Nuclear Innovation Alliance releases new reports on advanced nuclear technology

October 14, 2021, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The Nuclear Innovation Alliance (NIA) has followed up its report, Advanced Nuclear Technology: A Primer, published last month, with the release of two new reports on the subject—one for policymakers, the other for investors.

For policymakers: According to the NIA, Advanced Nuclear Reactors for State Policymakers, in Brief provides an overview of enabling federal policies and looks at state options to incentivize local development of advanced reactors. In addition, the report features a series of “topical briefs” on the characteristics of advanced reactors with respect to safety, economic benefits, waste remediation, flexibility and dispatchability, and timing and development. The report also contains case studies of state-specific advanced nuclear projects such as the Natrium reactor demonstration project in Wyoming, Energy Northwest’s plans in Washington state, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems’ consortium for the first light water small modular reactor, and the Nuclear Alternative Project in Puerto Rico.

Congress urged to include advanced nuclear in clean-energy tax credits

October 13, 2021, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The Breakthrough Institute, an environmental research center founded by Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, last week sent a letter to congressional leaders arguing that advanced nuclear energy needs to be included in legislation proposing an expansion of federal tax credits for clean energy.

Granholm, Grossi prepare for 2022 nuclear ministerial conference

September 22, 2021, 12:02PMNuclear News
U.S. energy secretary Jennifer Granholm and IAEA director general Rafael Mariano Grossi pose for a photo before their September 21 meeting announcing the next International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

U.S. energy secretary Jennifer Granholm and International Atomic Energy Agency director general Rafael Mariano Grossi met in Vienna yesterday during the agency’s 65th General Conference to launch preparations for the next IAEA International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century, slated for October 26–28, 2022, in Washington, D.C.

ANS URGES CONGRESS TO DEVELOP U.S. FUEL SUPPLY FOR ADVANCED NUCLEAR

September 15, 2021, 3:42PMUpdated September 15, 2021, 3:43PMPress Releases

The United States Congress needs to take swift action to build a domestic supply of fuel for advanced reactors and to avoid future dependence on Russia for advanced nuclear fuel, the American Nuclear Society wrote in a Sept. 14 letter to the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Leaders of advanced nuclear in Canada interviewed in new video

September 14, 2021, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Nuclear Energy TV has teamed with the U.S. Nuclear Industry Council (USNIC) to launch the third program in its “Advanced Nuclear Energy Spotlight” series. According to its website, Nuclear TV is a “community-based Internet TV channel for live and on-demand nuclear energy industry video programming."

U.K. presents plan for hydrogen economy

August 27, 2021, 7:02AMNuclear News

The U.K. government last week announced the release of its UK Hydrogen Strategy, predicting thousands of jobs and billions of pounds in investment and export opportunities over the coming decades via the creation of a low-carbon hydrogen sector in Britain.

A flourishing, U.K.-wide hydrogen economy could be worth £900 million (about $1.2 billion) and create over 9,000 high-quality jobs by 2030, according to the government, potentially rising to 100,000 jobs and worth up to £13 billion (about $18 billion) by 2050.

Report: GHG reductions will flatline without existing and advanced nuclear

August 17, 2021, 3:09PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Carbon emission reductions from the power sector are likely to flatline after 2025 unless clean energy innovations and net-zero commitments from utilities pick up steam, concludes a report out this month from ClearPath, a conservative, Washington, D.C.–based clean energy nonprofit organization.

Clear Path to a Clean Energy Future: The Role of Utility Commitments on the Path to 2050 is the inaugural edition of a report to be published annually to track power sector trends and model the impacts of new technologies and policies. For the 2021 analysis, the authors engaged the research firm Rhodium Group to model ClearPath-designed scenarios using RHG-NEMS, a version of the National Energy Modeling System developed by the Energy Information Administration.

Bill calling for advanced nuclear PPAs introduced

August 13, 2021, 9:01AMNuclear News

Luria.

Newhouse.

Reps. Dan Newhouse (R., Wash.) and Elaine Luria (D., Va.) late last month introduced legislation to establish a long-term nuclear power purchase agreement program that would direct the secretary of energy to enter into one or more agreements to purchase nuclear power from reactors licensed after January 2020. Dubbed the Nuclear Power Purchase Agreements Act, the bill would also require the secretary to enter into one national security–related nuclear power purchase agreement prior to 2026 to provide reliable and resilient power in “remote off-grid” and emergency scenarios.

