05.10.2018_No198 / News in Brief

Industry Needs To Start Work ‘Immediately’ On Micro-Reactors For Defence Installations, Says NEI

Research & Development

5 Oct (NucNet): The nuclear industry should immediately begin working with the US regulator to explore options for accelerating the review of micro-reactors and speeding up the process for training and licensing operators, the Nuclear Energy Institute industry group has said.

In a report about the deployment of micro-reactors for domestic US Department of Defence installations, the Washington-based NEI said that by the end of 2019 the DoD should identify the host installation and site requirements, perform an assessment of the designs, and sign a contract or agreement with a reactor developer.

The report urged developers to sustain the development of micro-reactor designs – ranging in size from 0.2 MW to 15 MW – possibly through private-public partnerships with the Department of Energy, with a view to having the first unit operating in seven to 10 years.

The DoD should immediately begin talks with the industry and the regulator to resolve unique regulatory issues associated with the deployment of micro-reactors for a DoD installation, the report said.

It said the DOE should provide high assay low-enriched uranium (Haleu) for the commercial nuclear industry to fabricate fresh fuel, and should support the design, licence and fabrication of larger Haleu transportation packages.

DOE-supplied Haleu is needed for the initial deployment of micro-reactors and other advanced reactor and fuel technologies until there is enough demand to establish a commercial fuel supply.

According to the report, the DoD manages over 500 fixed installations including US Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and numerous Defence Agencies. It is the single largest energy consumer in the US with installation energy accounting for 21% of total federal energy consumption. In fiscal year 2016, DoD installations used 201,410 billion British thermal units (Btu), costing approximately $3.7bn.

The report is online: https://bit.ly/2OG0f4O

Related reports in the NucNet database (available to subscribers):

  • US DOE To Prepare Report On ‘Micro-Reactors’ For Critical infrastructure (News in Brief No.153, 03 August 2018)

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