Report examines nuclear’s 2023 developments, 2024 trends

February 6, 2024, 7:01AMANS Nuclear Cafe

A new report, A New Nuclear Age: How 2023 Developments Will Impact the Industry in 2024, has been released by Morgan Lewis, a global corporation that provides litigation, corporate, labor and employment, and intellectual property services. Morgan Lewis’s energy specialist attorneys, who compiled the report, reviewed recent developments in rules and guidance from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Department of Energy that have impacted various aspects of the nuclear energy industry. Covered areas include cybersecurity, small modular reactors, advanced reactors, sustainability, export controls, plant decommissioning, microreactors, and fusion systems. Also considered in the report are potential future developments that may further affect the nuclear industry this year.

2024: The State of Advanced Reactors

January 19, 2024, 3:07PMNuclear NewsMatt Wald

Designs for high-tech products, and the start-ups that offer them, will always outnumber the commercial successes. Ditto: many more power plants are proposed than actually get built, no matter what the technology.

This is an axiom of free-market economies, but in early November 2023 it became painfully obvious in the advanced reactor field. NuScale Power, the only advanced reactor that has made it through the licensing gauntlet, acknowledged that the consortium of utilities that was its intended launch customer had failed to put together a feasible package.

New Brunswick releases energy transition plan

December 21, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News

Powering our Economy and the World with Clean Energy—Our Path Forward to 2035 is a new document released by the province of New Brunswick, Canada, that “outlines a 12-year energy road map and supporting strategies for how the energy landscape will transition in New Brunswick and how we will achieve our energy reliability, sustainability, and affordability goals.”

A message at the beginning of the document—signed by the New Brunswick premier Blaine Higgs and minister of natural resources and energy development Mike Holland—notes the importance of engaging New Brunswickers on the province’s energy future. “We will be forming an energy transition working group” to gather input from provincial stakeholders, the letter states.

UAMPS and NuScale drop plans to build SMRs at INL

November 9, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
Concept art of the six-module CFPP at INL, terminated before construction could begin. (Image: NuScale)

Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) and NuScale Power announced November 8 that they have mutually agreed to end the Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP)—a plan to build a set of 77-MWe pressurized water reactors, called NuScale Power Modules, at Idaho National Laboratory. The reactors were intended to provide power to INL and UAMPS customers in Utah and surrounding states with an anticipated start date of 2029.

Investment opportunities for nuclear energy

October 19, 2023, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe


Nuclear energy stocks “have become far more compelling to many investors in recent years,” and “there are good reasons to support this carbon-free source of energy,” according to investment entrepreneur and financial lecturer Jason Hall. In an article recently published by The Motley Fool, Hall discusses the opportunities and risks of investing in nuclear energy companies and offers his perspective on three top nuclear energy stocks.

Nuclear basics and new innovations: Hall started at the beginning, describing the most basic aspects of nuclear energy: the production of heat through fission, the generation of electricity via turbines, and the mining and enrichment of uranium for fuel. He noted that there “are only a small handful of companies with the expertise and financial strength to deal with nuclear reactors, and almost all are either private, state-owned, or the subsidiary operation of a large industrial conglomerate.”

2023 Utility Working Conference: Nuclear and the future of resiliency

August 30, 2023, 8:33AMNuclear News

At the 2023 Utility Working Conference, held August 6–9 on Marco Island in Florida, the second day’s plenary opened with a panel session featuring five nuclear industry executives who discussed the future of nuclear energy and its resiliency in a low-carbon world. Speakers included Tim Rausch, executive vice president and chief nuclear officer with the Tennessee Valley Authority, Robert Schuetz, chief executive officer of Energy Northwest, Sean Sexstone, executive vice president of advanced nuclear at GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, and Pierre Paul Oneid, senior vice president and chief nuclear officer of Holtec International.

SMR survey suggests low awareness but high acceptability

June 19, 2023, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The latest National Nuclear Energy Public Opinion Survey by Bisconti Research, conducted from April 28 to May 5, indicated little awareness of small modular reactors (SMRs). Of 1,000 adults in the United States who were surveyed, only about 20 percent answered “yes” to the question “Have you heard anything about advanced-design nuclear power plants called Small Modular Reactors (SMRs)?” Sixty-seven percent answered “no,” and 14 percent responded “not sure.”

