“Lawmakers who support a new generation of advanced nuclear power are setting their sights on what they see as the technology’s top obstacle: the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The Biden administration has touted small, factory-built reactors as a possible lifeline for an aging nuclear industry and a crucial step toward cutting the nation’s planet-warming emissions. But only one reactor design has gotten the greenlight from the NRC, and administration-backed advanced nuclear energy projects are struggling to get off the ground.
Key leaders in the House and Senate are now considering fundamental changes to the NRC, an independent federal agency tasked with protecting public safety and health.
The House Energy and Commerce and Senate Environment and Public Works committees are negotiating a compromise legislative package that would streamline regulations at the NRC and potentially adjust the agency’s mission statement, as I write today.
The talks come after four Senate Democrats recently kneecapped a renomination bid for one of the NRC’s longtime regulators, Jeff Baran, who was first appointed by former President Barack Obama.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) was among the Democrats who called Baran an overzealous regulator overtly hostile to nuclear energy. Today, Manchin said he won’t support any nominee who’s too focused on safety.
“We’re just looking for people who understand that we have to have nuclear energy in the mix,” Manchin said.
Lawmakers believe fundamentally changing the NRC, in leadership and policy, will give so-called small modular reactors a fighting chance to succeed.”
“Iranian scientists can produce enough weapons-grade uranium to make 12 nuclear bombs within five months, it has been claimed.
The revelation follows the disclosure by the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) that the Iranian regime has increased the production rate of highly enriched uranium up to 60 per cent purity.
Modern nuclear weapons require uranium to be enriched up to 90 per cent but inspectors within the IAEA believed this could be achieved by Iran very quickly.”
“Tehran has enough enriched uranium to produce a nuclear weapon in only 12 days according to data collected from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Iran is essentially a nuclear threshold state given their stockpile of uranium, with estimated enrichment levels as high as 84%. For context, 90% is the benchmark for full breakout capability. International sanctions on the regime’s ballistic missile program have also been allowed to expire, giving the regime carte blanche to further develop and proliferate the delivery vehicles necessary for a potential strike with the ability to reach Tel Aviv, Haifa, or even a European capital.”
“Chinese middlemen launder the proceeds of North Korean hackers’ cyber heists while Chinese ships deliver sanctioned North Korean goods to Chinese ports.
Chinese companies help North Koreans workers — from cheap laborers to well-paid IT specialists — find work abroad. A Beijing art gallery even boasts of North Korean artists working 12-hour days in its heavily surveilled compound, churning out paintings of idyllic visions of life under communism that each sell for thousands of dollars.
That’s all part of what international authorities say is a growing mountain of evidence that shows Beijing is helping cash-strapped North Korea evade a broad range of international sanctions designed to hamper Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program, according to an Associated Press review of United Nations reports, court records and interviews with experts.
“It’s overwhelming,” Aaron Arnold, a former member of a U.N. panel on North Korea and a sanctions expert at the Royal United Services Institute, said of the links between China and sanctions evasion. “At this point, it’s very hard to say it’s not intentional.””
“The U.S. conducted a high-explosive experiment at a nuclear test site in Nevada hours after Russia revoked a ban on atomic-weapons testing, which Moscow said would put it on par with the United States.
Wednesday’s test used chemicals and radioisotopes to “validate new predictive explosion models” that can help detect atomic blasts in other countries, Bloomberg reported, citing the Department of Energy.
“These experiments advance our efforts to develop new technology in support of U.S. nuclear nonproliferation goals,” Corey Hinderstein, Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation at the National Nuclear Security Administration, said in a statement. “They will help reduce global nuclear threats by improving the detection of underground nuclear explosive tests.”
“Judge James Ho is not a nuclear scientist, an expert in energy policy, an atomic engineer, or anyone else with any specialized knowledge whatsoever on how to store and dispose of nuclear waste.
Nevertheless, Ho and two of his far-right colleagues on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit just put themselves in charge of much of America’s nuclear safety regime — invalidating the power of actual nuclear policy regulators to decide how to deal with nuclear waste in the process.”