Can hydrogen be the transportation fuel in an otherwise nuclear economy?

March 28, 2024, 3:00PMNuclear NewsJames Conca

Let’s face it: The global economy should be powered primarily by nuclear power. And it probably will by the end of this century, with a still-significant assist from renewables and hydro. Once nuclear systems are dominant, the costs come down to where gas is now; and when carbon emissions are reduced to a small portion of their present state, it will become obvious that most other sources are only good in niche settings. I mean, why use small modular reactors to load-follow when they can just produce that power instead of buffering it?

UAE’s Barakah-4 unit reaches start-up

March 6, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News
Unit 4 at the Barakah nuclear power plant. (Photo: Nawah)

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation announced last week start-up at its fourth nuclear unit at the Barakah plant in the UAE.

The plant is run by ENEC’s operating and maintenance subsidiary Nawah Energy Company. In the coming weeks, Unit 4 will be linked to the national electricity grid and undergo testing as power production is gradually increased to full capacity.

Reflections from COP28

January 31, 2024, 7:00AMANS News

The American Nuclear Society is hosting "Reflections from COP28," an online panel discussion this Friday, February 2, from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. (ET). The talk will look back at the event last December and will look ahead to the implications of what transpired in Dubai.

Registration for the free webinar is required.

Turning the tide

January 26, 2024, 9:31AMNuclear NewsPatrick O’Brien

Patrick O'Brien

The adage “a rising tide raises all boats” keeps coming to my mind whenever I think about the work ahead for small modular reactor and advanced reactor development companies. The groundwork being laid by the entire industry is key to moving the whole group forward together. The drive to construct new nuclear will need to include all sizes, designs, and companies, because unlike in many industries, there is no way there can only be one “winner” if we are to meet climate goals.

Recently, at global climate summit COP28, a large portion of the international community announced a joint aim to triple worldwide nuclear power generation by 2050. This is tremendous news and a huge step in the right direction for many reactor developers. It means that the work developers are doing now will lead to a market for their product for years to come. The questions we must all be asking are “How do we get there?” “Who is going to take the leap of faith to build the first-of-a-kind designs?” and “What challenges lie ahead?”

2023 in Review: October–December

January 16, 2024, 3:01PMNuclear News

Another calendar year has passed. Before heading too far into 2024, let’s look back at what happened in 2023 in the nuclear community. In today's post, compiled from Nuclear News and Nuclear Newswire are what we feel are the top nuclear news stories from October through December 2023.

Stay tuned for the top stories from the rest of the past year.

Notes from COP28

January 2, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy

Dubai, UAE—

If you have followed the coverage of the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, commonly known as COP28, you probably have figured out that it’s a bit of a three-ring circus: part diplomatic summit, part industry meeting, and part Comic-Con.

The pedestrian avenues of Expo City Dubai unfurl in a flower-like shape and require sustained situational awareness. Look down at your phone for a moment, and you are just as likely to run into the security detail for a head of state as you are a group of indigenous tribe members sporting full face paint and ceremonial regalia. However, once you get over the surreality of the place, it begins to make sense.

Traditionally, COPs are divided into two areas. The inner Blue Zone, managed by the UN, is where country delegations meet to finalize and present their “gift baskets” of voluntary carbon emission reductions, while so-called observer organizations (including the American Nuclear Society) hover at the edges, hoping to get a glimpse of the progress.

Nuclear energy has watershed moment at COP28

December 22, 2023, 7:02AMANS Nuclear CafeSeth Grae

What happened at COP28, the annual United Nations climate event held this year in Dubai, was the greatest outpouring of global support for nuclear power the world has seen since the thunderous reception to Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace call exactly 70 years ago. For the first time, nuclear energy was specifically mentioned in the closing statement of a COP event as one possible way to combat climate change.

ENEC-EPRI report describes decarbonization with nuclear energy

December 21, 2023, 7:01AMANS Nuclear Cafe

A new report from the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) describes the use of nuclear energy to decarbonize some activities normally powered by oil and gas.

Decarbonization Strategies for Upstream Oil and Gas Operations with Advanced Nuclear Technologies, prepared by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under contract to EPRI, was intended to “inform broader discussions around decarbonization [oil and gas] operations” at COP28, held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from November 30 to December 12.

