Nuclear News on the Newswire

Hot U market and simmering interest in HALEU: It boils down to demand

For years, pressure has been building for a commercial path to a stable supply of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU)—deemed essential for the deployment of advanced power reactors—but advanced reactor developers and enrichment companies are still watching and waiting. In contrast, the uranium spot price soared after Sprott Physical Uranium Trust, a Canadian investment fund formed in July, began buying up U3O8 supplies, causing the price to increase over 60 percent, topping $50 per pound for the first time since 2012. Fueled by growing acknowledgment that nuclear power is a necessary part of a clean energy future, uranium is the focus of attention from Wall Street to Capitol Hill.

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Granholm, Grossi prepare for 2022 nuclear ministerial conference

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.

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TVA gives up construction permits for Bellefonte units

Nearly 47 years after being issued construction permits for two reactors at the Bellefonte site in northeast Alabama, the Tennessee Valley Authority has decided against renewing them, essentially extinguishing any remaining hope for the project, on which the utility has reportedly spent more than $5 billion.

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Results of advanced nuclear survey released

The U.S. Nuclear Industry Council has released the results of its 2021 Advanced Nuclear Survey.

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.

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IAEA boosts projections for nuclear power’s potential growth

The International Atomic Energy Agency has revised upward its projections regarding the potential growth of nuclear power’s capacity for electricity generation over the next three decades. The upward revision is the first by the IAEA since the Fukushima Daiichi accident in 2011.

Released last week, the 148-page report, Energy, Electricity and Nuclear Power Estimates for the Period up to 2050, provides detailed glimpses into possible nuclear futures in North America; Latin America and the Caribbean; Northern, Western, and Southern Europe; Eastern Europe; Africa; Western Asia, Southern Asia, and Central and Eastern Asia; Southeastern Asia; and Oceania. Global and regional nuclear power projections are presented as low and high cases.

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ANS Standards Committee responds to the industry’s need for PRA and RIPB methodology

For more than two decades, the American Nuclear Society’s Standards Committee has recognized the benefit of incorporating risk-informed and performance-based (RIPB) methodology into ANS standards to improve their effectiveness, efficiency, and transparency. In general, standards using RIPB methods with properly identified and structured objectives need less modification and can be expected to remain valid for much longer periods.

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IP3 signs on to nuclear plant development in Poland

McLean, Va.–based IP3 Corporation and Polish electricity producer Zespół Elektrowni Patnów-Adamów-Konin SA (ZE PAK) signed an agreement earlier this month regarding the development of nuclear power plants in Poland. IP3 is to be ZE PAK’s main advisor in the process, with Georgette Mosbacher, a former U.S. ambassador to Poland (2018–2021) who recently joined the IP3 board, leading the effort for the American company.

ZE PAK is currently involved in various initiatives associated with nuclear technologies for Poland, including a plan to use nuclear power for the production of hydrogen.

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Helping to save the plant safety puzzle: An overview of PRA

Probabilistic risk assessments (PRAs) have advanced the safe operation of the U.S. reactor fleet over many decades. Risk insights from PRAs have provided information from many different perspectives, from what is most important to maintain at a facility to a better understanding of how to address new information regarding safety issues. The methods and tools that have supported the creation and enhancement of PRA models were established through multiple decades of research, starting with WASH-1400, The Reactor Safety Study,1 published in 1975, through the comprehensive plant-specific models in use today.

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NuScale advances work with BWXT, builds out Canada’s SMR supply chain

NuScale Power announced earlier this week that manufacturing process development work on its small modular reactor—the NuScale Power Module—is advancing at BWXT Canada Ltd.’s Cambridge, Ontario, facility in preparation for module fabrication. NuScale said that this work is critical to the development of its SMR technology and is an example of the supply chain development opportunities for Canadian companies with the requisite power plant equipment expertise.

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