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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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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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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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