Tuesday, April 23, 2024

NRC to Issue Proposed Generic Environmental Impact Statement for New Reactors

Nuclear Regulatory Commission - News Release
No: 24-026 April 23, 2024
CONTACT: Scott Burnell, 301-415-8200

NRC to Issue Proposed Generic Environmental Impact Statement for New Reactors

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has directed the staff to issue for public comment a proposed Generic Environmental Impact Statement rulemaking that is intended for potential use by applicants and the agency during new nuclear reactor licensing.

The NRC is proposing a technology-neutral approach for the GEIS to cover different reactor designs. It would cover any new nuclear reactor application meeting the parameters used to develop the GEIS. The proposed GEIS would streamline the environmental reviews for future new nuclear reactors by presenting generic environmental impacts for those designs that fit within certain site and plant parameters. If the rule is finalized, new reactor license applications would supplement applicable generic environmental findings with evaluation of project-specific issues.

The NRC will seek public comment on the proposed rule following its publication in the Federal Register. Public meetings and other methods to submit comments will be publicized when the proposed rule is published.


Friday, April 19, 2024

Nuke's story


Indian Point owner sues NY to overturn law banning radiological water in Hudson River



Indian Point owner sues NY to overturn law banning radiological water in Hudson River

Thomas C. Zambito New York State Team

The owners of the shuttered Indian Point nuclear power plant sued the state of New York today, claiming a law banning the discharge of radiological water into the Hudson River is a “blatant infringement” of the federal government’s role in nuclear safety.

The lawsuit filed by Holtec International in U.S. District Court in Manhattan asks a judge to declare a law signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul in August unconstitutional.

It claims the measure, backed by Democratic lawmakers from the lower Hudson Valley, was billed as a way to protect real estate values in river towns when the true intent was to regulate radiological health and safety.

“This false pretense does not change the fact that the State is attempting to regulate matters with a direct effect on radiological safety,” the lawsuit says.

Earlier versions of the bill mentioned possible health risks caused by exposure to radiological material. The final version did not.

Months after the law was signed, Holtec announced that if it wasn’t allowed to dump a million gallons of radiological water used to cool nuclear fuel into the Hudson it would need another eight years to tear down the plant, extending its timetable to 2041.

“The failure of New York State to respect Federal Law, and follow the facts and science of the issue, left us no other means for remedy,” Holtec said in a statement issued today. “The passage of the bill has already delayed the planned completion of the decommissioning of Indian Point an additional 8 years, which hurts the local community’s desire to see the project completed and the property returned as an asset for economic development in the region.  We look forward to the legal process moving along on this important decision.”

Environmental groups, including Riverkeeper, claimed the best course was to house the water on the 240-acre site in Buchanan.

But radiation scientists told the USA Today Network last year the low levels of tritium that would be released into the water posed no danger to public health. The plant’s previous owners had used the Hudson to make similar discharges during the nearly 60 years the plant was in operation.

A Hochul spokeswoman declined to comment on the lawsuit

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Ukraine to manufacture components for [Holtec] small modular reactors | Ukrainska Pravda


Ukraine to manufacture components for small modular reactors


Ukraine to manufacture components for small modular reactors


Ukraine will be manufacturing components for small modular reactors, as Ukraine's state nuclear energy regulator Energoatom and Holtec International have signed an agreement to that effect.

Source: Ukraine’s Energy Ministry

Quote: "The agreement involves the establishment of facilities in Ukraine for the production and manufacture of nuclear systems, structures, and components for small modular reactors, as well as storage and transport systems for spent nuclear fuel. It also covers other needs for the use of nuclear energy in Ukraine and other countries in the region," the ministry said.

The document was signed by Petro Kotin, Head of Energoatom, and Kris Singh, President and CEO of Holtec International, in the presence of Minister of Energy German Galushchenko. 

Kotin thanked Holtec for a successful cooperation over the years. 

"This agreement is important not only for Energoatom but also for Ukraine's entire energy sector and the domestic economy. It is the first step towards strengthening cooperation over many years. Establishing nuclear energy production facilities in the country will contribute not only to strengthening the country's energy security but also to Ukraine becoming a global leader in various areas of nuclear energy development," he said.

