U.S. Secretary of Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm has made it clear that we need to use every new and existing technologies in order to moderate the effects of climate change, which will include innovations in nuclear energy. The United States is home to some of the best nuclear innovators globally that are involved in the development of new reactor technologies that will increase access to clean and reliable energy around the globe.
Since the 1960s, nuclear innovation has been sustained by R&D infrastructure at universities and labs, which includes the Idaho National Laboratory’s Advanced Test Reactor. This test reactor is the leading thermal neutron test reactor that allows for nuclear materials and fuel testing. However, it will not be able to sustain neurons at speeds and concentrations high enough to perform faster testing of innovative nuclear technologies. Accelerated testing will enable researchers to test different ideas rapidly, determine what works and make adjustments that produce innovations which support the more economical and safer operation of nuclear plants.
This is why the U.S. Department of Energy is developing the Versatile Test Reactor, which will offer an advanced fission environment that can support accelerated materials and fuels experiments over the next couple of decades. The reactor will allow scientists to discover, identify and advance innovative nuclear technologies required to achieve zero carbon emissions. It also presents an opportunity to modernize nuclear research infrastructure that will support new technologies for the future.
Most U.S. vendors plan to demonstrate their reactors in the near future so as to prove that their technology works in the way that it is supposed to. In order to improve their designs as well as innovate faster though, infrastructure that supports their development as well as their commercial deployment is needed.
At the moment, most of the advanced reactors in the demonstration pipeline are integrating innovative technologies, materials and fuels into modern concepts that build upon more than five decades of reactor demonstrations. Experts note that while the reactors will soon demonstrate their improved features, they will also continue to evolve over time, which makes it crucial that the U.S. expand its research and development infrastructure.
Nuclear innovation has become a top priority as the effects of climate change are seen around the globe, including in the U.S., where forest fires rip through huge tracts of dry land and severe storms and flooding continue to increase in intensity. This makes both advanced test reactors and versatile test reactors essential, as they will play a crucial role in the field’s advancement.
As better methods to utilize uranium in reactors are developed, extraction companies such as Energy Fuels Inc. (NYSE American: UUUU) (TSX: EFR) are likely to reap the benefits accruing from that sustained or even growing demand.
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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