The Approach to Moving forward on Recycling Used/Spent Nuclear Fuel

The timing has never been better for a modest investment from the nuclear energy and pro-nuclear environmental community to secure the agreement of the Commonwealth of Virginia to proceed with accepting used/spent fuel to be recycled and the possibilities inherent in their taking national leadership in the carbon-free energy goals established in most of the United States.

The effort to secure a final resting place for the used/spent nuclear fuel is upmost on the United States’ Governments minds. At the moment its resting spot is where it is removed from the commercial nuclear power plants.

Since there appears, at least to the nuclear professional community, to be no material showstoppers for moving this program along and since it is the law of the land, it makes sense that the used/spent fuel issue gets put to bed once and for all.  Since recycling will preclude the need for a deep geologic repository, the door is open for Virginia to become the nuclear and Carbon Free Clean Energy Capital of the United States (and a major player in the world).

Virginia is in a perfect position to lead this effort.  The university system has a well-established nuclear engineering program, there is a wealth of nuclear industry in the State, and the citizens have, for the most part, viewed the nuclear industry as a beneficial one within their State.  Virginia also values clean energy (as does most of the rest of the United States).

While renewables have their place in clean energy, they are suffering from lack of efficient storage, minimal development in the marketplace, limited lifetime, and recycling issues.  The ideal situation would be to advocate next generation nuclear reactors (Small Modular Reactors or SMR) as was slated for the Lake Anna Nuclear Energy Plant, to supply the base load power source for renewable energy sources instead of fossil-fuel driven natural gas and coal.  Since Virginia already has operational experience in nuclear reactors and supports the educational programs and research, it would be an ideal location for the Carbon-Free Energy National Laboratory.

Overwhelmingly, when citizens are presented with the facts and the potential benefits, they favor proceeding with the program. 

ANS-Nevada has been able to secure several grants among them being ANS Operations and Power Division grant, leading to being able to conduct outreach to organizations in northern and southern Nevada.

For well over 4 years, educational material has been provided and presented to 12 groups on nuclear basics and used/spent nuclear fuel facts , and all of these groups were overwhelmingly in favor of recycling spent nuclear fuel with the understanding that it will lead to benefits from the US Government and the potential for high-tech business development related to nuclear energy production.

This must be the next step in Virginia to turn the tide of negative sentiment around from its citizens towards Nuclear Energy and proceed forward!

With Advanced Reactor Bills, Congress Is Leading the Way to a Clean Energy Future

Jarret Adams - August 8, 2019

Not many issues have bridged the left-right political divide in Washington, D.C., the way that advanced nuclear technology has. This bipartisan congressional support in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives will help advanced reactors—and the clean energy future they promise—become a reality.

  • Nuclear Energy Renewal Act (NERA) introduced in July 2019, by Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) that supports research and development (R&D) to speed the advent of advanced reactors and help preserve U.S. existing nuclear power plants. This bill joins several pieces of legislation aimed at boosting next-generation nuclear technology:
  • Nuclear Energy Leadership Act, introduced in both the House and Senate earlier this year, aims to spur development of advanced reactors with a focus on demonstration and commercialization of the new designs. The Senate version of the bill directs the U.S. Department of Energy to create a strategic vision for developing next-generation nuclear and authorizes demonstration of two designs by 2025 and two to five additional designs by 2035. In addition, NELA addresses the current lack of supply of the specialized fuel necessary for many advanced reactor designs.
  • The Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act (NEICA), passed in September 2018, aims to eliminate some of the barriers to advanced nuclear and establish some of the infrastructure to get there, including the versatile test reactor (VTR), which will test fuels and materials used in next-generation plants. DOE is looking into building the VTR at the Idaho or Oak Ridge national laboratories—and could do so as early as 2026.

"Private-public partnerships are essential to the development and deployment of advanced technologies, and demonstrating advanced reactors will spur their deployment by helping overcome first-of-a-kind challenges."

— Everett Redmond, NEI’s Senior Technical Advisor

  • The Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act (NEIMA), approved in January, aims to improve the regulatory structure for advanced reactors, including certifying and licensing new reactor designs. NEIMA also reforms the fee structure for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

NERA, NELA, NEICA, NEIMA. If the names sound alike, it may be intentional: They’re all focused on nuclear energy and signal that, with bipartisan support, Congress has set the agenda to make this technology a priority.

Here’s a quick chart to tell them apart:


LEGISLATION                     PRINCIPAL AIMS                                                   STATUS

NEICA                                 R&D, Infrastructure                                           Passed (September 2018)

NEIMA                                Regulatory improvements                                  Passed (January 2019)

NELA                                  Demonstration, Commercialization                    Passed Senate committee

NERA                                  Preserves existing nuclear plants                       Introduced (July 2019)

The next generation of reactors will protect the climate with carbon-free energy and provide applications with additional social benefits—like assisting in hydrogen production for electric vehicles or helping turn seawater into drinking water.

Noting these benefits, policymakers are stepping up.

With bipartisan support, these measures create a path forward for the eventual deployment of advanced reactors—a critical step in achieving our clean energy future.

Why should you care about getting involved in this issue?

By requesting that your Congressional Representative gets involved in this bold and unique step in introducing and passing legislation to make Virginia the first Consent State to accept Used/Spent Nuclear Fuel to Recycle will not only solidify Virginia as a National leader but as a World leader in Nuclear Energy as well!

What does that mean to you as a citizen of Virginia? This move will be very advantageous on many levels for Virginian's, among them, increased lower cost Carbon free and recycled energy, roughly a $50 Billion dollar influx to the state, increase of several thousand high technology jobs, increased higher education fields in Nuclear training, secondary and middle school increased funding of STEM based programs, possibly lower taxes, along with many spurred support businesses to grow and support local economy as a result.

Let's tell our legislators and representatives the crucial need to make Virginia the First Consent State to Recycle Used/Spent Nuclear Fuel TODAY!