Kris Singh, in turn, called on the US Congress to help the people of Ukraine: "The signing of this Agreement was preceded by a devastating blow from Russia last Thursday to the power plant that supplies electricity to the Kyiv region. The Ukrainian defence, weakened by the inaction of Congress regarding the bill on financial assistance to the affected country, could not stop more than a third of the drones and missiles that destroyed the power plant. 

The restoring of the country's energy infrastructure must begin now to stop Putin's attempts to destroy Ukraine's energy capabilities completely," said the President and CEO of Holtec International.

Read also: Russia continues to destroy the Ukrainian energy infrastructure. What should Ukraine expect without thermal power plants?


  • Energoatom has started a project to construct power units nos. 5 and 6 at the Khmelnytskyi Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) using American AP1000 technology by Westinghouse. The first concrete cube for power unit no. 5 has already been laid.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

NuScale Power Shows Too Many Red Flags


NuScale Power Shows Too Many Red Flags

Apr. 04, 2024 6:00 PM ET NuScale Power Corporation (SMR) Stock

Manuel Paul Dipold


  • NuScale Power is a company working on small-scale nuclear reactors, but there are red flags including an unclear timeline, competition, and a CEO who sold all his shares.
  • There are already functioning small modular reactors in Russia and China, with over 80 different designs worldwide, posing significant competition for NuScale.
  • NuScale's cash reserves are low, and the company will need new liquidity soon, while the CEO's sale of all his shares raises concerns.

Investment thesis

NuScale Power (NYSE:SMR) is working on what appears to be an exciting product that will probably be in great demand in the future: small-scale nuclear reactors. The story is good, but a closer analysis reveals several red flags, such as an unclear timeline, a lot of competition, soon-to-be-depleted cash, and a CEO who recently sold 100% of his shares.

Company overview

NuScale's IPO was in May 2022 and is headquartered in Portland, Oregon. The company researches a new kind of nuclear power: small and modular. The company describes its "VOYGR" light-water reactors as "the future of nuclear" and says they are suitable for power generation, hydrogen production, or water desalination. According to the company, the system is designed to be modularly expandable and only needs to be refueled with new uranium every 24 months. The modular design offers many advantages: Locally flexible, easily transported by ship, train, or truck, and very safe (according to the company). Further advantages are also summarised in this article from the International Atomic Energy Agency:

Given their smaller footprint, SMRs can be sited on locations not suitable for larger nuclear power plants. Prefabricated units of SMRs can be manufactured and then shipped and installed on site, making them more affordable to build than large power reactors, which are often custom designed for a particular location, sometimes leading to construction delays. SMRs offer savings in cost and construction time, and they can be deployed incrementally to match increasing energy demand.

What are Small Modular Reactors (SMRs)? (IAEA)

IAEA Large, modular and micro reactors

Large, modular and micro reactors (IAEA)

Nuclear industry overview

Nuclear energy has experienced a revival in recent years. It is now clear and becoming increasingly clear to the politicians responsible that renewable energies alone will not be enough. They are too volatile, and storing the surplus energy is not easy or expensive. Therefore, a constant base of continuously generated energy is needed. Nuclear energy is the ideal solution in combination with the endeavor to reduce CO2 emissions. In addition, nuclear energy is comparatively very safe regarding direct and indirect fatalities.

grams of CO2 per energy source
According to Statista, around 60 new nuclear power plants are currently under construction worldwide.
nuclear power plants in build 2024

The current state of SMRs

These are excellent prerequisites for small modular reactors. There is a general interest in nuclear energy, and its advantages are undisputed. If SMRs turn out to be more practical and cheaper to build or operate, these systems should have a golden future ahead of them.

However, many people are unaware of, and every interested reader of this article should know, that some SMRs are already in operation (in Russia and China), and many more are under construction or in planning. According to the IAEA, there are around 80 different designs worldwide. In other words, this area has massive competition, and some of the competition is already much more advanced than NuScale Power.

