In this week’s issue, we discuss the need to clearly establish common ground and facilitate productive engagement between the nuclear security and industry communities. We also spotlight the UNECE’s latest Technology Brief on nuclear power, discussing the role of nuclear technologies in meeting global climate objectives. Finally, we cover a new online tool, ‘U.S. Nuclear Nexus,’ designed to facilitate engagement between the U.S. nuclear industry and the NNSA on advanced nuclear export and international deployment topics. 
Reframing the Relationship Between Nuclear Security and Commerce
This week an important U.S.-European experts meeting was convened that sought to improve the rapport between the nuclear security and industry communities. This is a relationship evolution that is no longer optional.
Both communities need to more productively engage with one another. It is no longer feasible to remain in stand-along silos and ignore pressing global realities.
The foundation of common ground between the two groups is based on four crosscutting issues that are stimulating a nuclear debate that has grown stale.
  1. The challenge of climate change and the need for global zero-carbon energy.
  2. The need guide the next-generation of nuclear technologies.
  3. The ability to meet the supply demands of the global nuclear market of the 21st Century.
  4. The importance of ensuring high levels of global security and nuclear governance.
I’ve spent much of the last seven years working to nurture this relationship. This work began with the Nuclear Security Summits when the nuclear industry and non-proliferation communities convened side events around the main governmental summits.
When that NSS process began in 2010, at least in the U.S., there was virtually no sustained communication between the nonproliferation and industry communities. In fact, there was a fair amount of hostility and lack of trust between them. It was so bad that after a very convoluted process each side agreed to send only one representative to the other’s event. One.
But what that initial engagement did is break the ice and by the fourth summit in 2016, the two sides held a joint event and even exchanged awards.
What became clear from that process was that there was common ground between the nuclear nonproliferation and security communities and the nuclear industry and that the two sides could not be allowed to return to their corners and glare at one another once the summits ended.
One way that PGS institutionalized this common agenda is through a partnership with the Nuclear Energy Institute under the Global Nexus Initiative. GNI focuses on the intersection of climate change, nuclear energy, and global security and it includes a broad cross-section of international experts from the nuclear security, industry, legal, diplomatic, environmental, and energy fields. This is an unprecedented mix of cross-disciplinary expertise.
The most important take-aways from GNI are that non-traditional partners can work together effectively but it takes time and effort to build the trust and understanding that is required.
At the INMM and ESARDA Joint Annual Meeting, my partners in the discussion, from the World Nuclear Association and NuScale Power, made clear their view that the nuclear industry is open to engagement with nonproliferation and nuclear security experts and that this collaboration is important.
There is broad agreement that safeguards and security by design are vital issues for next-generation reactors. This includes ensuring cyber security and addressing a variety of unique challenges that some types of advanced reactors will pose for existing safeguards and security methods.
The new reactor fuel cycles, coolants, uses, and deployment options raise a number of nuclear security, nonproliferation, and nuclear material management issues that need to be addressed at the front end of this development process. A number of articles and reports, some quite critical, already have been published about the security and non-proliferation challenges posed by advanced reactors.
But the reactor design community is not hiding its head in the sand about these concerns. There is a clear understanding that new policies and approaches will be needed to manage these challenges and that they need to be developed in tandem with the technology. They do not want their reactor technologies to contribute to global security dangers. They want their technologies to help humanity.
This is not to say that there isn’t tension between the commercial and security communities and that this conflict won’t intensify at times. The reality is that the nuclear companies need to sell their products in the international marketplace and that means they need to be efficient, raise funds, and be responsive to investors. But I have found that the commercial side wants to find common ground and the right responses.
What we should all be aiming for is the establishment of high standards of nuclear governance for the next phase of nuclear power. It is the creation of these standards and the policies, innovative safeguards, and evolved security systems that can underpin a new era of cooperation between the industry and security communities.
Climate change, the demand for zero-carbon electricity, the need to cleanly power developed and developing economies, and ensuring global security, are realities that now are essential elements of nuclear security and commerce.