Virginia sites targeted as competitive for SMRs

May 30, 2023, 7:01AMANS Nuclear Cafe
The LENOWISCO region of Virginia, being considered for future SMR siting, is in the far southwestern corner of the state. (Image: )

Seven sites in southwestern Virginia have been identified as “competitive hosting grounds” for small modular reactors by a feasibility study Dominion Engineering, Inc. (DEI) prepared for the LENOWISCO Planning District Commission. (The planning district, based in Duffield, Va., serves the counties of Lee, Wise, and Scott and the city of Norton.) At a May 22 press conference at LENOWISCO’s offices, DEI chemical engineer and principal investigator Chuck Marks said the review represents the “very early stages of, does this region have what it takes to site one of these reactors, successfully deploy and successfully operate. And the answer is overwhelmingly yes,” according to an article in the Cardinal News.

Nuclear Alliance calls for 50 percent increase in EU nuclear capacity by 2050

May 23, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News

Nuclear energy could provide the European Union with “up to 150 GW of electricity capacity by 2050” through the safe operation of existing nuclear facilities, the deployment of 30 to 45 new large reactors, and the development of small modular reactors, according to a statement issued last week by Europe’s Nuclear Alliance, following a meeting in Paris with European commissioner for energy Kadri Simson. Currently, nuclear energy provides the EU with about 100 GW of installed capacity.

Illinois lawmakers approve lifting ban on nuclear plant construction

May 23, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Illinois General Assembly has given the nod to S.B. 0076, a bill that would repeal the state’s decades-old moratorium on new nuclear power plant construction.

After passing the Senate in a 39–13 vote on March 30, the legislation proceeded to the House, where it was amended and approved 84–22 on May 18, then sent back to the Senate for concurrence. Late on May 19, the Senate agreed, 36–14 (with 3 voting “present”), to the proposed amendment. The bill now moves to Gov. J. B. Pritzker’s desk for consideration.

Granholm talks nuclear and other energy issues with WSJ

May 22, 2023, 9:31AMANS Nuclear Cafe


Secretary of energy Jennifer Granholm recently discussed the future of clean energy with Christopher M. Matthews, the U.S. energy editor for the Wall Street Journal. The May 15 live Q&A focused on Granholm’s perspective on the Biden administration’s policies for decarbonization and energy security. Granholm, who mentioned nuclear briefly at beginning of her remarks, returned to the issue at the end of the half-hour interview. In her answer to Matthews’s question, she addressed nuclear industry incentives, safety and waste concerns, next-generation technologies, and fusion.

Fossil fuels? Matthews opened the discussion by noting President Biden’s signing of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) last year, allocating “billions of dollars in tax credits and federal loans to boost green energy, including electric vehicles, hydrogen production, and more.” He added, “At the same time, the administration has called on oil and gas producers to increase drilling to slow inflation and to tamp down energy prices.”

Dominion Energy exec talks SMRs for Virginia

May 16, 2023, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe


At a recent meeting of the Southwest Virginia Energy Research and Development Authority, advanced nuclear was on the docket for discussion. According to an article in the Bristol (Va.) Herald Courier, Dominion Energy vice president for business development Emil Avram discussed Dominion’s plans for developing advanced nuclear facilities featuring small modular reactors in southwestern Virginia, as well as the company’s vision regarding other energy sources.

Avram’s May 9 talk came at a time when Virginia is at the forefront of national efforts to deploy commercial SMRs. Gov. Glenn Youngkin has pledged that the commonwealth will be the first to build and deploy a commercial SMR, with plans to locate it in the coalfield region of southwestern Virginia.

Reuters: India’s nuclear industry may seek foreign investment

May 15, 2023, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe
An Indian postage stamp commemorating the country’s first nuclear reactor at Trombay. (Source: Government of India)

Reuters has reported that India is considering the recommendation of a government panel to overturn the nation’s ban on foreign investment in the domestic nuclear energy industry. The panel—established by think tank Niti Aayog, which is headed by Indian prime minister Narendra Modi—also recommended that policies be revised to allow for greater participation by private Indian companies in the nuclear energy industry, which is currently dominated by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India and Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam, both of which are wholly owned by the government of India. The panel made these recommendations, according to Reuters, so that “both domestic and foreign private companies can complement nuclear power generation by public companies.”