There are more than eighty (80) SMR designs under development and deployment at different stages in 18 Member States (...) The Akademik Lomonosov floating power unit in the Russian Federation with two-module KLT-40S was connected to the grid in December 2019 and started commercial operation in May 2020. The HTR-PM demonstrator in China was connected to the grid in December 2021 and is expected to reach full power operation by the end of 2022. The CAREM25 in Argentina is under construction and is expected to reach first criticality in 2026. The construction of ACP100 in China started in July 2021 and is targeted to start commercial  operation by the end of 2026. The construction of BREST-OD-300 in Russian Federation began in June 2021 and is planned to be completed in 2026.

"Advances in Small Modular Reactor Technology Developments" (IAEA´s 420-page booklet)

In this document, on page 12, there is a list of various systems and the stages of planning or construction they are at. Many systems originate from Russia or China, but numerous US-based systems also exist. Although many are still in the design phase and not yet beyond that, it shows that there could be intense competition in this area, so small companies with limited cash could have a hard time. Here is an excerpt:

Advances in Small Modular Reactor Technology Developments modular reactors

In which phase are NuScale´s reactors?

According to this article from MIT Technology Review, the NuScale design for a reactor module that generates 50 MW of electricity has already been certified by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). But during the certification process, NuScale´s engineers changed the design again so that in the future a module will produce 77 MW instead of 50 MW. I added the bold text below.

“We found that we could actually produce more power with the same reactor, the same exact size,” says Jose Reyes, cofounder and chief technology officer at NuScale. Instead of 50 MW, the company found that each module could produce 77 MW. So the company changed course. For its first power plant, which will be built at the Idaho National Laboratory, NuScale is planning to package six of the higher-capacity reactors together, making the plant capacity 462 MW in total. The upgraded power rating requires some adjustments, but the module design is fundamentally the same. Still, it means that the company needed to resubmit updated plans to the NRC, which it did last month. It could take up to two years before the altered plans are approved by the agency and the company can move on to site approval, Reyes says.

We were promised smaller nuclear reactors. Where are they? (MIT)

The above article is from 2023, so it fits the timeline in the latest investor presentation; the company writes that the new design should be approved by July 2025. Overall, it is still a slowdown for the company.

NuScale approval timeline

To summarise, this means that the latest design has not yet been approved, and even if it is approved, this does not mean that it will go online quickly after that. It is not yet clear when the first modules will be ready to produce energy and generate revenue (after all, this is what investors are waiting for). The company has previously discussed the middle of this decade, but I can't find any dates in the latest documents. For me, this means that the company itself does not know; otherwise, this would be stated in the investor presentation.

NuScale´s numbers and financial trends

Total expenses are on an upward trend, while revenues are tiny at this point. In 2023, they generated $22.8M, which "arises from engineering and licensing services provided to potential customers" (10-K page 41). Additionally, in 2023, the company earned $10.8M interest on its cash.


In the latest Investor presentation, the company states that the net loss was $56.4M in Q4 2023. The cash position is about $125M, which means the remaining cash will only be sufficient for 2 or 3 more quarters.

nuscale loss and cash

The number of fully diluted shares is 262.8M * $5.5 (current share price) = $1.45B market cap.

NuScale outstanding shares

As always, when there is no revenue but only the hope of a future business opportunity, it is tough to assess a valuation. Does the company deserve its $1.45B market cap? There is no clear yes or no answer to this question, but this is the figure that the current market attributes to the company. Therefore, this article focuses more on the general challenges and red flags that arise when analyzing the company. We are seeing that the market is slowly losing confidence in the company, and the stock is in a sustained downtrend, which is not surprising given the negative news, especially the issues I will mention in the next heading.


Share dilution, insider trades & SBCs

Given the above graphic about the fully diluted shares, we can see that only the Class A Shares are included below: those jumped in 2022 and continue to rise. Given the quarterly losses to date and the company's cash position, the company will need new liquidity quite soon, which could lead to more dilution for all existing shareholders.


