In this week’s issue, we highlight the increasing support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the “Global South” and the overlap with those nation’s involvement in China’s Belt and Road Initiative and/or engagement with Russia on nuclear energy. We spotlight the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency’s (NEA) new dashboard that documents the progress of small modular reactors (SMR) around the world. Finally, we highlight key nuclear technology, security, and geopolitical developments, reports, and analyses.
FELLOWSHIP OPPORTUNITY: The Partnership for Global Security is currently seeking early career policy analysts interested in the intersection of nuclear energy, climate change, and global security. To apply for the Della Ratta Energy and Global Security fellowship, applications for the fellowship are due by May 1. The job description is listed here. Please send applications to
Support for Russia in the Global South Raises Nuclear Export Challenges
The following infographics highlight several significant challenges that Western nuclear exporters will face when seeking to supply smaller nuclear power technologies to developing economy nations. Russia and China already have established strong energy and economic relationships with most of these countries. The U.S. has a small nuclear cooperation footprint among these nations. And they are wary of a Western-controlled international system.
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)
EIU-Identified Russia-Supporting or Neutral Countries
Source: Partnership for Global Security
The first infographic is from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). It identifies countries that are supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, those that are Russia-leaning, and those that have maintained their neutrality. These countries represent 63% of the global population and 32% of the global gross domestic product (GDP).
The second infographic, from PGS, illustrates that the overwhelming majority of countries identified by EIU as being favorably inclined to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or that have maintained their neutrality regarding the war, have signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with Russia, engage with China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), or have done both.
However, some of these countries have not signed a Russian nuclear agreement or joined BRI, including Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Colombia, Eritrea, and Eswatini. Additionally, there are several countries in the Russia favorable or neutral categories that have signed 123 Agreements for Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation with the United States in addition to agreements with Russia or participation in BRI. These include Brazil, India, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam. Noticeably absent from the list of 123 agreements currently signed is most of Africa.
Patrick Kendall, Program Director Partnership for Global Security

The Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) has developed the Small Modular Reactor (SMR) Dashboard, which assesses SMR progress for 21 reactor designs across the world. The conditions assessed for each SMR include licensing readiness, siting, financing, supply chain, engagement, and fuel. The dashboard identifies the level of progress towards SMR deployment and commercialization in the NEA and non-NEA member countries and indicates that much of the progress has taken place in the past two years. Future editions will continue to track momentum and may include additional SMRs.
The Impact of the Ukraine Invasion on Nuclear Affairs and Exports
Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galushchenko announced that Ukraine is intending to produce its own nuclear fuel within the next three years with the aim of exporting it to other countries in the long term. Target countries include the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Finland, and Bulgaria. Galushchenko stated that 2026 is the date when Ukraine aims to begin the nuclear fuel production. This step will support eliminating further fuel imports from Russia.
Ukrainian nuclear utility Energoatom stated that external power had been restored to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. The most recent loss of external power followed additional Russian missile strikes on Ukraine, forcing the nuclear facility to rely on emergency diesel generators for safety functions for 10 hours. This was the sixth time that the plant had lost external power since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine.
Energoatom and Canadian mining company Cameco signed agreements covering the supply of Ukrainian uranium and the production of nuclear fuel for nuclear power plants in Ukraine. The first of the agreements will see Cameco meeting 100% of Energoatom’s need for natural uranium hexafluoride from 2024 to 2035. The second agreement covers the sale of Ukrainian uranium to Canada, with conversion of the uranium being provided by Cameco.
Nuclear Collaborations
The United States and Indonesia announced an agreement to cooperate on the development of a nuclear energy program. The agreement is a deliverable under the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII). It supports Indonesia’s interest in deploying small modular reactor (SMR) technology to meet its energy security and climate goals. Indonesia has selected NuScale Power as a partner. Additionally, $1 million will be provided for capacity building in Indonesia furthering existing cooperation with the State Department’s FIRST program. The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) will assist Indonesia Power in assessing the technical and economic viability of a proposed nuclear power plant to be located in West Kalimantan.
The United States, United Kingdom, and Australia have unveiled the details of the AUKUS pact to create a new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines. Under the pact, Australia is set to receive three U.S. nuclear-powered submarines in the early 2030s, with the allies also working to create more submarines at the Australian port of Perth. This agreement is seen as a means of countering China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region.
Finland’s Fortum and Rolls-Royce SMR will jointly explore opportunities to deploy SMRs in Finland and Sweden. Last year, Fortum launched a two-year nuclear study of SMRs as well as conventional large reactors in Finland and Sweden. In addition to Rolls-Royce, Fortum is also working with organizations such as EDF, Karnfull Next, and Helen on SMR deployment.
