During the World Nuclear Symposium, which was held in London, experts discussed how increased interest in small modular nuclear reactors meant that building the industrial capacity which would facilitate the production of the reactors required was among the challenges companies will face as they work to make this a reality. During a panel session, Rick Springman and Jon Ball discussed their objectives to have small modular reactors operational in the next decade. Springman is the senior VP of international projects for Holtec International while Ball is the executive VP of market development for GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy.
Ball stated that for the energy security crisis and the climate change crisis to be solved, large numbers of small modular reactors were needed. He explained that when GE Hitachi talks to potential clients about its BWRX-300 small modular reactor, the company isn’t talking about one or two reactors but rather about ten or twenty of them.
Ball further noted that there needed to be a clear demand signal because this would encourage suppliers as well as manufacturers to begin investing in their plants in order to increase capacity. He also discussed how regulation harmonization would hugely influence reactor roll-out, noting that it was encouraging to see nations new to nuclear seeking guidance.
On the other hand, Springman stated that Holtec had invested money into small modular reactors (SMRs) and was fully committed to the development of a new breed of completely safe reactors, noting that this was what the company had focused on in the last decade. He explained that at the moment, the company had plans to start commercial operations of an SMR-160 in America by 2030, stressing that one of Holtec’s key development objectives had been to make sure that the reactor was operation friendly.
Springman also brought up some of the challenges of financing new nuclear projects, noting that unlike the nuclear industry, other industries could cover the gap using technology risk insurance. He revealed that Holtec expected to, in the long run, operate no fewer than four small modular reactor manufacturing industrial sites globally. He stated that each site would produce about four reactors in a year in a bid to meet the global demand.
In addition, Springman touched on the need for proper valuation in the nuclear industry because Holtec would be providing something unique that other technologies could not provide: clean energy 24/7. This issue was also raised by te International Energy Agency’s Keith Everhart.
As those small, modular nuclear reactors are deployed around the world, there will be a more demand for the uranium extracted by industry actors such as Energy Fuels Inc. (NYSE American: UUUU) (TSX: EFR) for use as fuel in those SMR units.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Energy Fuels Inc. (NYSE American: UUUU) (TSX: EFR) are available in the company’s newsroom at http://ibn.fm/UUUU
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