After a historic COP28, it’s what happens next that matters

December 14, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
Applause at the conclusion of COP28. (Photo: Kiara Worth/UN Climate Change)

The United Nations' Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, closed on December 13 after debate on a “global stocktake” pushed negotiations a full day past the scheduled end date. Though advocates hoping for a phaseout of fossil fuels were ultimately disappointed and must settle for “transitioning away,” another first—after 30 years of global climate conferences—is the inclusion of nuclear energy among the zero-emissions and low-emissions technologies that still could, if deployment is accelerated, support deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

COP28: American Nuclear Society cheers nuclear-inclusive climate deal

December 13, 2023, 12:01PMPress Releases

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES — Statement from American Nuclear Society (ANS) Executive Director and CEO Craig Piercy on the finalized text of the first global stocktake of the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC):

“On behalf of our 10,000 members around the world, the American Nuclear Society applauds the nuclear-inclusive climate deal reached at COP28. This historic climate agreement urges countries to forge ahead on climate progress by accelerating the deployment of zero-carbon technologies, notably embracing nuclear energy, and transitioning away from fossil fuels.

COP28 is the backdrop for new fuel commitments from the U.S. and allies

December 12, 2023, 12:01PMNuclear News

Leaders of five nations that collectively represent 50 percent of the world’s uranium conversion and enrichment capacity—the United States, Canada, Japan, France, and the United Kingdom—are making a habit of meeting on the sidelines of global climate talks to pledge their commitment to securing the nuclear fuel supply chain. On December 7 at the Net Zero Nuclear Summit—an event held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, during the UN Climate Change Conference, or COP28—representatives of those nations announced plans to “mobilize at least $4.2 billion” in government and private investment in enrichment and conversion capacity. The commitment expands on an initial civil nuclear fuel security agreement that the so-called Sapporo 5 reached in April 2023, when they met (as now, on the sidelines) during a G7 Ministers’ Meeting on Climate, Energy, and Environment in Sapporo, Japan.

Lightbridge, Centrus to conduct study for pilot fuel fabrication plant

December 8, 2023, 9:32AMNuclear News

Signing CEOs: Centrus’s Daniel Poneman, left, and Lightbridge’s Seth Grae. (Photo: Lightbridge/X)

Nuclear fuel companies Lightbridge Corporation and Centrus Energy have announced a contract to conduct a front-end engineering and design (FEED) study to add a dedicated Lightbridge Pilot Fuel Fabrication Facility (LPFFF) at Centrus’s American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon, Ohio.

Lightbridge chief executive officer Seth Grae and Centrus CEO Daniel Poneman inked the agreement yesterday at the COP28 conference, currently underway in the United Arab Emirates.

The FEED study, according to the joint announcement, will identify infrastructure and licensing requirements as well as the estimated cost and construction schedule for the LPFFF. Centrus’s wholly owned subsidiary, American Centrifuge Operating, will lead the study, which is expected to be completed sometime next year.

Kerry shares U.S. plan for international fusion energy engagement on COP28 stage

December 7, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News

John Kerry speaks on U.S. fusion energy policy. (Photo: Craig Piercy)

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has a new plan for international partnerships in fusion energy development that would build on over 60 years of collaborative fusion research and development to address the climate crisis and ensure energy security. The plan, first released December 2, was announced December 5 at COP28 in Dubai, UAE, by John Kerry, the U.S. special presidential envoy for climate. He delivered “a call to action” during an Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum. The plan follows on the administration’s Bold Decadal Vision for Commercial Fusion Energy of March 2022, which recognized fusion energy’s increasing technical readiness and strong market interest—$6 billion to date.

“I'm pleased to announce the U.S. international engagement plan for fusion energy,” Kerry said. “This strategy identifies five areas of work that will help us to realize the promise of this technology, and they are R&D, supply chain and marketplace, regulation, workforce, and education and engagement.”

ENEC inks deal with Kazatomprom, MOUs with TerraPower, GEH

December 5, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, president of Kazakhstan (standing), looks on as the commercial uranium fuel supply contract between ENEC and Kazatomprom is signed. (Photo: Kazatomprom)

On the margins of the COP28 climate conference in Dubai, UAE, this week, Barakah nuclear plant owner Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) signed its first commercial uranium fuel supply contract with Kazatomprom, in addition to memorandums of understanding with two U.S.-based advanced reactor developers—TerraPower and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH).

What’s happening in big fusion? A global update

December 5, 2023, 9:35AMNuclear News

One year ago today, researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory achieved a record shot at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) that set the world talking about the potential of fusion energy. And the buzz hasn’t stopped. Fusion energy is getting its most significant attention yet on the world stage at COP28 in Dubai, UAE, where John Kerry, U.S. special presidential envoy for climate, delivered a keynote address today titled “An inclusive fusion energy future,” followed by a panel discussion.

Declaration to triple nuclear energy launched at COP28

December 5, 2023, 7:21AMNuclear News

As expected, a large number of nations at the COP28 climate conference in Dubai have issued a declaration to triple the world’s nuclear power capacity by 2050. John Kerry, U.S. special presidential envoy for climate, joined leaders and ministers from four continents on Saturday to announce the Declaration to Triple Nuclear Energy.