These are all insider trades from the last six months. What stands out here is that the CEO, John L Hopkins, recently sold 100% of his shares. I have also not read any reports that he will soon give up his position as CEO or that there will be any other management changes. Of course, this sale could also have personal reasons that we are not aware of, but it is rare to see a CEO sell 100% of his shares.

SMR insider trades



The analysis of this company reveals several red flags:

- The company's cash reserves are not particularly high, and the company will soon need new liquidity, so all indications are that the share dilution will continue

- The CEO has recently sold 100% of his shares

- The company gives no indication (at least not an obvious one) as to when the first system will be up and running, producing power and generating revenue

- The company states that business opportunities exist worldwide (Investor presentation page 5). A closer analysis shows that there are already functioning systems in several countries and massive competition in this area: there are more than 80 different SMR systems. I therefore doubt that these business opportunities exist worldwide: it is much more likely that NuScale will not be able to compete on price with the competition from Russia and China.

- The Q4 + full year 2023 presentation contains only 12 pages, and the latest general Investor presentation is only 22 pages. Also, the report in text form is very short. Overall, the potentials are discussed, as well as the need for clean energy and a growing energy demand. But there are not many hard facts with clear timelines.

- Overall, it is unclear how much potential there is on the market for small reactors and what long-term sales opportunities there are. These systems will still compete with larger nuclear reactors and renewable energy storage systems, which might become more and more attractive (due to falling prices) in the future. It is unclear if the combination of solar + storage might be cheaper in 2035. The point is, there are a lot of questions - too many for my taste.

So, what will happen to the share price? Given the almost unbroken downtrend of the past year and the many challenges this company seems to have, I think it will likely shed more of its $1.45B market capitalization. In my view, this is a shorting opportunity with an attractive risk/reward ratio.

Risks to my short thesis

There are general and company-specific risks to short-selling shares: Borrowing shares costs a percentage fee, which can be considerable, especially for smaller companies, and should be checked in advance. Theoretically, short-selling shares has infinite loss potential. Therefore, this stock market tool should be used very carefully and only if you are familiar with it. Regarding NuScale specifically, it could be that the future certification process goes faster than previously anticipated, which could lead to a sudden rise in the share price. Furthermore, it could be that the company achieves another technological breakthrough or wins a major contract from private companies or the government. A new partnership with another company would also be positive news for the company. Furthermore, the company has announced cost reduction measures to save $50M - $60M annually, which could lead to a lower cash burn and slower future share issuance.

All these possibilities could improve investor sentiment and lead to a sudden rise in the share price. Also, it should be noted that shares with a lower market capitalization are usually more volatile.

This article was written by

My focus is on a total return style with long and short positions (10-30% short positions). My main expertise is the current technological and geopolitical shift with the amazing investment opportunities they offer. Therefore, I always try to find stocks or whole sectors with favorable risk-reward structures. My long investment style is a core-satellite strategy: The core consists of large caps and/or ETFs. The satellites around this core are small caps, potential 10-baggers, and undervalued stocks. In short selling, I focus on overvalued stocks that will fall back down sooner or later. My name is Manuel Paul Dipold. Born in Germany but lived 8 years in Asia. I am myself an entrepreneur and have many entrepreneur friends. I am not a professional investor but it´s a hobby I love. So I know Europe and Asia very well and seek undervalued or high-growth stocks - always with valuation, geopolitical and social shifts in mind.

Analyst’s Disclosure: I/we have no stock, option or similar derivative position in any of the companies mentioned, but may initiate a beneficial Short position through short-selling of the stock, or purchase of put options or similar derivatives in SMR over the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Seeking Alpha's Disclosure: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. Any views or opinions expressed above may not reflect those of Seeking Alpha as a whole. Seeking Alpha is not a licensed securities dealer, broker or US investment adviser or investment bank. Our analysts are third party authors that include both professional investors and individual investors who may not be licensed or certified by any institute or regulatory body.

