Despite plants closing and just two new reactor projects beginning construction in the last 30 years, five companies have obtained construction and operating licenses so they can build new reactors in the future. "Having the COL in hand provides us with valuable option to move forward, if and when it make sense to do so," Dominion spokesman Richard Zuercher said.
A planned nuclear plant from startup NuScale Power would follow wind energy from the Horse Butte Wind Project in Idaho and produce more or less power based on demand. NuScale's small modular nuclear reactors allow the company to switch off individual modules to decrease output efficiently.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry told the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on Thursday that the US should focus on small modular reactors to drive a revival of its nuclear industry. The budget for fiscal year 2018 allots $20 million to early-stage research and development to support advanced SMR designs, Perry said.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry told lawmakers that the US has a "moral obligation" to address the issue of storing used nuclear fuel, with restarting the licensing of the Yucca Mountain repository and establishing an interim storage facility as the first steps toward that end. "An interim storage capability also adds flexibility to the system that will move materials from sites across the country to its ultimate disposition," he said.
Russia has offered Bangladesh what is being called the world's most advanced reactor for the country's first nuclear power plant and may offer it to India for the second Russian-built set of six reactors. The Generation III Plus reactor has additional automated safety systems in case of an emergency and is the first built with "post-Fukushima" safety standards.
To reach global goals of carbon reduction, it's essential to invest in low-carbon technologies, including nuclear energy, the International Energy Agency said. While nuclear is the largest low-carbon energy source in the US and Europe, many nuclear power plants will reach the end of their permitted life span in the 2020s, so new nuclear plants are needed to keep the power source in the energy mix.
In the Justice Department's first antitrust win since President Donald Trump took office, a judge ruled against the EnergySolutions and Waste Control Specialists merger, which the companies argued was necessary to keep the latter in business. The companies are the only two radioactive waste disposal facilities for most of the country, and the DOJ said it's necessary to protect competition at this critical time in the nuclear energy sector as decommissioning projects are awarded in coming years.
After making comments Tuesday about the potential for interim storage at the Nevada Test Site that surprised Gov. Brian Sandoval, Energy Secretary Rick Perry clarified that no decisions have been made on where used nuclear fuel will be stored. Though he mentioned sites in Nevada, New Mexico and Texas, there are no plans for interim storage at those sites, and he said he meant to convey that he wants to coordinate with officials and find a resolution to the storage problem.
A bill passed by the House of Representatives on Tuesday amends the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to allow ratepayers to nonprofit partners to access the nuclear production tax credit. The legislation also would remove the requirement that nuclear facilities must be operating by the end of 2020 to receive the tax credit.
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