Bill to preserve, expand U.S. nuclear energy sector reintroduced

July 19, 2021, 7:02AMNuclear News

Capito

A bipartisan group of senators has reintroduced the American Nuclear Infrastructure Act (ANIA), initially introduced last fall in the previous Congress. Sponsors include Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R., W.Va.), the ranking member of the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee; John Barrasso (R., Wyo.); Cory Booker (D., N.J.); Mike Crapo (R., Idaho); and Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.).

Last month, the American Nuclear Society joined 23 other nuclear-focused entities in signing a letter to those lawmakers urging reintroduction of the bill.

Biden, senators agree to infrastructure deal

June 25, 2021, 9:33AMNuclear News

Manchin

Biden

President Biden struck an infrastructure deal yesterday with a bipartisan group of senators to provide new investments for electric utilities, transportation, broadband, and other projects.

The deal coincided with a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee (SENR) hearing yesterday, which examined the infrastructure needs of the U.S. energy sector and considered the legislative proposal released last week by SENR chairman Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) . The proposal, labeled a "discussion draft," is currently in play for ongoing bipartisan infrastructure negotiations and includes provisions that would comply with rules on budget reconciliation, including a section that fully funds the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program and other Energy Act of 2020 programs. Manchin's proposal would also look to create a Department of Energy grant program for at-risk nuclear plants on an as-needed basis.

Biden administration’s proposed FY 2022 budget supports nuclear

June 3, 2021, 3:02PMNuclear News

The Biden administration’s fiscal year 2022 budget sent to Congress last week would, according to the Department of Energy, move the United States toward net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The FY 2022 budget request includes $1.85 billion for the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy.

“President Biden’s budget request puts America in the driver's seat as we transition toward a 100 percent clean energy economy,” said secretary of energy Jennifer Granholm on May 28. “These investments will ensure the U.S. is the global leader in research, development, and deployment of critical energy technologies to combat the climate crisis, create good-paying union jobs, and strengthen our communities in all pockets of America.”

U.S. and France commit to “common ambition” on advanced nuclear

June 2, 2021, 3:12PMNuclear News

U.S. energy secretary Jennifer Granholm and French minister for the ecological transition Barbara Pompili issued a joint statement on May 28 in which they pledged to work together to meet shared climate goals.

“France and the United States share common goals and common resolve in fighting climate change and working toward reaching the ambitious target set forth by the Paris agreement,” the statement read. “We are united in a common ambition on both sides of the Atlantic: achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Reaching this common objective will require leveraging all currently existing emission-free technologies available to us while simultaneously intensifying research, development, and deployment across a suite of zero-emissions energy sources and systems. Ensuring that these energy systems are efficient and reliable, integrating larger shares of renewables coupled with nuclear energy, which is a significant part of today’s electricity production in both our countries, will be crucial to accelerate energy transitions. Reaching this common objective will also require a wide variety of favorable financing conditions across the range of zero-emitting power sources and systems.”

NuScale to explore SMR deployment in central Washington

May 27, 2021, 9:31AMNuclear News
An artist's rendering of the NuScale plant. Image: NuScale

Portland, Ore.–based NuScale Power has announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Grant County Public Utility District (Grant PUD) to evaluate the deployment of NuScale’s advanced nuclear technology in central Washington state.

More encouraging words on nuclear from Biden climate advisor

May 24, 2021, 3:14PMANS Nuclear Cafe

McCarthy

Despite the discordant, antinuclear note struck by President Biden’s environmental justice panel in a recent report, other administration officials continue to signal support for nuclear energy.

In an interview with the Washington Post last week touting the president’s American Jobs Plan, White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy reiterated her belief that nuclear energy is key to the administration’s stated goal of 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2035 and net-zero emissions by 2050.

Advanced reactor economics and markets

May 21, 2021, 2:41PMNuclear NewsCharles Forsberg and Eric Ingersoll
TerraPower and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy jointly developed the sodium-cooled Natrium reactor with the turbine hall, nitrate heat storage tanks, and cooling towers separated from the reactor at the back of the site.

The viability of nuclear power ultimately depends on economics. Safety is a requirement, but it does not determine whether a reactor will be deployed. The most economical reactor maximizes revenue while minimizing costs. The lowest-cost reactor is not necessarily the most economical reactor. Different markets impose different requirements on reactors. If the capital cost of Reactor A is 50 percent more than Reactor B but has characteristics that double the revenue, the most economical reactor is Reactor A.

