Manchin cheers move to create uranium for advanced nuclear reactors

Senator Joe Manchin, DW.

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The US government is taking the first step towards encouraging the use of more testable low-enriched uranium fuel in the United States, paving the way for a new generation of nuclear reactors that promise to be safer. and more efficient than traditional designs.

On Tuesday, the Department of Energy issued a request for information on plans to create commercial quantities of the new uranium fuel in the United States. Currently, the DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration produces only enough uranium for defense and non-proliferation missions. This is a preliminary information gathering step and will be used to inform a report that the DOE must provide to Congress. Comments are due on or before January 13, 2022.

Senator Joe Manchin, D.-W. Va, who was main organization of the Democratic Party endorsed President Joe Biden’s $1.75 trillion domestic green energy and social welfare bill through the Senate, expressing support for the move.

“I am pleased that the Department of Energy is moving forward with this announcement that will result in a domestic supply of highly tested low-enriched uranium in the United States.” Manchin said, and Chairman of the Senate Energy and Resources Committee.

“I have long supported the commercialization of advanced nuclear technologies as a zero-emissions primary source of load energy and I am committed to funding the Advanced Nuclear Fuels program as authorized in Energy Act of 2020 to prevent dependence on Russia or other foreign suppliers for Manchin said.

West Virginia has a long history of coal mining and is the second largest coal producing state in the United States after Wyoming. Burning coal for energy releases carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Nuclear power is considered clean energy because once a nuclear power plant is built, generating electricity will not emit greenhouse gases.

HALEU fuel is enriched with a higher percentage of uranium-235, the specific isotope used in nuclear fission reactions. Conventional uranium processing produces fuels with about 5% U-235, while HALEU is enriched with up to 20% U-235.

That more highly enriched uranium is needed for smaller next-generation nuclear reactors, which aim to build cheaper, safer and able to adjust output more quickly to meet demand. , According to the Institute of Nuclear Energy.

“Advanced reactors are an incredible asset to have in the collective fight against climate change.” Kathryn Huff, deputy chief assistant secretary of the Office of Nuclear Energy at the DOE, said.

“If we don’t take proactive steps now to ensure an adequate and diversified supply of HALEU, then reactor demonstration and implementation projects, like those funded in the Law on Mechanical bipartisan infrastructure, will not be promoted in time to help us slow the effects of climate change,” Huff said. Manchin cheers move to create uranium for advanced nuclear reactors

Sarah Ridley

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