Belgian engineering firm Tractebel signed a memorandum of understanding with the Netherlands’ NRG-Pallas to provide engineering services for the construction of large nuclear power plants in the Netherlands. The Dutch government has placed nuclear power at the heart of its climate and energy policy since 2021, aiming to complete construction of two new reactors by 2035. The Dutch Cabinet announced in December 2022 that it currently sees Borssele as the most suitable location for these reactors.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi held talks with high-ranking Russian officials to discuss the Russian nuclear plant under construction, as well as grain supply and food security. The meeting also addressed the establishment of a Russian industrial zone inside the Suez Canal’s Economic Zone. Russian nuclear entity, Rosatom, is currently building Egypt’s first nuclear power plant at El Dabaa.
Italian company Ansaldo Nucleare signed a contract with Canada’s SNC-Lavalin for the supply of engineering services for plant life extension at Romania’s Cernavoda Nuclear Power Plant. As the original designer of the power plant, Ansaldo will be responsible for balance of plant work, collecting information to define the work required to extend Cernavoda Unit 1’s operating life. The project is one of the preparatory activities for modernization awarded to SNC-Lavalin by Romania’s nuclear energy company, Nuclearelectrica.
Rosatom’s fuel company TVEL won a tender from Brazil’s Eletronuclear to supply more than 100 kilograms of lithium-7 hydroxide for use in the cooling system of Brazil’s Angra Nuclear Power Plant. Once the contract is finished, the plan is to deliver the products from the Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrates Plant by the end of 2023. Brazil has two nuclear power reactors at the Angra power plant and has set out plans to expand its capacity in the years ahead.
The U.S. Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) have entered a strategic research partnership to better understand the performance and behavior of materials required for use in future commercial fusion power plants. Under the five-year partnership, materials will be irradiated using neutrons located at the ORNL High Flux Isotope Reactor before being tested at ORNL and at the UKAEA’s Material Research Facility in Oxfordshire.

France and the United Kingdom signed two energy partnership agreements during a bilateral summit spanning energy, defense, and migration. Under the first agreement, France will consider building electricity interconnectors with its neighbor and cooperate on clean-energy technology such as hydrogen and carbon capture. A second nuclear-specific agreement establishes a working group on nuclear innovation and safety, with both countries planning to build additional nuclear power plants.
British nuclear developer Newcleo signed an agreement with Italian utility Enel to cooperate on Newcleo’s lead-cooled fast reactor (LFR) projects. Under the agreement, Enel will collaborate with Newcleo on projects related to LFR technology, providing specialized expertise through sharing a number of the company’s personnel. The first step of Newcleo’s delivery roadmap will be the design and construction of the first-of-a-kind 30 megawatts-electrical LFR to be deployed in France by 2030.

Canadian-German nuclear technology company Dual Fluid signed a memorandum of understanding with Canadian research center TRIUMF to advance the development of an SMR based on Dual Fluid technology. As part of the MoU, Dual Fluid and TRIUMF will focus on materials research to address several challenges inherent to nuclear power. The prototype of a Dual Fluid reactor is to be launched within the decade, with serial production starting around 2034.

Danish floating nuclear power plant developer Seaborg and TerraPraxis have agreed to assess Seaborg’s Compact Molten Salt Reactor (CMSR) as a potential heat source. This agreement will support TerraPraxis’s Repowering Coal program, which aims to develop a standardized building system and project delivery model for the fast, low-cost, and repeatable repurposing of 2,400 carbon-intensive coal plants to run on emission-free heat by 2050. This heat will come from advanced fission, fusion, and geothermal energy.
Italian energy group Eni and U.S.-based Commonwealth Fusion System (CFS) signed a new collaboration agreement to accelerate the industrialization of nuclear fusion energy. The two partners will work together on a series of projects aimed at launching a nuclear fusion power plant capable of feeding electricity into the U.S. electricity grid by the early 2030s.
Nuclear Policy, Governance, and Geopolitics
Following the announcement of the AUKUS agreement, the United States announced that it will not provide its naval nuclear propulsion overseas beyond its commitment to Australia. State Department official Anthony Wier stated that the sharing of nuclear technology with other countries is not being considered. The shutting down of further provision of military nuclear naval propulsion technology eliminates the prospect of the United States’ other allies in the Asia-Pacific region to benefit from agreements similar to AUKUS.
United Kingdom Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced that nuclear energy will be classified as environmentally sustainable in the country’s green taxonomy. Hunt stated that increasing nuclear capacity is vital to meet the country’s net-zero obligations. Additionally, Hunt also launched a competition aimed at providing funding for SMR projects, which will be completed by the end of this year.
IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi is set for another four-year term at the helm of the agency after being reappointed for a second term by the board of governors. Grossi took charge of the IAEA in 2019 following the death of his predecessor, Yukiya Amano. Grossi has been substantially involved with monitoring Iran’s nuclear activities and working to ensure the safety of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants during Russia’s ongoing invasion.
French lawmakers are examining a new bill that aims to speed up the construction of new nuclear reactors. The bill is intended to streamline the administrative and bureaucratic processes needed to approve and build new nuclear power plants. The bill’s chief sponsor, Maud Bregeon, said the legislation would bolster France’s energy independence from Russian oil and natural gas, as well as from Russian nuclear fuel.
A group of seven European Union (EU) countries led by Germany have rejected calls to incorporate nuclear-made hydrogen into the bloc’s green transportation targets. According to these countries, the production and use of low-carbon hydrogen and fuels should not be incentivized through a directive on the promotion of renewable energy. On the other side of the debate, France and eight other EU countries are calling for incorporating nuclear-derived fuels and hydrogen in the green transportation directive.
Orlen Synthos Green Energy received two boosts to its plan for dozens of small modular reactors across Poland. The company received approval from the European Commission for the joint venture’s creation and signed a cooperation agreement on the project with the National Fund for Environment Protection and Water Management. Orlen Synthos’ aim is to build SMRs in 10 selected locations using GE Hitachi’s BWRX-300 design.
French nuclear company Orano and the government of Niger are exploring the potential of reviving the uranium site project at Imouraren. The project was put on hold in 2015 after the price of uranium collapsed, but the two sides are studying in-situ recovery extraction at the site, which is expected to hold 200,000 tons of uranium.
The European Commission has proposed the Net-Zero Industry Act (NZIA) to scale up the manufacturing of clean technologies in the EU and make sure it is well equipped for the transition to clean energy. Among the proposed options include advanced nuclear technologies that produce minimal waste and small modular reactors. Despite this inclusion, nuclear trade body Nucleareurope criticized the Commission for only partially including nuclear in the NZIA.
Following the disappearance of 2.5 tons of natural uranium from a site in Libya, armed forces reported having found the uranium ore near the country’s border with Chad. The IAEA had previously reported the uranium had gone missing from a Libyan site that was not under government control. In response to the rediscovery of the uranium, the IAEA said it is actively working to verify the recent report.
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has completed the Phase 1 and 2 vendor design review (VDR) of GE Hitachi’s BWRX-300 small modular reactor, with the regulator adding that no fundamental barriers to licensing were identified during the review. The CNSC initially entered into an agreement with GE Hitachi to conduct the VDR of the BWRX-300 back in 2019 to determine the extent to which the SMR meets CNSC regulatory requirements.
Unit 2 of Taiwan’s Kuosheng Nuclear Power Plant has been taken offline and will be decommissioned in accordance with Taiwan’s nuclear phase-out policy. Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party is working to make Taiwan nuclear-free by 2025, with Taiwan’s current six operable power reactors to be decommissioned as their operating licenses expire. The government aims for an energy mix that is comprised of 50% liquefied natural gas, 30% coal, and 20% renewable energy.
X-Energy UK Holdings and Cavendish Nuclear are developing proposals for small modular reactors (SMR) in the United Kingdom, identifying Hartlepool as a preferred location. X-Energy and Cavendish have applied to the United Kingdom’s Future Nuclear Enabling Fund to support a Generic Design Assessment of the Xe-100 SMR.
A poll by international strategy consultancy Stonehaven found a 25% increase in net support for new nuclear power in the United Kingdom since June 2021. The poll found that 46% of people surveyed agreed with expanding nuclear power while 22% disagreed. Stonehaven stated that this “sea change” in support for nuclear energy follows Russia’s war with Ukraine and the global energy crisis.
Uganda’s government announced that it expects to start generating at least 1,000 megawatts from nuclear power by 2031. President Yoweri Museveni added that his government is keen to exploit the country’s uranium deposits for potential nuclear energy deployment. Uganda has already signed a deal with the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) to build atomic energy capacity for peaceful purposes.
France’s nuclear watchdog, ASN, has ordered Electricite de France (EDF) to inspect about 200 pipe weldings across its 56-reactor fleet after discovering three new cracks. Cracks were discovered at the Penly 1, Penly 2, and Cattenom 3 reactors. European forward-curve power prices rose sharply following the announcement, raising fears of energy reliability following a 34-year low output in 2022.