If nuclear power is going to be part of the global solution set. And it will be. We have to work together.
Ken Luongo, President, Partnership for Global Security


The UNECE’s (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) Task Force on Carbon Neutrality has released a new Technology Brief on nuclear power. The document, which was published after the IPCC’s latest report, emphasizes the necessity of nuclear technologies for meeting global climate objectives. It also delineates how willing policymakers should use nuclear power to achieve such goals, recommending officials privilege low-carbon technological neutrality in deployment and financing, create political and market frameworks and facilitate development and deployment of new large and advanced reactors, and ensure the long-term operation of existing fleets.
Nuclear Collaborations
Argentina intends to construct two new nuclear power plants (NPPs), one utilizing Chinese HPR1000 technology and the other based on Canada’s CANDU reactor model. Nucleoeléctrica Argentina S.A. hopes to “formalize the contract [with China] and commence construction” in the second half of 2022, and the eventual CANDU reactor is to be locally manufactured with Canadian support. The project is expected to double the country’s “installed energy potential during the next 15 years.”
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) have finished a joint report concerning X-energy’s Xe-100 small modular reactor (SMR) under a 2019 memorandum of cooperation (MOC). The document concludes that, provided the company addresses regulators’ observations and technical justification requests, X-energy’s proposed approach for the “design and fabrication” of the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) is viable.
Exelon Generation is partnering with Nel Hydrogen, the Argonne and Idaho National Laboratories, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to demonstrate green hydrogen production at the Nine Point Mile NPP in Oswego, New York. Operations of the Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) electrolyzer are scheduled to begin in 2022 for the project, which is funded by a DOE grant.
NuScale Power has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to consider and develop a framework for Xcel Energy as the company’s “preferred partner” for future advanced reactor operational services. NuScale hopes to put its landmark SMR design, the first of its kind to receive U.S. regulatory approval, into commercial operation by the end of the decade.
Canadian SMR developer Terrestrial Energy has finalized an agreement with Westinghouse and the UK National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) to “advance the industrial scaleup and commercial supply of enriched uranium fuel.” The accord “defines the process” for delivering IMSR (Terrestrial Energy’s advanced integral molten salt reactor under development in Ontario) fuel for commercial use.
The UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) are opening a center of excellence in extreme scale computing to tackle complex issues related to fusion energy, including understanding and modeling plasma and “producing the innovation” necessary for digital twin development.
South Korea and Kazakhstan have agreed to “expand the coverage” of ‘Fresh Wind,’ an economic cooperation program established in 2019, and “strengthen their cooperation in energy industries such as nuclear energy.”
Nuclear Policy, Governance, and Geopolitics
An open letter from the World Nuclear Association (WNA) to COP26 UK president includes claims that all nuclear group applications for Green Zone exhibits at the climate summit were rejected. In the letter, the WNA Director General asserts that nuclear energy must get “a fair representation” at COP26 “in line with the recommendations made by numerous expert organisations.” According to the Cabinet Office COP26 unit, exhibit awardees have not been finalized.
The UK has released its first-ever ‘Hydrogen Strategy,’ which details how the country plans to reach 5 GW of low-carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030. Future production will involve both “green” (generated from renewables) and “blue” (derived from carbon capture) hydrogen, and the current nuclear fleet may be used to power electrolyzers this decade. The document indicates the possibility of an expanded role for nuclear power in hydrogen production after 2030.
The startup of Finland’s Olkiluoto-3 reactor has been postponed another three months, with first and regular electricity production now scheduled to begin in February and June 2022, respectively. The operator TVO cited “extended turbine overhaul and inspection works” as reasons for the additional delay.
France’s EDF, the U.S.’ Westinghouse, and South Korea’s KHNP have agreed to participate in a safety assessment for CEZ’s (Czech Republic) future Dukovany NPP tender. Submissions are due by the end of November, and CEZ hopes to launch the tender by the end of this year.
