In this issue, we highlight increasing Russian and French collaboration with foreign partners on advancing the use of nuclear energy. We also note policy developments in South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and the recent International Atomic Energy Agency general conference. Finally, we highlight the recent closure of the Three Mile Island reactor in Pennsylvania, beginning its decades-long decommissioning and dismantling process.
Gates Gets It, Leaders Should Listen
Bill Gates gets that there is no real plan to address climate change. He made this point in the face of a tsunami of recent official declarations and street-level demonstrations bemoaning the worsening “climate crisis.” Four years after the adoption of the Paris Climate Agreement , atmospheric carbon emissions continue to grow and environmental conditions are worsening.

In the meantime, the presidents and protestors made their points at the U.N. Climate Action Summit in New York and then retreated back to their comfort zones after committing to little concrete new action .

Gates makes several important points, the core message of which is that energy demand is growing, innovation is lagging, and fossil fuels remain tempting.

In Gates view, the future is “about energy intensity” and the realization that there is no “one path” forward to driving energy generation to a zero-emission level. In fact, ramping up dependence on zero-emission electricity may require an electric sector that its “almost three times bigger than it is today…[requiring] mind-blowing investments.”

Gates outlined what a real plan to address the climate challenge would look like. First, it means looking at electricity generation, which now is roughly one-third of the carbon emission problem. He’s also focused on “transport, industry, buildings, and land use/agriculture.” He considers the underinvestment in energy R&D budgets a major inhibitor of innovation.

Not surprisingly, given his investment in TerraPower and previous comments, Gates noted that if “you don’t have nuclear and if you don’t have a storage miracle” for renewable energy sources, “it’s very, very hard” to address the climate challenge.

But he is skeptical about the future of next generation nuclear power because of underinvestment, public fears, and erratic government policy. In fact, he came to Washington earlier this year to convince the Congress to make a billion-plus dollar investment in advanced nuclear reactors that he and others could match. Congress failed to act on this proposal despite the fact that a U.S. national security decision prohibiting U.S. companies from cooperating with China on these technologies necessitates the creation of an acceptable alternative location for development and demonstration.

Gates estimates that the chance of technological success for these reactors is roughly 70% and the chance of public acceptance 40%, providing a “28 percent likely[hood]” of success. As far as funding, he notes that significantly more investment is required to drive the next generation of nuclear power. He laments that “you can’t afford not to do it, but the world is crazy.”

Part of that madness is the level of unpreparedness of both small modular and advanced reactor (SM&AR) exporters and purchasers to actually deploy and operate these new reactors.

One action that multiple governments should take now is to support a SM&AR Coordination and Resource Center. This can provide support for both sides of the purchase, strengthen the systems and structures required for safe and secure reactor operation, and streamline the path to deployment. The initial structure and content for this center can be developed in 18 months. Then it can be refined and expanded over the next 1-2 years. This would allow for the technology to mature in tandem with the necessary regulatory, governance, clean energy evolutions.

The U.N. meeting in New York was another reminder that the world does not have a real plan for addressing climate change. Global governments seem to be unwilling to acknowledge the trends that will continue to impact this challenge and are reluctant to make the innovation investments that are necessary to keep pace with accumulating carbon in the atmosphere. Bill Gates gets this reality and is offering ideas to reverse it. Leaders would listen to his plan.

