The quest for fusion power has made significant progress in the past decade, and the billions of dollars worth of capital raised in 2021 positions private players to build on that momentum and extend the technology to applications beyond power plant development, such as health care and industrial inspection. On the regulatory front, fusion should enjoy a more streamlined process because unlike fission, "we don't have long-lived waste" and "we don't have the same levels of risks," said General Fusion Chief Financial Officer Greg Twinney.
During a tour of the Tennessee Valley Authority's Watts Bar Nuclear Power Plant, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee highlighted the benefits of nuclear power and vowed to support the TVA's plans to deploy small modular reactors. "From the state's perspective, anything that we can do to support this predictable, low-cost and clean energy production is going to be important for Tennessee, particularly from an economic development standpoint," Lee said.
A bill that would create a framework for introducing small modular reactors to Indiana cleared the state's Senate Utilities Committee on Thursday and now heads to the full Senate for consideration. Nuclear supporters told the committee that SMRs could be suitable for deployment at the sites of retiring coal plants and could help persuade more power-intensive businesses to come to the state.
Scientists at three Energy Department laboratories are carrying out modeling and laboratory experiments as part of the HotBENT international research project, which is looking into how exposure to long-term heat emitted by underground nuclear waste affects bentonite clay, and whether it could be a suitable buffer for waste canisters. "It's important to analyze a range of conditions such as possible host rock materials like the granite, clay rocks, and so on to inform decisions about the most suitable underground location for these nuclear repositories," said Berkeley Lab lead scientist LianGe Zheng.
A new escape room-style class has been introduced at the Hanford Site's Volpentest HAMMER Federal Training Center as part of a respiratory protection course. The activity challenges trainees to solve problems and complete tasks before their air supplies run out, helping workers develop hands-on skills and prepare for real-life scenarios.
The $13.6 billion expansion of Hungary's Paks nuclear power plant, to be performed by Russian nuclear corporation Rosatom, will be among the topics to be discussed by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Russian President Vladimir Putin at an upcoming meeting, according to Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto. Hungary wants to have the two new reactors in operation by 2030, Szijjarto said, but delays and permitting problems have slowed progress.
Russia's first land-based small modular reactor, in Yakutia, is set to become operational in 2028, announced Kirill Komarov of Russian state-owned nuclear corporation Rosatom at the Rosatom SMR Day meeting in Dubai. Rosatom also said it has entered agreements with the Philippines, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan for the potential deployment of SMRs.
President Joe Biden has nominated Kathryn Huff to be assistant secretary of energy at the Energy Department's Office of Nuclear Energy. Huff is a member of the American Nuclear Society and has served as principal deputy assistant secretary of nuclear energy in the department since May 2021.
The inherent intermittency of renewable energy is a problem for the clean energy transition and it's sparking a renewed interest in nuclear power as a reliable power source, painting a bullish picture for the uranium market, which saw a 40% price rally in 2021. "There is a growing realization that nuclear has to be part of the energy mix if countries have any chance of achieving their decarbonization targets, while continuing to provide reliable baseload electricity," said Sprott Asset Management CEO John Ciampaglia.
A bill that would reverse West Virginia's 1996 ban on nuclear power plant construction is gaining momentum in the state legislature, with the Senate Economic Development Committee approving the bill on Wednesday. "You've got these small modular units that are much safer and much more economical that may have an opportunity to be utilized in the state of West Virginia," said state Senate President Craig Blair.
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