deployment of clean energy technologies thereby supports both our economic and national security.

AREVA is a global nuclear and renewable energy company, headquartered in France. We are also long-term members of the Lynchburg community. This past December, we were honored to receive a Share of Stock in the Virginia Company from the Governor in recognition of our deep commitment to the growth and prosperity of the region. We are proud that our presence in Virginia echoes the long tradition of Franco-American partnership. Our forward-looking energy vision is about growth, innovation, people, and responsibility – for the benefit of our customers and communities throughout North America and the world.

We know, based on our experience, that U.S. military veterans have the training and leadership skills necessary to help us tackle the current and future needs of a world where energy demand continues to grow – more than 10% of AREVA’s 1,800 employees in the Lynchburg area are veterans.

We honor our colleagues and all veterans and active duty military for their dedication and determination – for their service and sacrifice. We renew and celebrate our shared commitment to uphold the values and ideals fundamental to America, rooted in freedom and opportunity.

Thank you for being a part of a historical day for our country, our communities, and our company – in acknowledgement of our history and in recognition of continued relations between France and the United States of America.

April 30, 2014 | 8:09 am

New DOE Report: MOX Option Still Best Option

DOEsealNothing has changed—the MOX option is still the best option for fulfilling America’s surplus plutonium disposal nonproliferation treaty with Russia in the most timely and efficient manner.

Yesterday’s Department of Energy (DOE) announcement that construction will continue at the MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF) through FY2014 and their release of the Surplus Plutonium Disposition Options analysis revealed this singular point … nothing has changed.

  1. The funding approved by Congress for constructing the MFFF in South Carolina will continue to be used for the purpose for which it was intended.
  2. The prior DOE studies evaluating and identifying the MOX option as the best option have been confirmed in light of today’s budget, technology, and political realities.

Again, the five processes considered for plutonium disposal were:

Option 1: Irradiation of MOX Fuel in Light Water Reactors (LWRs), i.e. MFFF or MOX Project;

Option 2: Irradiation of Plutonium Fuel in Fast Reactors;

Option 3: Immobilization (Ceramic or Glass Form) with High‐Level Waste;

Option 4: Downblending and Disposal; and,

Option 5: Deep Borehole Disposal.


A few key points from the new Options report (see summary chart on page 35):

  1. The MOX option is the only one that does not require treaty renegotiation and approval with Russia.
  2. The MOX option would complete the plutonium disposal earlier than any other option.
  3. The MOX option costs less than the Fast Reactor option and the Immobilization in Glass option.
  4. The MOX option does not have the significant siting requirements of the Downblending option and the Deep Borehole Disposal option.
  5. The MOX option is 60% constructed with a mature design, while analyses of the four other conceptual options are based on a range of uncertainties in technology, feasibility, regulatory, and siting assumptions.
  6. The MOX option is the only option that meets all of the treaty criteria for irretrievability of weapons-grade plutonium 239 through isotopic degradation, thereby ensuring nonproliferation.
  7. Plus, a key point from page 32: U.S. utilities have not entered into agreements for MOX fuel because the DOE has delayed signing the already-negotiated Blanket Commercial Agreement (BCA) while it reconsidered plutonium disposal options.

… and an important point not assessed in the report: The MOX option is the only option to potentially create value, as realized in the expected quantity of MOX nuclear fuel generating an estimated $50 billion in reliable, clean air electricity for American homes and businesses.

Again, nothing has changed. The MOX option is still the best option for fulfilling America’s surplus plutonium disposal nonproliferation treaty with Russia in the most timely and efficient manner.

April 18, 2014 | 4:31 pm

Earth Day: SCE and Clean Energy

Ballona Watershed WarriorsAREVA Inc. employees actively support Earth Day (4/22) values of environmental stewardship and sustainability by organizing activities and participating in outreach events at our sites throughout North America.

We also proudly support and recognize our energy partners’ environmental leadership and initiatives—like those of Southern California Edison (SCE).

At the 5th Annual Ballona Watershed Warriors Celebration yesterday evening, Friends of Ballona Wetlands honored SCE for the company’s leadership in ongoing environmental protection and conservation work, including the San Dieguito Wetlands Restoration Project and the Wheeler North artificial giant kelp reef.

