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Holtec: Reviving Nuclear Power in the U.S.

Holtec: Reviving Nuclear Power in the U.S.

Holtec: The Company Spearheading the Nuclear Power Revolution in the U.S.

The Rising Star in the Nuclear Power Industry

As the United States grapples with an increasing demand for power, particularly with the rise of AI, one company stands out as a potential solution. Holtec, the leading US manufacturer of storage equipment for nuclear waste, is advocating for the revival of dormant reactors throughout the country.

From Decommissioning to Reactivating Nuclear Plants

In recent years, Holtec's ambitions have escalated. Since 2019, it has acquired four retired nuclear plants with the initial intention of decommissioning them: Indian Point (NY), Oyster Creek (NJ), Pilgrim (MA), and Palisades (MI), according to Bloomberg. The company saw an opportunity for profit in the substantial trust funds associated with cleanup costs and quickly became the nation's leading nuclear decommissioner.

However, Holtec's plans have since evolved. Despite initially purchasing Palisades to dismantle it, the company now intends to restart the reactor with a $1.5 billion loan from the Department of Energy (DOE). This marks the first time a dormant reactor would be revived in the U.S. Despite this, Holtec has little experience in operating nuclear plants.

The Future of Nuclear Power

While Holtec's safety violations during its four years of decommissioning have raised concerns, some view these infractions as normal in this heavily regulated industry. Regardless, nuclear power is increasingly seen as a crucial tool in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Holtec plans to have Palisades back online soon and aims to launch its own small modular reactors (SMRs) by the end of the decade.

SMRs, factory-built reactors that can be assembled onsite, represent a complex and largely untested venture for Holtec and the industry. However, they are seen as the next logical step for the sector. Recently, Sam Altman's nuclear SPAC, which will soon be trading under the name OKLO, received the green light, indicating growing interest in this area.

The Man Behind Holtec

Holtec, headquartered in Jupiter, Florida, operates primarily from its campus and factory in Camden, New Jersey. The company's founder and CEO, Krishna Singh, earned his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 1972 after emigrating from India. His specialization in heat-exchange systems proved crucial for reactor design, which involves managing the high temperatures generated by fission reactions to produce power.

Holtec made its mark with a storage system for spent uranium fuel rods, addressing the mid-1980s problem of overcrowded indoor cooling pools. Singh's innovation was a durable rack that minimized fuel rod movement during earthquakes, allowing plants to store more rods in the pools. With this patented design, he founded Holtec, and within a few years, his racks dominated the market.

A New Approach to Decommissioning

Traditionally, decommissioning involved shutting down reactors and letting them sit for decades. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) gives operators up to 60 years to complete the process, funded by a trust built from utility ratepayer contributions. However, Holtec, along with NorthStar Group Services Inc. and EnergySolutions Inc., have adopted a different approach, starting decommissioning much earlier. Leveraging their expertise with radioactive materials, they complete the job in years instead of decades, keeping a share of any leftover trust fund money.

The Future of Holtec and Nuclear Power

Holtec not only plans to bring Palisades back online but also aims to have its own small modular reactors up and running by the end of the decade. In fact, many of the U.S.'s reactors could wind up coming back online. Jigar Shah, director of the US Energy Department's Loan Programs Office, stated in an interview with Bloomberg that there are several nuclear power plants that we probably should, and can, turn back on.

In March, Shah's office approved a loan to Holtec International Corp. to reopen the Palisades nuclear plant in Michigan. This marked a historical shift as it was the first nuclear power plant to be reopened in the US, setting a precedent for atomic energy to make a triumphant return. The plant could begin producing power as early as the second half of 2025.

Nuclear power is the largest single source of carbon-free electricity. Given onshoring trends, electrification of transportation and buildings, and the proliferation of AI data centers, a significant upgrade to the power grid is necessary. This presents an enormous investment opportunity, particularly for companies powering up America for the digital age.

Almost three and a half years ago, it became apparent that the resurrection of the nuclear power industry was imminent. This trend is only gaining momentum as the revival of nuclear power plants will continue benefiting some of the largest uranium producers, such as Cameco. Back then, the advice was to buy uranium stocks, such as Cameco around the $10 handle - now it's at $50 a share.

You can read Bloomberg's full feature on Holtec here.

What are your thoughts on this article?

This article presents a fascinating look at the potential resurgence of nuclear power in the U.S. What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you believe nuclear power is the key to meeting our growing energy needs? Share this article with your friends and start a conversation. Sign up for the Daily Briefing, which is delivered every day at 6pm, to stay informed on this and other important topics.

Some articles will contain credit or partial credit to other authors even if we do not repost the article and are only inspired by the original content.

Some articles will contain credit or partial credit to other authors even if we do not repost the article and are only inspired by the original content.

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