Defueling of Unit 1 at Russia’s Leningrad NPP has been completed. Fuel from the plant’s oldest reactor, which was shut down after 45 years of service in December 2018, will be reused in the two operating RBMK units.
The foundation slab has been concreted at Russia’s BREST-OD-300 reactor. The reactor is part of the pilot demonstration energy complex (ODEK) being built under the nation’s Proryv (Breakthrough) project, which aims to demonstrate the closed fuel cycle with a fast neutron reactor. The reactor is scheduled to begin operation in 2026.
Fuel loading has begun at China’s demonstration high-temperature gas-cooled reactor plant (HTR-PM) at Shidaowan. The plant was awarded an operating licence from China’s nuclear regulator the previous day (August 20), and is scheduled to commence operations later this year.
Work has begun on the foundation pit for Unit 4 at Turkey’s Akkuyu NPP. The plant’s operator, Akkuyu Nuclear, hopes to obtain a construction license this year and start full-scale work on the unit in early 2022.
Fugro has finished a six month offshore site investigation project for Turkey’s planned 4500 MW Sinop peninsula NPP. The work was completed despite the plant’s uncertain future after expected developer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries pulled out of the project.
Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers has approved the state economic program for the management of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) until 2025, ending the need for SNF exports to Russia. This will be made possible by the Centralized Storage Facility for Spent Nuclear Fuel (CSFSF), which will take used fuel from domestic NPPs. State operator Energoatom claims that the CSFSF is completely ready for operation, and the organization expects to obtain regulatory permission in the coming days and receive first containers by the end of the year.
France’s Orano has signed a billion-euro contract to return domestically-processed high-level nuclear waste from EDF power plants to Germany by the end of 2024, formalizing a June bilateral agreement. A train of 100 containers will transport the waste from Orano’s plant in Normandy to Germany within the next three years.
A new energy security report from Slovakia’s Ministry of Economy projects that the nation’s Mochovce-3 unit, which is scheduled for startup later this year, will allow the net electricity importer to reach a 9.0 percent export rate in 2022. Mochovce-4 is expected to begin operation in 2023.
The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency has published a Consultation open until October 5 on draft regulations concerning commercial ships with nuclear propulsion systems. The regulations include provisions accommodating future updates specific to advanced reactors.
Domestic Civil Nuclear Developments
The U.S. House and Senate have passed identical $3.5 trillion budget blueprints, paving the way for Senate Democrats to pass a package of healthcare, education, and climate provisions, including a “Clean Electricity Payment Program,” Clean Energy Technology Accelerator to fund low-income green technologies, and clean energy tax incentives, with a simple majority. The House has also set a September 27 deadline for passage of the infrastructure bill.
The DOE has issued a request for information (RFI) seeking public comment about the planned $75 million Uranium Reserve Program, which would create a domestically-produced stockpile of uranium “available for nuclear power operators in the event of a disruption to the civilian nuclear fuel market.” The RFI will be open until September 10.​​
Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) has written a letter to the Biden administration encouraging officials to employ emergency powers (through the Defense Production Act or Federal Power Act) to prevent the imminent closure of the Byron and Dresden NPPs. Rep. Kinzinger cites extreme weather, the pandemic, cyberattacks, and climate change goals as key reasons why the plants must remain open, and considers the use of such legal authorities necessary until new federal or state laws can be enacted to ensure the plants’ financial viability.
TerraPower and PacifiCorp have informed the Wyoming state legislature’s Joint Minerals Committee that they have secured funding for the first five years of the planned seven-year demonstration Natrium reactor construction project. The companies have also indicated that a location for the advanced reactor will be chosen by the end of this year in accordance with a DOE deadline.
Nuclear Security and Emerging Technologies
The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has createdU.S. Nuclear Nexus,’ an online tool intended to encourage prospective advanced nuclear technology exporters and associated entities to engage with the organization, familiarize themselves with relevant export control regulations, and implement a Safeguards by design (SBD) approach to advanced reactor development.