Monday, April 15, 2024

NRC Issues Order Imposing Fine to Puerto Rico Firm for Violation Involving Nuclear Gauge and Decommissioning

Nuclear Regulatory Commission - News Release
No: I-24-006 April 15, 2024
CONTACT: Diane Screnci, 610-337-5330
Neil Sheehan, 610-337-5331

NRC Issues Order Imposing Fine to Puerto Rico Firm for Violation Involving Nuclear Gauge and Decommissioning

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued an order imposing a $17,500 civil penalty against a Puerto Rico firm for failing to dispose of or transfer a portable nuclear gauge and complete decommissioning of its site within the required time period.

Almonte Geo Services Group, based in Toa Alta, was licensed by the NRC to own and possess portable gauges containing small amounts of radioactive material. The gauges are used for such purposes as measuring the density of soil at construction sites. The NRC determined that the company initiated decommissioning in December 2019, and, under agency requirements, should have completed the process within 24 months.

In an inspection report issued in June 2023, the NRC documented the apparent violation and proposed the fine in November 2023. The NRC is considering additional civil penalties since Almonte has not addressed the violation.

The NRC has verified that the gauge is being properly secured at Almonte’s facility to prevent unauthorized access or removal.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

NRC Makes Available TerraPower's Construction Permit Application for Site in Kemmerer, Wyoming

Nuclear Regulatory Commission - News Release
No: 24-023 April 10, 2024
CONTACT: Scott Burnell, 301-415-8200

NRC Makes Available TerraPower’s Construction Permit Application for Site in Kemmerer, Wyoming

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has received a construction permit application from TerraPower seeking permission to build the company’s Natrium nuclear power plant near Kemmerer, Wyoming. The application is now available for public inspection on the NRC website.

TerraPower filed the application on March 28, requesting a permit to build the sodium- cooled, advanced reactor design on a site near an existing coal-fired power plant. The 345-megawatt electric Natrium plant includes an energy storage system to temporarily boost output up to 500 MWe, when needed. If the NRC ultimately issues the permit, TerraPower would need to submit a separate operating license application in the future to obtain permission to run the reactor.

The NRC staff is processing the application to determine if it has sufficient information to begin the agency’s safety and environmental reviews. If the application is determined to be complete, the staff will docket it and publish a notice of opportunity to request a hearing before the NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board.

Information about the regulation of new reactors is available on the NRC website. A copy of the TerraPower construction permit application will be available at the Lincoln County Library – Kemmerer at 519 Emerald St., in Kemmerer.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Update on TMI-2 Decommissioning Meetings: NRC, TMI-2 Solutions & Eric Epstein (2/29/24)


UN nuclear watchdog's board sets emergency meeting after Zaporizhzhia attacks

UN nuclear watchdog's board sets emergency meeting after Zaporizhzhia attacks


April 9, 202410:36 PM EDTUpdated 13 hours ago
VIENNA, April 9 (Reuters) - The U.N. nuclear watchdog's Board of Governors will hold an emergency meeting on Thursday at the request of both Ukraine and Russia to discuss attacks on the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, after the enemies accused each other of drone attacks.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has said drones struck the Russian-held facility in southern Ukraine on Sunday, hitting one reactor building. It has not ascribed blame but has demanded such attacks stop.
Advertisement · Scroll to continue

Russia said on Tuesday that Ukraine had again attacked the plant with drones, for a third day. Kyiv said it had nothing to do with any such attacks, and any incidents were staged by Moscow.
Russia and Ukraine have repeatedly accused one another of targeting Zaporizhzhia since it was captured by Russian forces in the first weeks of Moscow's invasion of its neighbour in 2022; both sides deny attacking it.

All reactors are shut down at Europe's largest nuclear power station, located near the Ukraine war's front line, but it requires constant power to cool the reactors and prevent a potentially catastrophic meltdown.
In a confidential note to member states seen by Reuters on Tuesday, the chairperson of the 35-member IAEA Board said Ukraine and Russia had both written to him the previous day requesting an extraordinary meeting.
"I hereby notify the Members of the Board that a meeting of the Board has been arranged as follows: 3 p.m. (1300 GMT) on Thursday, 11 April 2024," the note said.

