In this week’s issue, we discuss where the U.S., Russia, and China have developed civil nuclear relationships around the world. We also spotlight the latest upheaval over whether to include nuclear energy in the European Union’s sustainable finance taxonomy. Finally, we highlight a recent series of Russian agreements and deals related to the deployment of nuclear plants and small modular reactors. 
Global Civil Nuclear Engagement
This graphic depicts where the U.S., Russia, and China have developed civil nuclear relationships around the world through formal treaties, agreements, contracts, and reactor construction. 
The U.S. has 23 peaceful nuclear cooperation agreements (123 Agreements) that cover 47 nations, including the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The U.S. also has Nuclear Cooperation Memorandum of Understandings (NCMOUs) with five nations: Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Bulgaria, and Ghana. Further, the U.S. has Intergovernmental Agreements (IGAs) with Poland and Romania.
As the map makes clear, the U.S. agreements are held predominantly with developed economy nations. In the Middle East and Africa, the U.S. only has 123 agreements with Morocco, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It has a NCMOU with Ghana. Russia and China are much more active in the Middle East and Africa, having agreements with 27 nations.
In South and Southeast Asia, the U.S. has 123 agreements with India, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Russia and China are engaged with 11 nations in that region.
In Central and South America, the U.S. has 123 agreements with Brazil and Argentina. While Russia and China are engaged with 9 nations.

Please note: Bilateral relationships (including 123 agreements) between the U.S., Russia, and China are not included in the graphic for visual clarity purposes.
Daniel Kim, Program Director, Partnership for Global Security 

The fight over the role of nuclear energy in the European Commission’s “green investment” finance rules continues unabated. The Commission released a draft of the regulations on December 31, that determined, “nuclear energy…can contribute to the decarbonization of the Union’s economy.” However, the Platform on Sustainable Finance (PSF) has concluded that existing and new nuclear power plants (NPPs) do not meet the European Union sustainable finance taxonomy’s requirement of “do no significant harm” to the environment. The PSF report concludes that new NPPs are unlikely to provide a substantial contribution to 2050 climate neutrality goals as defined in the taxonomy, largely disputing the EC's draft determination.
Austria and Luxembourg have threatened to take the dispute to court, and Germany has sent a letter to Brussels voicing its objections to the inclusion of nuclear energy. But Slovakia has recently expressed interest in SMRs—welcoming the EC’s inclusion of nuclear energy—and Belgium has started to consider extending the life of two reactors despite the nation’s nuclear phase-out plans. France, Poland, Romania, Estonia, and the Czech Republic also are ramping up plans for new nuclear energy.
Nuclear Collaborations
Under the U.S. Department of State's Foundational Infrastructure for Responsible Use of Small Modular Reactor Technology (FIRST) program, the U.S. has agreed to support Estonia in nuclear capacity building. This capacity-building project will commence with virtual training sessions on nuclear security, safeguards, and nonproliferation, with future opportunities addressing the “establishment of national nuclear safety regulations, workforce development, stakeholder engagement and site assessments of a nuclear power plant.”
Westinghouse Electric Company has signed memorandum of understandings (MOUs) with seven Czech companies for the potential deployment of a AP1000 NPP in the Czech Republic. Westinghouse, France’s EDF, and South Korea’s KHNP are the finalists for the Dukovany NPP project. More recently, Westinghouse has also signed MOUs with ten Polish companies for the potential deployment of six AP1000 plants in Poland.
Russia’s Rosatom has signed a deal with Seligdar, a major Russian gold mining company, for the deployment of a small modular reactor (SMR) to supply electricity to a gold mining project. The agreement would provide at least 35 MW from a RITM-200N SMR, starting from mid-2028. On a similar note, Rosatom agreed to cooperate with Kyrgyzstan in the construction of a RITM-200N SMR, and signed a joint plan with the Philippines for a preliminary feasibility study for the implementation of an SMR project.
Rosatom has signed a MOU with the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant management to further discussions on the potential construction of new Russian-designed NPPs at the Metsamor plant in Armenia.
Iran has announced ongoing negotiations with Russia for the construction of two new nuclear reactor units at the Bushehr NPP. The spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran stated that the negotiations are “in accordance with the Islamic republic’s plans to produce at least 10,000 megawatts of electricity using nuclear energy.”