Domestic Civil Nuclear Developments
House Republicans are calling on the Biden administration’s national security officials to use diplomacy, sanctions, and export controls to block Rosatom from helping China expand its nuclear weapons program. According to three House committee chairmen, Rosatom is providing China with uranium enriched to over 20%, which will help China create more weapons-grade plutonium that can fuel the expansion of its nuclear arsenal. The chairmen also demanded a briefing from Biden administration national security officials on the topic by April 17.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is proposing a budget of $1.006 billion to Congress for the fiscal year of 2024. The budget includes $530.8 million for nuclear reactor safety, $152.9 million for nuclear materials and waste safety, $34.2 million for the continued development of regulatory infrastructure and staff capabilities for the licensing of advanced nuclear reactor and fuel cycle technologies, and $23.8 million for international activities.
New Mexico’s Governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, signed legislation aimed at keeping spent nuclear fuel produced by commercial U.S. nuclear power plants from being shipped to New Mexico. The bill will impact a proposed Holtec International facility that would have the capacity to temporarily store up to 8,680 metric tons of used uranium fuel. Lujan Grisham and fellow members of New Mexico’s state legislature have voiced their opposition to the facility’s construction prior to the bill’s signing.
U.S. Senators Joe Manchin and Jim Risch reintroduced the Nuclear Energy Act of 2023 (INEA) for a Congressional vote. The bipartisan legislation promotes engagement with ally and partner nations to develop a civil nuclear export strategy and offset China and Russia’s growing influence on international nuclear energy development.
enCore Energy announced that uranium production will resume at the Alta Mesa processing plant in early 2024. Alta Mesa will be the company’s second producing location following the resumption of uranium production at the South Texas Rosita plant scheduled for later this year. Alta Mesa has been on standby since 2013.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has given approval to Westinghouse’s Advanced Doped Pellet Technology (ADOPT) fuel pellets for use in pressurized water reactors in the United States. Last year, Westinghouse announced an agreement with Southern Nuclear Company to load rods using ADOPT pellets with licensing and manufacturing in 2023. Westinghouse has said it is contracted to deliver reload quantities of ADOPT fuel for three units beginning in 2025.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is updating its power plant licensing regulations to adapt to technological changes brought on by the development of advanced nuclear reactors and small modular reactors. The NRC proposes to establish a “technology-inclusive regulatory framework” for applicants for new commercial advanced nuclear reactors, evaluating nuclear plant proposals based on risk and performance that are practicable to a variety of technologies. However, critics such as the Breakthrough Institute and the Nuclear Energy Institute have criticized the proposed changes as being excessively lengthy and overly complicated.
Noteworthy Research
The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a report outlining the significant impacts that climate change is having on the world already and how these will get much worse. According to the report, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are at their highest levels in 2 million years, and that the global temperature is expected to breach the 1.5ºC threshold by the 2030s. The report lays out how rapid cuts to fossil fuels could avert the worst consequences of climate change in the future.
The U.S. Department of Energy announced the launch of its Pathways to Commercial Liftoff. The initiative is a set of reports that seek to strengthen engagement between the public and private sectors to accelerate the commercialization and deployment of key clean energy technologies. The reports provide the private sector and other industry partners a valuable resource on how and when certain technologies such as advanced nuclear can reach full scale deployment. The reports have concluded that by 2030, the cumulative investments in advanced technologies must increase from $40 billion to $300 billion across hydrogen, nuclear, and long duration energy storage.
The Nuclear Innovation Alliance (NIA) released a follow-up report providing recommendations for the Advanced Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) review process. The NIA conducted an extensive review of the ACRS to determine how it should better align with the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act (NEIMA). Among the recommendations include that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) direct the ACRS to focus on novel and safety-significant issues in its reviews, that the cost of ACRS reviews be reduced, and that management be adjusted.
Third Way released a memo arguing that the Biden administration should designate a Director for Nuclear Energy Policy to coordinate across all levels of government and industry. The memo states that a whole-of-government approach to civil nuclear policy is critical, especially in the face of increasing competition from Russia and China. Among the recommendations for the position are that the position be elevated to the Senior-Director level to enhance the convening power of the post and that the position be equipped to coordinate across the federal government.
The Nuclear Conversation
News items and summaries compiled by:

Patrick Kendall, Program Manager, Partnership for Global Security

Alex de Ramon, Della Ratta Fellow, Partnership for Global Security
For twenty-five years the Partnership for Global Security (PGS) has developed actionable responses to global security challenges by engaging international, private sector, and multidisciplinary expert partners to assess policy needs, identify effective strategies, and drive demonstrable results.