Russian and Ukrainian letters were attached to the chairperson's note. Russia said it wanted a meeting on "the recent attacks and provocations of the armed forces of Ukraine" against Zaporizhzhia. Kyiv said it wanted to discuss "the situation in Ukraine and the safety, security and safeguards implications".
The rules, opens new tabof the Board, the Vienna-based IAEA's top decision-making body that meets several times a year, state that any country on it can call a meeting. Both Russia and Ukraine are on the Board this year.
A Board meeting would be unlikely to bring clarity as to who was behind recent attacks.

The Board has passed four resolutions since Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022 condemning Russian actions against Ukrainian nuclear facilities. The most recent was last month, calling on Russia to withdraw from Zaporizhzhia.
Only China has joined Russia in opposing those resolutions. Diplomats said they had not heard of a push for a resolution on Thursday, which would be more difficult at such short notice.
The Reuters Daily Briefing newsletter provides all the news you need to start your day.  

Reporting by Francois Murphy; editing by Andrew Heavens, Philippa Fletcher, Mark Heinrich, Peter Graff

New signs providing information about Diablo Canyon emergency sirens posted in SLO County | News Channel 3-12


New signs providing information about emergency sirens posted in SLO County

SLO Early Warning System Sign
April 9, 2024 12:12 pm
Published  12:01 pm

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – San Luis Obispo County is in the process of installing updated signage providing information for its emergency early warning system.

The green and white colored signs include information in both English and Spanish and can be found in various high visible locations, including beaches, parks and other areas where people frequent.

"You can find them at parks and beaches, RV parks. hiking trails, pretty much anywhere that the public would go to recreate," said Kaitlin Munds, San Luis Obispo County Emergency Services Coordinator. "We added about 60 (new signs) throughout the area."

The signs inform visitors and locals if they hear a steady siren for three minutes, they should go indoors and tune into a local television or radio station.

"I really appreciate," said Sacramento resident Raquel Kennedy, while visiting Pismo Preserve on Tuesday morning. "I think it's very helpful because as tourists here, we wouldn't have known what the siren was about."

While the signs are posted in the Diablo Canyon Emergency Planning Zone, the sirens used in the early warning system, are in place to inform the public on several potential emergency situations, including fire, tsunami, dam failure, etc.

"They were put in place for Diablo Canyon Power Plant emergencies," said Munds. "However, we might use them in other emergency situations should, there be a need. However, because they are only in the emergency planning zone. there are other alert notification systems that we would use as well. depending on the situation."

Should the sirens sound, it indicates that the Emergency Alert System (EAS) has been activated, and emergency information will be provided on local radio and television stations.

In an effort to bring awareness about the new signs and the important information they provide, the San Luis Obispo County Office of Emergency Services has started a social media effort to get the word out.

The new signs replace older models that were colored plain brown and many times blended into the environment, but the new versions are more eye-catching and attention-grabbing.

For more information about San Luis Obispo County emergency planning, visit ReadySLO.org.

Fukushima Parks: One-hour Time Limit for Playing

Fukushima Parks: One-hour Time Limit for Playing

Below is a Fukushima City park sign, taken by Akemi, a single mother who had voluntarily evacuated from Fukushima City to Kyoto, over 500 km (310 miles) away, when she visited her parents’ home in Fukushima City in March 2013.  

English translation.


Original sign.


More Fukushima stories. 


Monday, April 8, 2024

Drones attack the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

Three articles on drone attacks on Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant
 Ukraine detonates drone against reactor dome at Russian-occupied nuclear power plant
Ukrainian forces detonated a drone against the dome covering a shut-down nuclear reactor at the massive Russian-occupied power plant in southeast Ukraine on Sunday, according to Kremlin and interna…
 Drones attack the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant
The head of the U.N.’s atomic watchdog agency has condemned a drone strike on one of six nuclear reactors at the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine

Sunday, April 7, 2024

[decomm_wkg] For Immediate Release - GAO Report: NRC Inadequately Addresses Climate Disruption Threat to Reactor



For Immediate Use:  Friday, April 5, 2024

Contact:  David Kraft, neis@neis.org

GAO Report: NRC Inadequately Addresses Climate Disruption Threat to Reactors

CHICAGO—A Government Accountability Office Report draws conclusions about nuclear reactor operation that should make public officials, agencies and policy makers from the most nuclear-reliant state in the U.S. take notice – and action.