An experiment carried out on August 8 at the U.S.’ National Ignition Facility (NIF) has suggested that “ignition,” a key goal in nuclear fusion research, is within reach. The trial generated about 70 percent of the laser energy delivered to the fuel capsule (over 100 percent is required for ignition), a yield eight times the institution’s previous record created in Spring 2021.
The first module for the groundbreaking ITER fusion project’s Central Solenoid has arrived in France and is scheduled to reach the ITER construction site in the coming weeks. Shipment of the second module, also from U.S.-based General Atomics, is planned for later this month, and full module installation is expected in 2023-24.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has agreed to conduct on-site monitoring concerning the planned release of treated radioactive water from the Fukushima Daiichi NPP into the sea. The review will start in September, and establishment of a detailed timeline and methods is expected before an expert group is dispatched to Japan later this year.
Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority has decided to halt its safety assessment of Unit 2 at the Tsuruga NPP after finding that the operator, Japan Atomic Power Co., tampered with geological data to make a fault under the facility appear less active. Japan Atomic Power has been trying to disprove a March 2015 expert report concluding that the fault was active, which would make the unit an illegal structure.
Japan’s Chubu Electric Power Co. Inc. has confirmed that fire alarms were activated and a worker saw smoke in the turbine building of Hamaoka NPP’s suspended fifth unit last Tuesday. The company believes that weakened insulation on one of the plant’s chillers could have caused the incident, but is still investigating, and has noted that no fire, injuries, or radiation leaks resulted from the event.
A seven-year investigation into an attempted sabotage of Belgium’s Doel NPP in August 2014 has produced no clear suspects. The incident involved the automatic shutdown of Doel-4, with subsequent inspections revealing “a disturbance in the steam turbine in a non-nuclear part of the complex” determined to be an inside job.
Ukraine’s Chernobyl NPP has been awarded an operating license for its New Safe Confinement (NSC) structure, which was built to seal off the destroyed fourth unit. The facility will now be able to commence full-scale operation, “protect[ing] the environment from radiation releases and…[providing] the infrastructure to support the deconstruction of the shelter and nuclear waste management operations.”
Unit 2 at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) Browns Ferry NPP in Alabama has become “one of the first plants in the world” to use 3D-printed fuel assembly brackets. The reactor currently employs four of the devices, which were produced at the DOE’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and include fasteners installed in a Framatome boiling water reactor fuel assembly at the site. 
Noteworthy Research
A new report from ClearPath warns that the U.S. risks an emission reductions “flatline” between 2025 and 2050. The organization believes that utility decarbonization commitments and maintenance of existing NPPs (including state and federal support to prevent “unnecessary retirements”) can help avoid this phenomenon.
A new report from Strategic Policy Economics has concluded that Ontario must build new NPPs as soon as possible to meet 2050 net-zero goals and combat a projected electricity supply shortage and reliability risks in the next four to eight years. The capacity needed to fill the expected supply gap is “equivalent to doubling Ontario’s planned nuclear fleet in eight years.”
The Nuclear Conversation
World Nuclear News, August 25
The Guardian, August 24
Stockhead, August 24
World Nuclear News, August 24
World Nuclear News, August 23
Bloomberg, August 23
Bloomberg, August 22
Interesting Engineering, August 21
Neutron Bytes, August 21
China Daily, August 20
New Europe, August 19
Bloomberg, August 19
ANS NuclearNewswire, August 19
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, August 18
Oak Ridge National Laboratory, August 18
Nuclear Engineering International, August 18
SciDev.Net, August 17
Bloomberg, August 17
MZConsulting, August 17
Financial Times, August 16, August 16
Hogan Lovells New Nuclear, August 16
Forbes, August 16
The Economist, August 15
The Cyprus Mail, August 15
IEEE Spectrum, August 13
Nuclear Engineering International, August 12
Tax Foundation, August 12
Nuclear Engineering International, August 12
For more than two decades, the Partnership for Global Security (PGS) has developed actionable responses to global security challenges by engaging international, private sector, and multidisciplinary expert partners to assess policy needs, identify effective strategies, and drive demonstrable results.
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