The International Energy Agency's Net Zero by 2050 report highlights nuclear energy's key role in the world's transition to net-zero emissions and warns that failing to act quickly on nuclear power would increase energy transition costs and jeopardize the success of the initiative. "In advanced economies, decisions need to be made about the construction and the large number of nuclear power plants that may be retired over the next decade absent action to extend their lifetimes and make the required investment," the report said.
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QuesTek Innovations has received $1.1 million in Small Business Innovation Research Phase 2 funding from the Department of Energy to develop cold sprayable refractory materials and 3D printing processes for use in molten salt reactors. QuesTek plans to explore new refractory alloy designs using niobium, tungsten and tantalum to improve the corrosion resistance and temperature stability of MSRs.
SHINE Medical Technologies has won a Nuclear Regulatory Commission exemption from what it calls "unnecessarily restrictive" definitions for commercial-grade equipment to be used at its medical isotope production facility under construction in Janesville, Wis. In its exemption request, SHINE wrote that "[t]his flexibility is particularly necessary in situations in which few or no suppliers are available with a quality assurance program which meets a quality assurance standard endorsed by the NRC and Part 21 procedures."
Europe needs a stable, long-term nuclear investment policy to reduce stakeholder risk, ensure affordable power for ratepayers and smooth financing procedures for new nuclear projects, which are essential to the EU's carbon neutrality goal, according to a report from Foratom. "EU governments play a major role in contributing to maintaining an affordable financing cost profile for large EU-based infrastructure such as nuclear," said Foratom Director-General Yves Desbazeille.
The Biden administration will not exclude nuclear power from its climate plan despite concerns raised by some environmental groups and the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, national climate adviser Gina McCarthy said during a virtual summit. "In many areas, continuation of the existing nuclear, as long as it's environmentally sound and it's permitted, is going to be absolutely essential" McCarthy said.
Testing delays will likely push the startup date of the first new unit at the Vogtle nuclear power plant in Georgia into 2022, Georgia Power announced Tuesday. Separately, Georgia's Public Service Commission voted to hold two days of hearings in mid-October to decide how much of the cost of building two new reactors at the plant will be shouldered by ratepayers.
The Department of Energy wants a permit change allowing for the construction of a fifth air shaft at its Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico to improve ventilation for underground operators. The project is expected to cost around $197 million and be completed in three to four years.
The Pembrokeshire County Council in South Wales has backed calls to provide a local site for the UK Atomic Energy Authority's proposed Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production prototype fusion plant. Several other sites are vying for the STEP program, which is expected to produce a concept design by 2024 and complete construction of the prototype plant by 2040.
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