WASHINGTON D.C. - The Nuclear Innovation Alliance (NIA) has released a new report, “Characterizing an Emerging Market for High-Assay Low-Enriched Uranium”. This comprehensive technical report provides new detailed analysis on the costs of high-assay, low-enriched uranium (HALEU) production and the funding requirements for federal programs to support HALEU availability for advanced reactors. NIA's Executive Director, Judi Greenwald, shared the following statement about the objectives and conclusions of this new NIA analysis:
“Our analysis reinforces on-going work by Congress to secure additional legislative authorizations and appropriations for domestic HALEU production. Ensuring a reliable and robust commercial supply of high-assay, low-enriched uranium (HALEU) fuel is critical to the successful commercialization and deployment of many advanced reactor designs. Commercial HALEU is currently only available from the Russian state-owned company TENEX, posing a significant commercial risk for advanced reactor projects that require HALEU. Catalyzing domestic commercial production of HALEU will reduce U.S. dependence on supply chains that are subject to international geopolitical and economic disruptions, enable the successful deployment of advanced nuclear energy as a clean energy solution, and create a reliable domestic source of advanced reactor fuel to support global export of U.S. nuclear energy technologies.
“Despite stakeholder agreement that a domestic commercial HALEU market and fuel cycle is needed, and recent action by Congress, the Department of Energy, and private companies to address the HALEU fuel cycle challenges, there has been limited public discussion on the market challenges of effectively incentivizing private investment in new HALEU production capacity. Existing available cost estimates are adequate for determining the need for a program, but more detailed and specific insight and recommendations are needed to actually implement it. This report is designed to fill that gap.
“NIA developed a highly technical report to fill this need by characterizing and quantifying HALEU production costs and analyzing two different types of HALEU availability programs. The production cost analyses highlight and quantify the role of different cost drivers (including both existing uranium mining, conversion, and enrichment capacity as well new HALEU enrichment and deconversion capacity) on the cost of domestic HALEU production. These production cost-drivers are the starting point for commercial and government efforts to catalyze domestic HALEU production. The HALEU availability program evaluations strengthen the basis for on-going efforts by Congress, the Biden Administration, and the U.S. Department of Energy to catalyze new domestic commercial production of HALEU for advanced reactors through sufficient appropriations and effective program implementation.”
“NIA’s new report provides a common basis for discussion between advanced reactor companies, fuel cycle service providers, fuel end users, and policymakers on the programmatic needs to catalyze new domestic commercial production of HALEU.”
To access the full report, click here. To view the report’s summary for policymakers, click here.
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The Nuclear Innovation Alliance (NIA) is a non-profit think-and-do-tank working to enable nuclear power as a global solution to mitigate climate change. Through policy analysis, research, and education, we are catalyzing the next era of nuclear energy. Our organization is funded primarily through charitable grants and philanthropic donations from climate-concerned individuals and organizations.