SMR developers form advocacy group in DC

  • Leading developers and potential customers of small modular reactors (SMR) have formed a consortium, called SMR Smart, to advance the commercialization of the innovative light water reactor designs
  • Also, developers of advanced nuclear reactors are pleased with their DC summit meeting held last week. 

NEI engages with SMR developers

The organization SMR Smart is designed to help accelerate the commercialization of SMRs by creating an industry-driven entity in which potential reactor owners/operators would be a unified voice in a variety of policy and regulatory issues and in creating cost-share funding structures.

“This is an exciting day for the nuclear energy industry as SMR Start will bring together the best minds and leading advocates of this technology to capitalize on its potential applications at home and abroad,” said Dan Lipman, NEI vice president of suppliers and international programs.

“SMRs can be the best option in some markets and countries not suited to large reactors while providing the same reliable, carbon-free electricity.”

The Energy Information Administration forecasts an 18 percent growth in electricity demand by 2040. In light of this forecast and nuclear plant retirements, the U.S. market will need more than 100 new nuclear plants by mid-century to maintain the benefits of a diverse electricity portfolio. Nuclear power plants supply around one-fifth of America’s electricity and nearly 63 percent of its carbon-free electricity.

Initial SMR Start members include BWX Technologies Inc., Duke Energy, Energy Northwest, Holtec, NuScale, PSEG Nuclear, Southern Co., SCANA and Tennessee Valley Authority. The organization will represent these companies in interactions with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Congress and the executive branch on small reactor issues.

The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) is assisting in the formation of SMR Start and will work closely with the organization on policies and priorities relating to small reactor technology. SMR Start will focus on light-water reactor based SMR designs and will serve as a demonstration to the public and private sectors of small reactor customers’ commitment to the market.

NEI’s actions follow by three months the creation of an independent nonprofit Nuclear Innovation Alliance to promote the interests of advanced nuclear reactor developers.

According to the organization’s web site, the group is motivated by the urgency of reducing carbon emissions from the global energy industry, the NIA brings together diverse nuclear energy stakeholders, including technical experts, nuclear technology companies, investors, environmental organizations and academic institutions.

Collectively, the NIA and these stakeholders will be striving to improve the policy, funding and market environment essential for rapid commercialization of innovative nuclear technology.

Developers of Advanced Reactors Pleased with DC Summit

Third Way, in partnership with the Idaho National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, today hosted the first ever Advanced Nuclear Summit The event brought together policymakers, innovators and investors who are developing advanced nuclear technology. Held at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., these experts participated in a series of panel discussions about the latest breakthroughs.

Full details including the agenda and list of speakers is available at the conference web site.  A video of the entire three hour meeting is available on YouTube.  A photo album from the event is posted on Flickr.

“The Advanced Nuclear Summit symbolizes the monumental progress that has been made over the last decade to develop affordable, reliable, safe, and clean advanced nuclear technology. If commercialized, advanced nuclear can strengthen our grid, help address climate, and maintain a robust domestic nuclear sector,” said Josh Freed, Vice President for the Clean Energy Program.

Balancing climate concerns and the growing energy demands of the developing world is one of the great challenges of the 21st century.

“Advanced nuclear provides a path where we can both lift billions people around the world out of energy poverty and cut carbon emissions at the same time,” said Rachel Pritzker, Founder and President of the Pritzker Innovation Fund, and Third Way Board Member.

In North America, 48 companies, backed by more than $1.6 billion in private capital, represent a new sector for the research, development and design of advanced nuclear reactors. Several companies were on hand at the Showcase (link to photos) to share the latest news related to their projects.

Speakers noted the progress that has been made in recent years to increase the support, development and commercialization of advanced reactors on the part of Congress, the National Regulatory Commission, the Dept. of Energy and the White House.

In November 2015, the Obama administration announced its 2017 budget plan includes $900 million in new funding to support the federal research, development and demonstration efforts in nuclear energy. Much of this work will be conducted under the U.S. Dept. of Energy Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear or GAIN initiative. The Idaho National Laboratory will serve as private industry’s main point of access to federal experts and facilities.

“There are several different concepts and classes of advanced reactors being pursued and the GAIN initiative helps to create a thriving ecosystem for innovation that fosters private investment and activates the government’s investment in our national labs,” said Mark Peters, Idaho National While these and other announcements illustrate the support around the technology, panelists acknowledged the great deal of work that needs to be done to provide a clear path forward for advanced nuclear innovation in the U.S.

“What the Advanced Nuclear Summit demonstrates is that there is a robust advanced nuclear sector being developed by private companies and research institutions,” said Freed. “The next step, which Washington is already beginning to address in a rare bipartisan moment, is to modernize how the federal government supports private innovation and regulates new nuclear technologies.”

Advanced Nuclear Reactor Information Resources from Third Way

  • E-BINDER: Everything You Need to Know About America’s Advanced Nuclear Resurgence – a quick and easy backgrounder, including key facts about the advanced nuclear industry in the United States, explainers about the financial and regulatory obstacles for the newest generation of advanced reactors, and policy ideas to resolve them.
  • REPORT: Introducing the Advanced Nuclear Industry – Third Way has identified a new generation of engineers, entrepreneurs, and investors, along with several established nuclear companies, who are working to commercialize innovative and advanced nuclear reactors in North America.
  • INFOGRAPHIC: Introducing the Advanced Nuclear Industry – A new generation of engineers, entrepreneurs and investors are working to commercialize innovative and advanced nuclear reactors.
  • REPORT: Nuclear Energy Renaissance Set to Move Ahead Without U.S. – This analysis shows that the U.S. under-spends on advanced nuclear R&D. Worse, other countries outspend the U.S. in nuclear R&D, meaning the U.S. risks losing its international leadership on nuclear energy and mitigating climate change, as well as a slice of the $1 trillion in nuclear infrastructure the world needs by 2035.
  • REPORT: Regulating New Types of Nuclear Reactors – Advanced nuclear today faces a significant regulatory roadblock; there is no timely pathway for the federal government to approve the license for these new, very different reactor designs.

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