The Maine Legislature should assemble a group of engineers, economists and business leaders to encourage the development of nuclear technology in the state, writes John Tuohy. He points out that nuclear plants in the US each pay about $40 million per year in wages and generate $470 million annually in sales of goods and services in their locales and argues that a nuclear operation could bring enormous benefits to Maine.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff is evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of the small modular nuclear reactor being developed by NuScale Power, part of the agency's design certification review of the technology. The NRC lists compactness and flexibility among the advantages but adds that regulatory complications are caused by the reactor being built off-site.
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., has decried a proposal to revive the Yucca Mountain used nuclear fuel repository in her state. She argued that it would take years to develop and would be hamstrung by a series of federal lawsuits.
The New Mexico House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee is divided over a plan to develop small nuclear reactors in the state. A proposal to classify nuclear energy in the state's renewable energy portfolio standards has proved especially contentious, and no further action will be taken until the committee's dispute is resolved.
Canadian Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr has described nuclear energy as a vital contributor to clean energy, as Ontario embarks on a $19.9 billion program to rebuild its aging reactors.
A report from the World Association of Nuclear Operators says it found "no critical shortcomings" in its inspection of Ukraine's state-run Rovno nuclear power plant, which was carried out by 28 specialists from 10 countries. However, a WANO official said the report also lists a number of issues that could be addressed to improve safety and operations.
FirstEnergy will sell or close its three nuclear power plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania by mid-2018, the company said. The company cited unfavorable market conditions and policies for the decision.
The Defense Department's intention to replace diesel generators with very small modular nuclear reactors, recommended by a Defense Science Board task force last year, looks set to proceed without hindrance. The task force has outlined some possible challenges to the program but has concluded that none of them represent major obstacles.
Exelon President and CEO Chris Crane has expressed general optimism for the future of the nuclear power industry but also concerns that the Trump administration may not support ongoing research and development as it has not yet made its intentions clear. However, NuScale Power Chairman and CEO John Hopkins has pointed out that the Trump team has spoken positively about nuclear power in the past.
French nuclear power industry leader Areva and China National Nuclear Corp. have signed a partnership agreement in Beijing, with a view to collaborate at all stages of the nuclear fuel cycle, including a major Chinese project for a used fuel processing and recycling facility. The signatures were witnessed by French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
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