The nuclear industry, specifically those that dabble in so-called “advanced ” small (or micro) modular nuclear reactors (SMNRs) have a big problem. Most use a fuel called HALEU (high-assay low enriched uranium) which is enriched to 5 – 20%. Russia is about the only place that has HALEU in the amounts a fleet of “advanced” small nuclear reactors would need.
In December 2021, DOE issued a Request for Information (RFI) for public comment on its planned program for domestic availability of HALEU fuel. Comments are due on February 14, 2022. Do we really want to waste billions in our tax dollars that could be spent on businesses and industries offering real climate solutions? Do we want to put workers and communities at risk of radioactive exposure? Nuclear costs keep rising while solar and wind continue to get cheaper. Energy storage is improving fast. Why would we choose something as filthy as enriching uranium? There is obviously no need.
HALEU is a huge security risk. Enriching uranium to 20% for HALEU is one step away from creating weapons-grade uranium. The nuclear industry is peddling SMNRs all over the world, not just in Idaho. When nations start trading in uranium and their “advanced” reactors (ostensibly meant for energy) can double as bomb-making plants, it’s literally a ticking time bomb.
The public will have the opportunity to comment through February 14. Please go here to learn more and submit your comments.