Ken Luongo, Partnership for Global Security

“Nuclear innovation is essential in the 21 st  century, a period of powerful technological evolution and intensifying global competition. The challenges posed by climate change and to global nuclear security must be addressed in a strong and effective manner. Advanced reactors are an important response to both of these critical issues.”
Nuclear Collaboration
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have recently signed an agreement to further cooperation in areas of nuclear science, technology, and applications, as well as nuclear safety, security, and safeguards. 
Électricité de France (EDF) and Westinghouse are currently in talks to have Westinghouse develop a Small Modular Reactor (SMR). SMRs are seen as cost-effective, versatile, and suitable for export to a number of global markets.
South Korea and Saudi Arabia have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on greater nuclear cooperation. Such cooperation includes joint financing of South Korea’s system-integrated modular advanced reactor (SMART) and establishing a joint nuclear power research center. 
Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă and U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry signed a MOU between the two countries on strategic nuclear energy cooperation. This agreement could come into conflict with an agreement made between Romania and China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) earlier this year--the latter is currently on a U.S. trade blacklist.
Russia and Belarus are set to put together a roadmap on nuclear energy by November 1, part of a greater plan of integration between the two countries. The draft roadmap stipulates the planned timeline, analysis of nuclear energy legislation, project collaborative measures, and spent fuel strategy.
Russia and the Dominican Republic have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation on the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Taking place at the annual IAEA General Conference, the signing represents the first time both countries have decided to collaborate in the civil nuclear sector.
Russia and Uganda have signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement in which Russia will help build up the African country’s nuclear capacity. 
The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) and the French National Radioactive Waste Management Agency have recently signed an MOU to support the United Arab Emirates’ commitment to non-proliferation, transparency, and the development of a comprehensive radioactive waste management system.    
Nuclear Policy, Governance, and Geopolitics
ROSATOM has begun training Nigerian professionals and youths on nuclear energy, aimed at boosting Nigeria’s capacity for its development. This initiative is part of a training series called “Atoms for Africa.”
The South Korean government has decided to pursue a new nuclear energy industry export policy by focusing on the full cycle of nuclear power generation rather than the construction of nuclear power plants (NPP) overseas. It has also decided to assist small and medium sized companies to access international markets, which have long been dominated by the country’s state-run nuclear power companies.
Following a statement from Saudi Arabia noting its plans to enrich uranium, the Trump administration has urged Saudi Arabia to allow nuclear inspections by the IAEA, in a letter sent to the country. The letter lays out rules that Saudi Arabia needs to abide by to receive U.S. nuclear technology, including a commitment to forgo enriching uranium or reprocessing spent nuclear fuel.
The UAE’s Ambassador to the IAEA Hamad Alkaabi has touted his country as a model of civilian nuclear energy development for the Middle East. The Barakah plant, the first NPP in the Arab world, is expected to begin operations early next year. 
The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), EDF, Naval Group and TechnicAtome have announced a new SMR design. Its basic design is expected to be completed between 2022 and 2025.
Brexit uncertainties have spilled over into the UK’s nuclear energy industry. Rolls-Royce, part of a consortium of companies of various industries, is concerned about the pledged £18 million government capital injection to help finance research and development of its SMR technology.
Countries embarking on nuclear energy programs for the first time or expanding their programs after a long period without construction face integrated challenges, representatives from emerging and expanding nuclear countries have said. These challenges include the development of human resources as well as financial and political considerations.
Central Asian energy ministers have committed their countries to collaborate on meeting the United Nations' seventh Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), which pledges 'affordable and clean energy' by 2030.
Kazakhstan has decided to increase uranium exports to China to meet the needs of China’s nuclear energy.  
Domestic Civil Nuclear Developments
The Three Mile Island NPP, known for its 1979 meltdown disaster, is set to shut down. Although this will be a decades-long process, it is significant for a country currently debating the role of nuclear in combating carbon emissions.
Duke’s Energy will apply for 20-year license renewals for all six of its NPPs in the Carolinas, potentially extending their working lives to eight decades.  
Nuclear Security and Emerging Technologies 
Three Mile Island’s nuclear plant operator and the U.S. Energy Department are in discussions to extend the presence of the plant’s partially melted reactor core. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has determined that there would be no significant impact from this despite plans to shut the plant down.
The IAEA has recently completed an Emergency Preparedness Review of the UAE’s nuclear security processes. The organization’s assessment identified several strengths in the UAE’s emergency preparedness and response framework while providing a number of recommendations to improve this. 
Noteworthy Research
The IAEA has released its latest projections for energy, electricity and nuclear power trends through 2050. The annual report offers a mixed estimate of nuclear power’s future contribution to global electricity generation, depending in part on whether significant new capacity can be added to offset potential reactor retirements.
The Climate and Security Advisory Group (CSAG) has recently released a report entitled “A Climate Security Plan for America,” which advocates making climate change a national security concern.
New research published in the Energy & Environmental Science Journal indicates that climate change and over-tapped waterways could leave developing parts of Asia without enough water to cool power plants in the near future. To mitigate these problems, some argue to reduce the number of planned power plants. 
The Nuclear Conversation
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