Biden launches nuclear power projects working group in push to deployment

May 29, 2024, 3:00PMNuclear News

Nuclear energy advocates attended a White House summit today on domestic nuclear deployment and will help advise a new federal initiative to support building new grid-scale nuclear reactors.

The event showcased recent policy developments and new industry investments that have changed the playing field—for the better—for nuclear during the past few years. The White House is calling it “the largest sustained push to accelerate civil nuclear deployment in the United States in nearly five decades.”

U.K. announces new site for mega-nuclear power station

May 28, 2024, 12:00PMNuclear News

The United Kingdom has announced a northern Wales site as its preferred location for a third mega-nuclear power station as the nation aims to support long-term energy security.

Following its plans to build nuclear facilities at Hinkley in Somerset and Sizewell in Suffolk, both in England, U.K. officials hope to revive the nuclear history of Wylfa, in Wales, and bring thousands of jobs and major investment to the area. The government is kickstarting talks with global energy firms in hopes of building a nuclear plant in Wylfa that could provide enough energy to power 6 million homes for 60 years.

G7 pledges support for nuclear at Italy meeting

May 8, 2024, 3:00PMNuclear News

The Group of Seven (G7) recommitted its support for nuclear energy in the countries that opt to use it at a Ministerial Meeting on Climate in Italy last month.

In a statement following the April meeting, the group committed to support multilateral efforts to strengthen the resilience of nuclear supply chains, referencing the goal set by 25 countries during last year’s COP28 climate conference in Dubai to triple global nuclear generating capacity by 2050.

Framatome begins expansion of facilities in Virginia

April 29, 2024, 7:00AMNuclear News
Concept art of Framatome's expansion of its Mill Ridge Road facility in Lynchburg, Va. (Image: Framatome)

An official groundbreaking last week at Framatome’s Mill Ridge Road facility, in Lynchburg, Va., marks the start of a $50 million expansion and an eventual addition of 500 employees, according to the nuclear company.

Nuclear noted as an answer to electricity demands from data centers

March 12, 2024, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The spread of “electricity-hungry data centers and clean-technology factories” throughout the United States is “leaving utilities and regulators grasping for credible plans to expand the nation’s creaking power grid,” according to a recent article in the Washington Post. According to the report, the surge in industrial power requirements due to such factors as innovation in artificial intelligence (AI) and the corresponding construction of large computing infrastructure, is prompting some officials to “look beyond the grid” to ease the “grid bottleneck” and meet electricity demands.

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

Hall

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: Virginia.gov )

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

Granholm

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

Avram

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.”