1. Develop Public-Private Partnerships to Enable New Technologies
There are many advanced nuclear companies innovating for 21st century nuclear energy. These technologies are substantially different from current nuclear power technologies, and can be utilized for broader applications. Due to the complexity of new nuclear technologies, initial deployments would benefit from public private partnerships. This should include financial and facility support to demonstrate first of a kind technologies, as well as agreements to purchase energy from initial facilities to meet public-sector needs.
2. Continue Regulatory Reform for Advanced Nuclear Reactors
Since the operational profile of advanced reactors is substantially improved and different from existing reactors, their regulatory framework should also reflect those characteristics. Recent public policy reforms, like those included in the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act, have pushed the NRC to make improvements, but much more can be done. Key areas for further reform include environmental regulations, staffing, and security rules.
3. Establish Advanced Fuel Supply
Many advanced reactors require slightly more enriched fuel to operate than is used in today’s reactors. This fuel, known as HALEU (High Assay, Low Enriched Uranium), could also benefit existing reactors through longer runtimes and higher fuel efficiency.1 Unfortunately, the fuel supply and regulatory infrastructure for commercial HALEU does not exist in the United States. A HALEU fuel supply is essential to enable advanced reactors.