Welcome to another installment of our Nuclear News Roundup, where we bring you the latest and most exciting developments in the world of nuclear energy. This month, we've got some groundbreaking stories that highlight the growing momentum and international collaboration in the nuclear sector.
UK and USA Forge Partnership for Fusion Energy Development
A landmark strategic partnership has been announced between the US Department of Energy (DOE) and the UK Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ). This collaboration, signed by US Deputy Secretary of Energy David Turk and the UK's Minister for Nuclear and Networks Andrew Bowie, is set to turbocharge the demonstration and commercialization of fusion energy.
Key aspects of this partnership include:
Joint efforts by UK and US scientists and engineers to address the commercial viability of fusion energy.
Shared access to facilities, sparking new research and development.
Standardization of international regulatory frameworks.
Development of robust supply chains for fusion materials.
An inaugural meeting of a coordinating committee, comprising representatives from national labs, academia, and industry, is scheduled for early 2024. This committee will focus on identifying and advancing priority US-UK collaborative opportunities in fusion energy.
This partnership marks the UK's first formal international fusion collaboration since launching its Fusion Futures Programme and represents a significant step toward a sustainable energy future.
Illinois Moves to Lift Nuclear Construction Ban
In a significant legislative move, Illinois lawmakers have passed H.B. 2473, a bill that aims to lift the state's long-standing ban on new nuclear construction. This decision follows the vetoing of an earlier bill, S.B. 76, by Governor J.B. Pritzker, due to concerns over the broad definition of "advanced reactors" and the lack of regulatory protections.
H.B. 2473, sponsored by Rep. Lance Yednock and Sen. Sue Rezin, addresses these concerns by:
Lifting the nuclear construction moratorium for reactors rated at 300 megawatts or less from January 1, 2026.
Directing agencies to establish rules for reactor decommissioning, environmental monitoring, and emergency preparedness.
This bill is a crucial step for Illinois, where nuclear energy accounts for half of the state's energy and 90% of its carbon-free energy. The bill's passage opens the state to embracing next-generation nuclear technology and reinforces the role of nuclear energy in achieving clean energy goals.
Growing Public Support for Nuclear Energy in the US
Recent surveys by the Pew Research Center and Gallup reveal a significant increase in public support for nuclear energy in the United States. Pew's survey indicates that 57% of Americans favor more nuclear power plants, a substantial rise from previous years. Similarly, Gallup's findings show that 55% of Americans support nuclear energy, marking an 11-point increase since 2016.
Factors contributing to this growing support include:
Rising concerns about climate change and the role of nuclear energy as a clean power source.
Positive developments in the nuclear industry and supportive government policies.
The need for energy independence and the reliability of nuclear power amidst increasing electricity demand.
Additionally, a global survey by the Potential Energy Coalition shows strong support for nuclear energy in countries like Poland, France, and South Korea, with Poland displaying the highest level of support at 84%.
These stories reflect a significant shift in the perception and acceptance of nuclear energy, both nationally and internationally and we couldn’t be more thrilled to see it.
Stay tuned for another installment of our Nuclear News Roundup next month!