Purdue Boilermakers eye nuclear power for cleaner campus boilers

May 15, 2023, 7:01AMNuclear News

Purdue University and Duke Energy released an interim report on May 10 that documents the first year of an ongoing feasibility study, first announced in April 2022, that could help bring nuclear power to the state of Indiana. No technology has been selected and no decision to build a new nuclear plant has been made at Purdue University or elsewhere in the state, but in the Small Modular Reactor and Advanced Reactor Feasibility Study Interim Report the study participants conclude that “small modular reactors and advanced reactors are a viable option that warrant continued exploration to meet the future carbon-free energy needs of Purdue University and Duke Energy Indiana.”

The blossoming of cooperation between the U.S. and Canada

March 31, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear NewsMatt Wald

The United States and Canadian nuclear industries used to be an example of how two independent teams of engineers facing an identical problem—making electricity from uranium—could come up with completely different answers. In the 1950s, Canada began designing a reactor with tubes, heavy water, and natural uranium, while in the U.S. it was big pots of light water and enriched uranium.

But 80 years later, there is a remarkable convergence. The North American push for a new generation of nuclear reactors, mostly small modular reactors (SMRs), is becoming binational, with U.S. and Canadian companies seeking markets and regulatory certification on both sides of the border and in many cases sourcing key components in the other country.

Nuclearelectrica, ENEC team for nuclear development

March 31, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News
Romanian president Klaus Iohannis (center left) met with UAE president Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (center right) on March 21. The MOU between Nuclearelectrica and ENEC was announced during the meeting. (Photo: Ligia Deca)

Nuclearelectrica has signed a memorandum of understanding with Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) to provide both parties with an enabling framework for potential collaboration on the development and expansion of nuclear energy programs in Romania and the United Arab Emirates, as well as in Central and Eastern Europe.

Donalds, Barnard call for streamlining NRC’s regulatory process

March 27, 2023, 2:59PMNuclear News



“To be frank, any emissions-related climate goals are moonshots without nuclear energy, and next-generation nuclear technology is something that the United States can and SHOULD lead on.” So writes U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds (R., Fla.) and Christopher Barnard, vice president of external affairs for the American Conservation Coalition, in an essay published by RealClear Energy.

Good news: Donalds, one of the strongest advocates for nuclear energy in the U.S. House, and Barnard, publisher and coauthor of Green Market Revolution, begin their essay by noting some recent positive developments for nuclear power. They characterize the initial criticality of Vogtle-3, the first new nuclear reactor built in the United States in about 30 years, as “a monumental achievement for the American nuclear industry.” They praise the Biden administration’s allocation of funds to keep established nuclear plants operational.

Measure to repeal Illinois nuclear construction ban advances

March 2, 2023, 3:13PMNuclear News


A bipartisan effort in the Illinois General Assembly to repeal the state’s decades-old prohibition on new nuclear plant construction made some progress this week when the House Public Utilities Committee voted 18–3 to advance a bill lifting the ban.

Introduced on January 12 by Rep. Mark Walker (D., 53rd Dist.)—who sponsored identical legislation last year—H.B. 1079 would delete language in the Illinois Public Utilities Act that prohibits nuclear plant construction in the state “until the director of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency finds that the United States government, through its authorized agency, has identified and approved a demonstrable technology or means for the disposal of high-level nuclear waste, or until such construction has been specifically approved by a statute enacted by the General Assembly.” The bill has 31 cosponsors—four Democrats and 27 Republicans.

Loviisa approved for operation to 2050

February 23, 2023, 3:02PMNuclear News
The Loviisa nuclear power plant. (Photo: Fortum)

The Finnish government on February 16 granted a new operating license to Fortum Power and Heat Oy for its two Loviisa reactors—twin 507-MWe VVER-440/V213 units—providing them with an additional 20 years of operational life.

Study favors SMRs for use at future electric truck charging stations

January 23, 2023, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The use of small modular reactors would be an excellent, cost-effective way to recharge electric heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs), such as trucks, according to a recent study published in Applied Energy. The Idaho National Laboratory–funded study was conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan.