June Nuclear News Roundup
As we step into the second half of 2023, it's the perfect time to reflect on the key nuclear news stories from June that have piqued our interest. This month, we focus on major developments from the US, UK, and France, which have underlined the importance of nuclear power in the future energy mix.
Consent-Based Siting Approach Gains Momentum in the US
In a move that acknowledges the critical role of community consent in nuclear waste management, the US Department of Energy (DOE) has dedicated $26 million to support a consent-based approach to siting nuclear waste facilities. This funding will be spread across thirteen project teams from universities, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector.
The teams will partner with interested communities, applying a fresh approach to managing nuclear waste. Rather than dictating terms, this initiative emphasizes engagement with communities, collecting their feedback and incorporating it into the decision-making process. US Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, reaffirmed the importance of this community-focused approach.
Interestingly, the process is in its earliest stage, and no communities are currently being sought for volunteering. Instead, the initial focus is on refining the process and developing strategies to promote understanding and cooperation between the DOE and the communities involved.
US-UK Civil Nuclear Partnership Unveiled
A significant new partnership has been announced between the US and the UK. The formation of the Joint Standing Committee on Nuclear Energy Cooperation symbolizes a major step forward in developing secure, reliable, and clean nuclear power.
The partnership aims to improve energy security and create economic opportunities by establishing civil nuclear fuel fabrication and supply capacity in both countries. It's a move designed to reduce reliance on Russia, signaling a significant shift in energy policy.
The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) and the UK Nuclear Industry Association (UKNIA) have applauded this initiative, committing to work with the new committee to secure long-term, sustainable energy security for the global community.
France Invests Big in the Nuclear Sector
France's Ministry of Energy Transition is injecting over €100 million into the country's civil nuclear sector, a move that underscores the nation's commitment to revitalizing its nuclear industry.
The funding will be allocated to various projects, including training programs, modernizing the Large Heavy Ion National Accelerator (GANIL), and supporting start-ups Naarea and Newcleo. There will also be substantial funding for the design phase of Électricité de France's Nuward small modular reactor project.
This significant investment is a reflection of President Emmanuel Macron's vision for the "rebirth of France's nuclear industry". It sets a strong foundation for France's nuclear future, highlighting the importance of building new nuclear reactors and extending the lifespan of existing units.
Nuclear Power Continues To Be an Indispensable Part of Our Global Energy Future
The nuclear power landscape is undergoing dynamic changes, with substantial investments and promising partnerships on the horizon. As we navigate these developments, one thing is clear: nuclear power continues to be an indispensable part of our global energy future. These stories from the US, UK, and France remind us of the ongoing commitment to innovation, cooperation, and community involvement in the nuclear power industry.