Argonne-hosted portal connects U.S. civil nuclear industry with NNSA resources

Argonne-hosted portal connects U.S. civil nuclear industry with NNSA resources

December 1, 2021

The new U.S. Nuclear Nexus web portal, recently launched by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) in collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory, aims to connect U.S. civil nuclear developers with informational resources and expertise of the NNSA and offer a central access point for those seeking to deploy this technology on a global scale.

Nexus is a website with a human interface for U.S. civilian nuclear companies, their partners and academia to engage directly with NNSA resources and access both NNSA guidance and expertise.

Nexus is maintained by Argonne, a key stakeholder in developing the website. The portal is a repository for timely, relevant and up-to-date information on the four key pillars for U.S. industry and academia: international nuclear security, international nuclear safeguards, export control compliance and proliferation resistance in nuclear systems.

“The U.S. nuclear industry expressed a desire to have a ​‘one-stop-shop’ to connect with DOE/NNSA to avoid potential gaps when engaging offices individually,” said Allison Bennett Irion, group leader, nuclear/radiological proliferation analysis & modeling and principal systems engineer for Argonne. ​“The U.S. Nuclear Nexus serves this role for DOE/NNSA. It helps to demystify aspects of how the U.S. nuclear industry can connect with NNSA.”

As U.S. companies engage with international markets, understanding and applying U.S. export control laws and regulations and incorporating international nuclear safeguards (i.e., safeguards by design), international nuclear security (i.e., security by design), and proliferation resistance in nuclear systems are crucial for streamlined nuclear technology deployments.

Nexus encourages integration of international nuclear safeguards and security — along with safety — early in the design process. Additionally, Nexus facilitates industry and academia understanding of export control compliance laws and regulation. Because U.S. laws, regulations and U.S. and international standards are complex, early engagement in the deployment process is critical.

To achieve this integration, Nexus also offers a human interface to connect users directly to the relevant NNSA program offices.

“A lot of the work we do at Argonne is in collaboration with the U.S. nuclear industry, so it’s important that these companies understand the rules regarding international exports or engagements as early in the process as possible,” said Bo Feng, manager, reactor and fuel cycle analysis at Argonne.

Nexus supports NNSA’s nuclear nonproliferation mission.

“U.S. Nuclear Nexus fills a critical need for a single resource so the U.S. nuclear industry can navigate and engage with NNSA on crucial deployment process issues,” said Erna Gevondyan, an Argonne energy systems risk analyst. ​“Argonne is home to this sought-after solution that aims to help further advance U.S. civilian nuclear industry’s global leadership.” She added, ​“We look forward to continuing to work closely with the U.S. civilian nuclear industry using this new tool.”

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