The U.S. Nuclear Industry Council (USNIC) has released the results of its 2021 Advanced Nuclear Survey of advanced nuclear developers.

Survey results include information from 17 USNIC-member advanced nuclear developers on topics such as federal and state policies, types of reactors in development, U.S./Canadian licensing, need for control room operators, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) fees, U.S. Department of Energy programs and high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU). In addition, 24 companies provided their perspectives on the NRC’s planned 10 CFR Part 53 regulation of advanced reactors.

Issues of primary importance to developers include the need to provide multi-decade availability of HALEU for advanced reactor deployment, and the ability to sell and deploy 10 to 20 commercial units (after initial demonstrations). Addressing these issues, the USNIC says, is important for the advanced nuclear industry’s health and to prove that advanced nuclear can substantially contribute to the world’s clean energy goals. The availability of HALEU was also the top issue in the USNIC’s 2020 survey.

Although over 90% of advanced nuclear developers think NRC’s Part 53 is important or desirable for industry, with the rest likely to use Part 50 or 52 or take a different approach, most are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the usefulness of June 2021 (and current) preliminary Part 53 language. Eight questions elucidate industry’s perspective, from the vantage point of innovative developers attempting to license promising simpler technologies with potentially improved safety benefits.

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