The results, issued late last month, include information from 17 USNIC-member advanced nuclear developers on topics such as federal and state policies, types of reactors in development, U.S./Canadian licensing, need for control room operators, Nuclear Regulatory Commission fees, Department of Energy programs, and high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU). In addition, 24 companies (the 17 member firms plus seven nonmember firms) provided their perspectives on the NRC’s planned 10 CFR Part 53 regulation of advanced reactors.
Cyril Draffin, USNIC senior fellow for advanced nuclear, said: “This is a meaningful, detailed survey. We received rankings and detailed comments on 42 questions, 50 percent more than the 27 questions in last year’s survey. And for Part 53 questions—new this year—we received responses from 100 percent of DOE Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program, Risk Reduction, and Advanced Research Concepts awardees and from 75 percent of all non–light water reactor developers.”
Top two issues: According to the USNIC, the two issues that developers are losing the most sleep over are (1) the need to provide multi-decade availability of HALEU for advanced reactor deployment, and (2) the ability to sell and deploy 10 to 20 commercial units (after initial demonstrations). Addressing these issues, the USNIC says, is important for the advanced nuclear industry’s health and to prove that advanced nuclear can substantially contribute to the world’s clean energy goals. The availability of HALEU was also the top issue in the USNIC’s 2020 survey.