Nuclear Energy

Amy Sisk / StateImpact Pennsylvania

The partial meltdown of one of Three Mile Island’s nuclear reactors 40 years ago this month left areas of the facility highly radioactive and inaccessible to humans.

Along came a group of young researchers with an idea to send in robots to fix the damage.

Red Whittaker led the team at Carnegie Mellon University, where from time to time he still works on robots for the nuclear industry.

Pennsylvania Power Grid Operator Slams Trump Plan To Aid Coal, Nuclear

Oct 24, 2017
Evan Vucci / AP

The nation's biggest electric grid operator said a Trump administration plan to change the way electricity is priced to reward coal and nuclear power is both unworkable and potentially against the law.

PJM, which operates the grid covering 65 million people from Illinois to Washington, D.C., submitted formal comments on the plan late Monday to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

In a conference call with reporters, PJM's president and CEO, Andy Ott, said the plan by Energy Secretary Rick Perry is not "workable."

Joe Ulrich / WITF

Exelon has announced it will prematurely close the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in September 2019—15 years before its license expires.

The plant’s been unable to compete. Like coal companies, the nuclear power industry faces slowing demand for electricity, along with a glut of cheaper natural gas and renewables. Around the country, five nuclear plants have retired in the past five years, and another five are scheduled to close within a decade.

Westinghouse Files For Bankruptcy Protection

Mar 29, 2017
Keith Srakocic / AP

Japan's embattled Toshiba Corp. said Wednesday that its U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse Electric Co. has filed for bankruptcy protection, marking a key step in its struggles to stop the flow of massive red ink.

Toshiba said in a statement that it filed the Chapter 11 petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of New York. The move had been largely expected.

The Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant will be shut down by 2025. The plan was announced today by the power utility operating the plant, along with labor and environmental groups.

First Energy’s Unit 1 nuclear reactor in Shippingport was shut down Saturday for routine maintenance.

Unit 2 will remain online during this time. Every 18-24 months nuclear reactors must be turned off for upkeep.

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded nearly $1 million to University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering to improve nuclear power plant safety.

Principal investigator and Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering Kevin Chen will use the $987,000 to develop radiation-resistant fiber optic cable sensors capable of measuring properties such as temperature, pressure and hydrogen levels in the event of a nuclear emergency.