South Korea and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have agreed to jointly create a bidding team for nuclear energy projects in third-party countries. The joint team will also conduct joint research on the aging of concrete structures, performance analysis research on accident tolerant fuels, a survey on SMRs, and expanded nuclear security training. 
Nuclear Policy, Governance, and Geopolitics
The Rolls-Royce-led SMR consortium has started to search for possible sites for a factory to manufacture its reactors. The consortium has reached out to sites across the United Kingdom, inviting communities to submit bids to house the facility. This comes as the UK government granted Rolls-Royce £210 million last year to develop its SMR design.
Rosatom has started manufacturing the nuclear reactor and steam generators for Unit 6 of the Kudankulam NPP in India. Under the agreement, Rosatom is building six VVER-1000 reactors and is in talks to construct an additional six more at a new site.
Rosatom has announced that its fast neutron MBIR nuclear research reactor will be completed one year earlier in 2027. Once completed, the MBIR will be the world’s largest fast neutron sodium-cooled research reactor and will support the development of new materials and advanced fuels.
Brazil has commenced its process to identify potential locations to site new NPPs. This comes as the Brazilian Minister of Mines and Energy, when discussing the role of nuclear energy at COP26, stated that “[Brazil] will add 10 GW in the next 30 years."
Domestic Civil Nuclear Developments
President Biden has stated that the Build Back Better Act will likely be broken-up, after the $1.75 trillion bill faced opposition from Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). President Biden noted that the energy and environmental provisions could get support in the Senate. Senator Ed Markey (D-Ma) commented that the “climate and clean energy provisions in Build Back Better have been largely worked through and financed[.]”
Oklo Power has announced that the company plans to promptly resubmit its advanced reactor application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). This follows the NRC’s dismissal of Oklo’s application for its Aurora 1.5 MW fast neutron reactor, citing a failure to provide “sufficient information on topics such as potential accidents and certain safety systems.”
Utility MidAmerican Energy proposed a $3.9 billion project to invest in renewable energy, and study clean energy technologies, including SMRs. The project, Wind PRIME, would plan to add more than 2 GW of wind and 50 MW of solar generation to the state of Iowa. 
Nuclear Security and Emerging Technologies
Architecture firm Bryden Wood has unveiled a new digital infrastructure platform that would help retrofit coal-fire power plants with SMRs. The platform would provide algorithmic design tools to “assess coal plant viability for refurbishment; create initial concepts; and produce detailed design outputs for manufacturing.”
Massachusetts’ two senators have called for an independent review of the Seabrook NPP, citing evidence of “faster than expected” degradation of concrete at the facility. According to nuclear watchdog group C-10, “Seabrook is the first U.S. reactor known to have the problem.” NextEra Energy Resources stated that “[w]e have demonstrated, and the NRC has confirmed repeatedly, that Seabrook’s structures are robust, safe and fully capable of performing their design functions.”
Noteworthy Research
The Henry Jackson Society (HJS) has published a new report discussing “The Vulnerability of Iran’s Nuclear Facilities to Drone Strikes.” The author, Dr. Bahram Ghiassee of the HJS, identifies four Iranian facilities at “high risk” of targeted drone attacks and destruction, with an additional seven facilities that are at “varying risk” of attack. Dr. Ghiassee argues that Iran’s nuclear facilities are at risk if the nation does not agree to a more stringent and transparent nuclear restrictions regime that would mitigate the fears of its neighbors. 
Noteworthy Events
The Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University is hosting a discussion entitled, “The Nuclear Suppliers Group: Its Future in a Low-Carbon World” on February 8, from 10 AM to 11:30 AM EST. The virtual discussion will host two expert panels on past NSG activities and current policy topics confronting the group. The webinar will be hosted via Zoom–registration can be found at this link
The Nuclear Conversation
The New York Times, January 27
The Wall Street Journal, January 26
Bloomberg, January 26
WyoFile, January 25
Independent Online, January 25
Bloomberg, January 24
South China Morning Post, January 24
ANS Nuclear Newswire, January 21
The Christian Science Monitor, January 21
Hogan Lovells, January 21
The Daily Beast, January 20
Independent Record, January 20
Nuclear Engineering International, January 18
The Associated Press, January 18
Forbes, January 18
The National News, January 18
ABC News, January 18
ANS Nuclear Newswire, January 17
NPR, January 17
Bloomberg, January 16
Observer Research Foundation, January 15
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