The GAO report - NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS: NRC Should Take Actions to Fully Consider the Potential Effects of Climate Change  -- asserts that,  “NRC [Nuclear Regulatory Commission] doesn't fully consider potential increases in risk from climate change.”

“Illinois has the most operating nuclear reactors (11), has recently repealed a moratorium on constructing new ones, and is keen on opening the doors for new experimental reactors.  This report should be a warning shot that more preparation and attention to ongoing nuclear safety in an increasingly  climate disrupted world is in order,” observes David Kraft, director of the Nuclear Energy Information Service, a 42-year old nuclear power watchdog organization, based in Chicago.

The Report indicates seven likely climate-related effects that could have safety implications for operating nuclear reactors, both present-day designs and future, experimental reactor types like “small modular nuclear reactors.” (SMNRs)

“…nuclear power plants can be affected by natural hazards—including heat, drought, wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, sea level rise, and extreme cold weather events—some of which are expected to be exacerbated by climate change, with effects varying by region….”

“Risks to nuclear power plants from these [climate disruption] hazards include loss of offsite power, damage to systems and equipment, and diminished cooling capacity, potentially resulting in reduced operations or plant shutdowns.”

“Some of these climate-related effects have already occurred in Illinois and elsewhere,” Kraft notes. “The severe Illinois drought in 1988 resulted in 100 reactor-days of operation being curtailed or completely shut down.  That drought was ‘climate disruption lite,’” he reports.

Illinois has already experienced heightened levels of heat (p.15) and area drought, and periodic regional flooding – which the GAO reports as being high probability (p.20).  Illinois has also shown a dramatic increase in tornado frequency, leading the nation in 2023 with 136.

In its defense the NRC claims that its current regimen of reactor safety review provides “adequate assurance” that reactors are operating safely and the public is protected.

“We wonder how many NRC officials book flights on airlines that provide only ‘adequate’ fuel levels and maintenance to their aircraft?” Kraft asks.

NEIS also notes that the Report highlights that there is a significant difference between claiming assurances and proving them:

“The GAO notes that, “NRC primarily uses historical data in its licensing and oversight processes rather than climate projections data. NRC officials GAO interviewed said they believe their current processes provide an adequate margin of safety to address climate risks. However, NRC has not conducted an assessment to demonstrate that this is the case.” (emphasis ours)

“Talk is cheap,” states NEIS’ Kraft.  “When one bad day at the office can turn Illinois into the Belarus of North America, Illinois officials at all levels should insist that NRC actually conduct reassessments of their reactor standards, anticipating climate changes,” he asserts.

The GAO makes three recommendations to begin to address this NRC failing:

·The Chair of the NRC should direct NRC staff to assess whether its licensing and oversight processes adequately address the potential for increased risks to nuclear power plants from climate change. (Recommendation 1)
·The Chair of the NRC should direct NRC staff to develop, finalize, and implement a plan to address any gaps identified in its assessment of existing processes. (Recommendation 2)

·The Chair of the NRC should direct NRC staff to develop and finalize guidance on incorporating climate projections data into relevant processes, including what sources of climate projections data to use and when and how to use climate projections data. (Recommendation 3).

“While we welcome any and all efforts to improve reactor safety, we also must point out how pathetic and profoundly worrisome it is that a $1+ billion Agency demonstrates such a lack of foresight, initiative and perhaps even competence to understand that the climate crisis is profoundly affecting their core mission,” Kraft laments.  “It is this seeming indifference to its task that has led many over the years to complain that “NRC” stands for ‘Not Really Concerned.’”

“Our Governor and the Illinois Delegation to Congress need to light a much needed fire under this Agency to protect Illinois,” Kraft concludes.


Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS) was formed in 1981 to watchdog the nuclear power industry, and to promote a renewable, non-nuclear energy future.



David A. Kraft, Director