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USA: US to boost its uranium supply for advanced nuclear reactors

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The US government, under the leadership of President Biden, is steadfast in its commitment to advancing nuclear energy as part of its strategy for a net-zero emissions future by 2050. In line with this vision, the Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to bolster the domestic supply of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU), a vital component for advanced nuclear reactors. This strategic initiative aims to enhance energy security, foster job creation, and bolster US competitiveness in the global market. Through partnerships with private entities, the DOE seeks to establish a robust HALEU supply chain, thereby accelerating the deployment of sophisticated nuclear reactors to combat the climate crisis. The RFP, with a budget of up to $500 million, underscores the administration’s commitment to fostering innovation in the nuclear energy sector. Additionally, the DOE is collaborating with international partners to expand uranium enrichment capabilities and ensure the safe and secure development of nuclear energy supply chains.

The US government has stated its objectives to increase home uranium supply for the creation of cutting-edge nuclear reactors.

The Department of Energy (DOE) has just submitted a request for proposals (RFP) for uranium enrichment services in resolute action to expand the US’s portfolio of advanced nuclear reactors.

With the help of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU), a crucial element required for the deployment of advanced nuclear reactors, this strategic initiative aims to establish dependable domestic fuel supplies.

The main objective is to increase energy security, job creation, and US monetary competitiveness while achieving President Biden’s vision of a net-zero emissions future by 2050.

US to boost its uranium supply for advanced nuclear reactors

Advanced radioactive reactors: An environmentally friendly power plant

The largest source of fresh energy in America is nuclear power, which offers strong, dependable, and secure power.

A significant technological advancement that can drastically contribute to US emissions targets is the development of sophisticated nuclear reactors that use HALEU fuels.

The majority of advanced reactors require HALEU enriched between 5% and 20%, in contrast to the current US reactor fleet, which only uses uranium fuel that has been enhanced to a level of 85%.

Smaller, more adaptable designs with improved safety, security, and nonproliferation standards are made possible by this particular enrichment level.

Additionally, HALEU enables developers to optimize systems for improved fuel efficiency, increased efficiencies, and longer life cores.

Putting the HALEU cap on

HALEU is now not commercially available from US-based suppliers, which is a critical supply chain gap.

The DOE hopes to accelerate the creation and use of sophisticated reactors in the US by increasing the availability of HALEU through thisRFP.

Up to $500 million will be injected into HALEU enrichment contracts chosen through this RFP under the Inflation Reduction Act.

The administration’s commitment to promoting innovation and advancement in the nuclear energy sector is exemplified by this financial commitment and a distinct RFP for services to deconvert enriched uranium that was released in November.

The US Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, said:”Nuclear energy now accounts for about half of the country’s carbon-free power, and it will continue to play a major role in the transition to fresh energy future.”

Through the private development of a strong HALEU supply chain, President Biden’s Investing in America is bolstering our national and energy security and assisting in the timely deployment of advanced nucelar reactors to combat the climate crisis.

The proper plan of the DOE

One or more contracts to produce HALEU using regional uranium enrichment capabilities will be awarded by the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy.

A minimum order value of $2 million is guaranteed for each contractor under these contracts, which have a maximum duration of ten years.

The National Environmental Policy Act must be followed when enrichment and storage activities take place within the western US. The proposal deadline is March 8 at 5 p.m. MST.

The DOE is constantly working to expand the HALEU supply chain for advanced nuclear reactors in addition to local efforts.

Initiatives to increase international uranium enrichment and conversion capacity include recycling used radioactive fuel and working with like-minded nations.

The development of safe and secure nuclear energy supply chains is more ensured by the US, Canada, France, Japan, and the UK’s collective commitment to mobilize $4.2 billion.

Verónica Castro-Allende

With a rich background in urban technology and IoT, Veronica brings a unique blend of expertise and innovation to our platform. Her work focuses on integrating advanced engineering solutions into smart city infrastructures, emphasizing sustainable and efficient urban development. Her insightful contributions shed light on the future of urban living, blending technical prowess with practical urban applications

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