SCE provides steady, reliable electricity from clean air nuclear power and other sources to businesses and communities in Southern and Central California, and is an important partner in supporting continued efforts regarding energy efficiency and clean air energy.

With a similar commitment to the environment shown through AREVA’s low-carbon nuclear power generation technologies and services, our safe used nuclear fuel storage solutions, our California-based solar energy subsidiary, and our employees’ community volunteerism, we are proud to support the work of Friends of Ballona and their recognition of Southern California Edison.

November 15, 2013 | 2:15 pm

Ambassadors Champion DOE Minorities in Energy Initiative

By Laura Clise, Director External Communications, AREVA Inc.

Minorities in Energy InitiativeHistory was made this past Wednesday as Department of Energy Director Dot Harris hosted leaders from government, industry, education, and community organizations at the first-ever White House Forum on Minorities in Energy.  With presentations and dialogue, participants explored the critical role energy plays in U.S. economic prosperity, national security, and environmental sustainability. But of significant historical note was the Forum’s focus on and acknowledgement of the important role minority communities must perform as we work across sectors and communities to advance American economic competitiveness and innovation leadership.

Building off of the launch of the Minorities in Energy initiative in September, the White House Forum brought additional stakeholders together around the shared commitment to do more regarding how minority communities can drive success in what Deputy Secretary Poneman called “a critical-mission space.” Key points included challenges and opportunities for the Obama Administration’s commitment to America’s leadership in accelerating the global energy transformation, the importance of energy and infrastructure resilience to withstand impacts of climate change and severe weather, and working across sectors to effectively tap the full capabilities of America’s diverse talent pool.

Energy Secretary Moniz introduced the Ambassadors of the Minorities in Energy initiative, including AREVA Inc. CEO Michael Rencheck, and applauded them for their leadership and advocacy. These twenty leaders from the public, private, and civic sectors will play a key role in championing the initiative’s mission and helping effectively and proactively engage minority communities in support of the energy sector.

The Forum also featured three panel sessions on the topics of STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) and workforce development, economic development, and climate change. Since minority communities are often disproportionately impacted by energy issues and climate change, the Minorities in Energy initiative seeks to raise energy and climate change awareness and engagement among minority populations.

These are also important topics for AREVA, and guide our commitments in hiring a diverse workforce (including veterans), strengthening regional economies with steady and safe energy generation, engaging with small and minority-owned business suppliers, and providing our utility customers with a competitive portfolio of advanced clean energy technologies.

We proudly support the vision articulated by the Minorities in Energy initiative, and agree that stakeholders must work together to ensure minority communities both benefit from and engage in leading the advancement of U.S. energy technology and infrastructure.

December 16, 2011 | 12:08 pm

“Investing in a 21st Century American Workforce”

20111216-120617.jpgCorporate Voices for Working Families released a new study today covering important ground, especially given the state of the U.S. economy, the pressing need to create new and good jobs, and encouraging a broad-based American prosperity.

The study focues on several case studies describing how “several respected American employers invest in education, training, and the basic workforce readiness of their employees, with a particular focus on the needs of entry-level and lower-skilled associates.”

We were very honored to be one of those case studies highlighting our program in Virginia …

“AREVA, a global energy corporation, partners with Central Virginia Community College, on a training program through which employees pursue their higher education while working at the company. Successful candidates earn an associate degree in Nuclear Support Technologies, in a curriculum specially tailored to the labor market needs of AREVA.”

Corporate Voices for Working Families is “the leading national business membership organization shaping conversations and collaborations on public and corporate policy issues involving working families.” As an engaged corporate citizen, AREVA continues championing the perspective that U.S. energy policy choices are part of the much bigger picture impacting a revitalized 21st Century American workforce, and we are very proud to be listed along with the other great efforts described in the paper.

Read the full study here.

November 25, 2011 | 1:11 pm

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend

We here at the AREVA North America blog thought we should take a moment to share our thanks to all of you our readers. We appreciate your interest, insightful comments, and encouragement. And we are thankful for our fellow bloggers in the nuclear and energy blog community, which we consider ourselves very fortunate to be a part of. We wish you all very Happy Thanksgiving.

November 23, 2011 | 12:06 pm

Quote of the Day

“Nuclear power now accounts for nearly 14% of electricity generated in the world with 440 active reactors in 30 countries…”

- From the AFP article, “The Role of Nuclear in the World