The most important factor is an efficient supply chain, including on-site construction practices. This is the basis for the low capital cost of light water reactors from China and South Korea. The design of the reactor can significantly affect capital cost through its impact on the supply chain. The question is, how can advanced reactors boost revenue and reduce costs?

Time for Illinois’s nuclear advocates to turn up the volume

May 21, 2021, 9:29AMNuclear News

The Illinois State Capitol in Springfield. Photo: Teemu008/Wikipedia

As Illinois lawmakers race to hammer out a compromise clean energy bill before the current legislative session adjourns on May 31, advocacy group Nuclear Matters is asking members of the state’s nuclear community to speak up in support of state aid for the struggling Byron and Dresden nuclear plants, both of which are scheduled to be prematurely retired later this year by Exelon.

Nuclear Matters has launched a letter-writing campaign to encourage individuals to contact their representatives via a pre-drafted letter to urge passage of legislation that will provide that aid. The letter is one of general support for Illinois’s nuclear plants and not an endorsement of any specific measure.

Group calls for NRC licensing fee reform to spur advanced nuclear

May 20, 2021, 2:59PMNuclear News

The Nuclear Innovation Alliance (NIA) yesterday released a report, Unlocking Advanced Nuclear Innovation: The Role of Fee Reform and Public Investment, arguing that a reform of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s user-fee model for new license applicants, combined with more funding for advanced reactor licensing and regulatory infrastructure, will unlock innovation and support U.S. leadership in advanced nuclear energy.

The 38-page report asserts that as currently structured, the NRC’s fee model inhibits carbon-free advanced nuclear innovation in two primary ways: First, it limits the agency’s resources, flexibility, and efficiency; and second, the open-ended costs associated with paying fees impose barriers to new entrants.

Report: Existing and advanced nuclear best for meeting Illinois’s climate goals

May 18, 2021, 12:10PMNuclear News

Among the 12 energy-mix scenarios analyzed in a new report from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, maintaining the current Illinois reactor fleet while also investing in advanced nuclear technology and renewable energy is the most economical path to zero carbon for the state. It is also, says the report, the path that generates the lowest lifecycle carbon emissions.

The 26-page report, Economic and Carbon Impacts of Potential Illinois Nuclear Plant Closures: The Cost of Closures, was coauthored by Kathryn Huff, who was recently appointed principal deputy assistant secretary for nuclear energy at the Department of Energy, along with Madicken Munk, a research scientist in the university’s Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering (NPRE) Department, and Sam Dotson, a graduate researcher in NPRE’s Advanced Reactors and Fuel Cycle Analysis group. Financial support for the report was provided by Nuclear Matters.

Nebraska ponders advanced nuclear

May 13, 2021, 6:59AMNuclear News

Bostelman

Companies that build advanced nuclear reactors in Nebraska would be eligible for tax incentives should a measure now being considered by that state’s lawmakers, Legislative Bill 84, become law.

Under L.B. 84, sponsored by Sen. Bruce Bostelman (R., 23rd Dist.), a renewable energy firm that uses nuclear energy to produce electricity could take advantage of the ImagiNE Nebraska Act—a business tax incentive program signed into law by Gov. Pete Ricketts in August of last year. The bill adds “nuclear electric power generation” to the act’s list of renewable energy sources qualifying for incentives. (Sources already listed in the act include wind, solar, energy storage, geothermal, hydroelectric, biomass, and transmutation of elements.)

Bill to spur clean energy investment brought back in Senate

April 12, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News

Moran

Coons

Sens. Chris Coons (D., Del.) and Jerry Moran (R., Kan.) late last month reintroduced legislation to give investors in clean energy projects, including advanced nuclear, access to a tax advantage currently available only to fossil fuel investors. The bipartisan bill, the Financing Our Energy Future Act (H.B. 1034), was initially introduced in June 2019.

The measure would enable clean energy companies to form master limited partnerships (MLPs)—business ventures that combine the tax benefits of private partnerships (where profits are taxed only when investors receive distributions) with the liquidity of publicly traded companies. By statute, MLPs are currently available only to investors in energy portfolios for oil, natural gas, coal extraction, and pipeline projects.