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Construction will slip and zero carbon goal become harder TerraPower said its Natrium reactor could be delayed at least two years because of a lack of advanced fuel sources outside Russia. Courtesyy TerraPower. If the US does not work out how to prepare uranium fuel for advanced reactors, the startup of first-of-a-kind plants on which spent billions of dollars have been spent will be delayed, the Breakthrough Institute research centre said.

Construction of subsequent plants will slip into the future, and the goal of a zero-carbon energy system by mid-century, already hard, will become harder.

Breakthrough said fuel was needed for reactors designed to work well with wind and solar on the grid, to replace coal plants, and to do other kinds of work besides making electricity – all in the quest for a zero-carbon economy.

“Construction of subsequent plants will slip into the future, and the goal of a zero-carbon energy system by mid-century, already hard, will become harder,” Breakthrough said.

Some advanced reactors need high assay low-enriched uranium, or Haleu, fuel. Without it “we are likely to have the first few advanced reactors waiting to start up, with no fuel for them in sight,” Breakthrough said.

Date: Friday, 20 January 2023
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The Microsoft co-founder and chair of TerraPower voiced his support for nuclear during a visit to a closed-down coal-fired power plant in the state, but said any decisions on future Natrium plants will depend on the performance of a demonstration plant in Wyoming.

Date: Thursday, 12 January 2023
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Even oil-rich companies of Middle East are eying reactors, as more nations announce plans for SMRs Russian troops occupied the Zaporizhzhia nuclear station, which was damaged by shelling. File photo courtesy IAEA. 2022 was a year of mega milestones for nuclear energy.

Countries around the world turned to nuclear as a reliable low-carbon energy source as they looked for ways to wean themselves off Russian imports and lower carbon emissions.

New plants began operating, deals for small modular reactors were signed and countries announced ambitious plans for new-build.

On the political front, US president Joe Biden signed into law new legislation that will help to finance struggling nuclear reactors and could save dozens from being shut down early. In Europe, the nuclear industry celebrated when members of the European parliament decided to “follow the science” and support legislation which includes nuclear in the bloc’s sustainable finance taxonomy for green investment.

Date: Tuesday, 10 January 2023
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South Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) has said it has received Approval In Principle from the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) for a conceptual design of a Compact Molten Salt Reactor (CMSR) Power Barge - floating offshore NPP – using technology being developed by Denmark’s Seaborg. SHI signed a business agreement with Seaborg in January 2022 to develop a floating NPP and plans to commercialise it by 2028 after completing detailed design of all power generation facilities.

Date: Friday, 06 January 2023
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Portfolio of foreign orders will ‘remain stable’ at $200bn Rosatom director-general Alexey Likhachev. Russia’s state nuclear energy company Rosatom expects its exports to have increased by 15% this year, director-general Alexey Likhachev was quoted as saying by Russian newspaper Izvestia.

Rosatom’s portfolio of foreign orders is set to remain stable at $200bn (€188bn), “even in the current geopolitical situation”, Likhachev said.

He said the supply of Rosatom products and services abroad is expected to top $10bn this year.

The rise in exports this year is due to contracts Rosatom was already implementing, as well as its supplying of fuel, conversion services, and enriched uranium products, Likhachev said.

Rosatom has avoided sanctions related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine because of its importance in the supply chain of the global nuclear power industry.

However, many Western governments and customers have been looking to procure alternative nuclear fuel supply so as not to rely on Russia for part of their energy needs.

Date: Thursday, 29 December 2022
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The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has accepted an application from X-Energy Reactor Company subsidiary, TRISO-X, for a fuel fabrication facility which will use high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU). Anticipating the decision, TRISO-X, in October, broke ground and began construction of the facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The TRISO-X Fuel Fabrication Facility (TF3) is expected to create more than 400 jobs and attract investment of approximately $300 million. TF3 is set to be commissioned and operational by 2025.

Date: Wednesday, 21 December 2022
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US Terrapower’s advanced Natrium nuclear reactor proposed for southwestern Wyoming is expected to be delayed by at least two years, Jeff Navin, TerraPower’s director of external affairs has told the Caspar Star-Tribune. Following Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine, the supply of high assay low enriched uranium (HALEU) needed to fuel the reactor is now in doubt. “We had a plan. It was a very aggressive timeline; we felt pretty confident that we could meet it. But it was all predicated on having our first coreload of fuel come from Russia,” Navin said.

Date: Saturday, 17 December 2022
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Energy Fuels Inc and Peninsula Energy Limited subsidiary Strata Energy Inc have been awarded contracts to supply natural uranium concentrates to establish a federal reserve of domestically produced material. The reserve is intended to be a backup source of supply for US nuclear power plants in the event of a significant market disruption.

Date: Saturday, 17 December 2022
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TerraPower has said it expects operation of the Natrium demonstration reactor to be delayed by at least two years because there will not be sufficient commercial capacity to manufacture high-assay low-enriched uranium fuel in time to meet the proposed 2028 in-service date.

Date: Friday, 16 December 2022
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The US Department of Energy (DOE) has established a high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) consortium. The Consortium will help to inform DOE activities to secure a domestic supply of HALEU, which is considered crucial for the development and deployment of advanced reactors in the USA. Membership is free and open to any US entity, association, and government organisation involved in the nuclear fuel cycle. It also may include organisations whose facilities are in ally or partner nations designated by DOE.

Date: Friday, 09 December 2022
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