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Nuclear Power Back in Vogue as Governments Pursue Viable Energy Alternatives

Nuclear power is back at the center of attention as an effective method for combating climate change…

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Nuclear power is back at the center of attention as an effective method for combating climate change. In addition to the support governments around the world have shown for the industry in recent years, private investors and market movers are now getting involved. Furthermore, celebrities and major movie directors are now working on destigmatizing nuclear energy. For example, director Oliver Stone has shown his support for nuclear power with a screening of his documentary movie ‘Nuclear’ at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos. According to the New York Times, the screening, “was packed — to the point of attendees sitting on the floor.” Mr. Stone reasoned that the appetite for his film comes from a lack of alternative solutions, “Despite our investments in renewables, it’s not improving our carbon emissions because we haven’t tackled the core issue — eliminating fossil fuels,” he told DealBook. “Climate change has forced us to take a new look at nuclear power.” NuScale Power Corporation (NYSE: SMR), Brookfield Business Partners L.P. (NYSE: BBU), BWX Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: BWXT), Rolls Royce Holdings plc (OTC: RYCEY), Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC).

In the United States, however, the use of nuclear energy is limited. According to Barron’s, nuclear power “accounts for about 19% of total U.S. electricity production, a level that hasn’t changed much in the past decade.” This stagnation is, in part, due to the fact that most of the country’s plants were built in a 20-year span between 1970 and 1990 and “six have closed since the end of 2017, with three more expected to go out of operation by 2025.” Meanwhile, France, a country that famously reliant on nuclear power for its energy needs, saw its nuclear industry underperform during the recent energy crisis, with long maintenance outages and an ageing fleet blamed for the deficit.

As such, it is becoming clear that there is demand for an innovative approach to revitalize this industry, and it is where companies like NANO Nuclear Energy Inc. are positioning themselves. NANO Nuclear Energy Inc. is a company emerging from the shared micro-Small Modular Reactor (µSMR) and Advanced Nuclear Reactor (ANR) ambitions of a world class nuclear technical team filled with influential and foremost nuclear experts in the field, working alongside business and industry professionals, possessing strong relationships with both government, and the private and public nuclear industries. Our company is committed to building Smaller, Cheaper, and Safer nuclear energy for the future by incorporating the latest technology into its own proprietary novel reactor designs, intellectual properties, and research methods. Currently in technical development is ‘ZEUS’, NANO Nuclear Energy’s first generation portable, on-demand capable advanced nuclear micro reactor.

NANO Nuclear Energy Inc. announced back in November that it has appointed Dr. Ian Farnan as Lead for Nuclear Radiation and Materials. Chair of Cambridge Nuclear Energy Centre and Professor of Earth & Nuclear Materials, Dr. Farnan is an expert in the effect of nuclear radiation on materials from nuclear fuels and claddings to waste forms. He has extensive experience of high temperature materials and is currently involved in supporting the development of molten salt technology through fundamental research on in situ measurements of dissolution and speciation in molten salts.

In the US, from 2007-15, he served as a member of the scientific advisory committee of the EMSL Directorate of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. In Europe, he has led national (UK EPSRC) and international (Euratom) research consortia including the RCUK/NDA spent fuel research group and more recently within the EPSRC advanced materials for fission program, the consortium Carbides for Future Fission Environments. He currently serves as Discipline Lead for Materials Science with the UK NDA’s Nuclear Waste Services’ Research Services Organisation.

“It is a pleasure to welcome Dr. Farnan to the NANO Nuclear team,” said James Walker, NANO Nuclear Energy’s CEO and Director. “He is a leading expert in the field and his addition is a testament to what we are building here at NANO Nuclear. I am excited to collaborate with Dr. Farnan as we develop our innovative, breakthrough technologies and continue to realize our growth strategy.”

James Walker, CEO and Director of NANO Nuclear Energy, former UK Subject Matter Expert for the UK Nuclear Material Recovery Capabilities and was the technical project manager for constructing the UK reactor core manufacturing facilities, states that, “It is a pleasure to welcome Dr. Farnan to the NANO Nuclear team. He is a leading expert in the field and his addition is a testament to what we are building here at NANO Nuclear. I am excited to collaborate with Dr. Farnan as we develop our innovative, breakthrough technologies and continue to realize our growth strategy.”

NuScale Power Corporation (NYSE: SMR) announced earlier this month that the Project Management Committee (PMC) for the Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP) reaffirmed its commitment to NuScale’s industry-leading small modular reactor (SMR) technology by approving a new Budget and Plan of Finance (BPF) and an update to the Development Cost Reimbursement Agreement (DCRA). This key milestone was reached with the receipt and acceptance of the CFPP’s Class 3 Project Cost Estimate (PCE), which further refines the anticipated total cost of the project.

Brookfield Business Partners L.P. (NYSE: BBU) reported back in October together with its institutional partners (collectively “Brookfield“), today announced an agreement to sell its nuclear technology services operation, Westinghouse Electric Company (“Westinghouse”), to a strategic consortium led by Cameco Corporation and Brookfield Renewable Partners (the “Consortium”) for a total enterprise value of approximately $8 billion (the “transaction”) including proceeds from the disposition of a non-core asset expected to be received prior to closing the transaction. Westinghouse is a global leader in providing mission critical technologies, products and services to the nuclear power industry. The business was acquired by Brookfield out of bankruptcy in 2018. Since its acquisition, Brookfield appointed a new world-class management team and successfully repositioned the business by strengthening the organizational structure, refocusing its product and service offerings, optimizing the global supply chain and investing in new technology.

BWX Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: BWXT) reported last year that will build the first advanced nuclear microreactor in the United States under a contract awarded by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO). The Project Pele full-scale transportable microreactor prototype will be completed and delivered in 2024 for testing at the Idaho National Laboratory. The prototype will be built under a cost-type contract valued at approximately $300 million, depending on options selected, by BWXT Advanced Technologies LLC in facilities in Lynchburg, Virginia and Euclid, Ohio. Over the next two years, BWXT expects that approximately 120 employees will work on the project, including roughly 40 skilled trades, engineers and other positions that will be hired to support this effort and other projects.

Rolls Royce Holdings plc (OTC: RYCEY) is part of the winning BWXT team along with Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC), Aerojet Rocketdyne and Torch Technologies.

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