August 2010American expertise established the world’s largest nuclear energy program and fostered the use of this technology around the world. Our dedication to excellence maintains 104 U.S. reactors at world-class levels of safety and reliability. Our innovation, knowledge and experience are guiding the expansion of the U.S. nuclear energy program. The U.S. nuclear industry has the knowledge, experience and expanding infrastructure to support nuclear facility construction, operation and maintenance around the world.Key Points:
The U.S. nuclear industry provides a wide range of nuclear services, technologies and products to meet the needs of customers worldwide.Services and Equipment
Operational Performance. One reason the United States has been able to defer the need for new nuclear power plants until recently is the increased performance of our existing reactors, which have an average capacity factor of 90 percent. Nuclear system specialists work with electric companies to refine procedures, improve equipment, and reduce the length of outages for refueling and maintenance. Power Uprates. In addition to improving plant performance, U.S. electric companies have added the equivalent of five or six new reactors in the past 30 years by upgrading their existing reactors. These projects, called “power uprates,” require detailed engineering analysis and plant modifications to produce more electricity from the same plant. Refurbishment. Tennessee Valley Authority refurbished the Browns Ferry 1 reactor in a five-year, $1.9 billion project, on schedule and within budget. The reactor had been shut down since 1985, but was res-tarted in 2007 and provides electricity to serve 800,000 homes. In addition, TVA has resumed construc-tion of the Watts Bar 2 plant, which was placed on hold in 1988.Components. When manufacturing components for nuclear applications, it is important to start with the right pedigree of materials. U.S. companies produce materials certified in accordance with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers code, including fasteners and commercially dedicated materials and components. With locations around the world and extensive export experience, they can set up conve-nient local supply chains to meet all your needs for materials used in nuclear technology applications.
Nuclear Fuel and Services. U.S.-based manufacturers offer high-performance nuclear fuel for pressurized water reactors and boiling water reactors. They work with electric power companies to develop refu-eling solutions that yield reliable fuel performance and high electricity output, and research and develop-ment of new fuel designs are ongoing. Services for uranium conversion and enrichment are available, and substantial new, advanced enrichment capacity is in various stages of technological development, testing, deployment and start-up. U.S. vendors also offer expertise in the packaging, transport and sto-rage of used nuclear fuel.Uranium Production. The U.S. uranium-production industry is ramping up domestic operations to meet the needs of the growing nuclear energy industry. In 2008, uranium exploration expenditures in the United States were up 673 percent over 2004 with nearly 1.6 million meters drilled. Production rose 58 percent over that same period to 3.3 million pounds of U3O8 (1,492 metric tons) in 2008. The OECD Nuclear Energy Agency’s Red Book reports that U.S. uranium resources of 457 million pounds U3O8 recoverable at $59 per pound (207,435 metric tons recoverable at $130 per kilogram) rank it sixth globally. In addition to this abundance of identified reserves and resources, the American uranium industry offers a reliable supply from a stable political and regulatory jurisdiction where most of the production can be achieved using the environmentally friendly in-situ recovery method.
Advanced Reactor Designs
U.S. companies are at the forefront of developing advanced reactor designs that are even safer and more efficient than our existing fleet of world-class reactors, incorporating modular techniques for easier construction. New designs include:GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR). Four ABWRs have been com-pleted and put into commercial operation; four more are under construction in Taiwan and Japan. One U.S. company has chosen the ABWR for a proposed new plant. Westinghouse AP1000. Four AP1000s are under construction in China. Five U.S. utilities have chosen this design for possible construction. GE Hitachi ESBWR. One U.S. electric utility is considering building this design. Small Modular Reactors. U.S. companies also are developing highly advanced reactor designs based on new technologies, including small modular reactors.