1. Rod,

    Thank you! I enjoyed this podcast, and I hope others will also.

    About the picture. I thought I might do some identifications:

    There are three women in the picture of us at Avignon. I am the somewhat-distracted gray-haired woman digging into her purse, Gwyneth is the cool and beautiful woman in a black outfit and great straw hat, and the red-headed woman is the tour guide. In terms of the guys: Jack Gamble is at the far left, kind of behind me, Steve Aplin is at the center, and Jarrett Adams is at the right, in a light-blue shirt. Rod Adams is behind the camera of course, so we can’t see him.

    Great memories and great people. Thank you for sharing the trip and sharing the picture.


  2. Enjoyed the podcast. I particularly liked the part about job creating opportunities for nuclear waste management that is perceived as less desirable than prisons or chemical plants. Good to hear the low down on Lemar Alexander and Moniz. Also about Steve Aplin’s and your own similar experiences with the regulators and that relationship to potential investors. The prohibitive cost of a review process of $2 Million in Canada is far less than the same process in the US is it not?

    1. @Rick Maltese

      The Canadian process is less open ended and has the potential of being quicker and less costly than the US process. It’s not “cheap” and it is prohibitive for a lightly capitalized company. In the energy industry, far bigger bets have to be placed with even less certainty about the outcome. There are plenty of players in the business who have the resources to make the investment if they see the right kind of payoff in a reasonably predictable period of time.

      It was the uncertainty of the NRC process — and my lack of selling skills when I am also deeply uncertain about my ability to back up a promise — that ensured that Adams Atomic Engines, Inc. would always be a lightly capitalized company that ultimately folded.

  3. On the visits to nuclear facilities, a topic which in my view is fundamental, where do we stand right now in the US?

    I see great value in allowing the general public to visit facilities, and here in Switzerland, where I now live since 2012, visiting facilities is quite simple, and the same is true in neighboring France.

    I have been three times already at the Gösgen NPP and once at Mühleberg. Gösgen has a wonderful and recently renovated visitor center, which is toured before the visit to the plant.

    There is no security whatsoever to get to the visitor center, whereas security is quite strict, including random checks on explosive powder, as one can expect. And once inside the plant, except for the nuclear island, everything will be visible and clearly explained by the tour guides.

    At the end of the tour, a refreshment with cheese, wine and beer is offered to all the tour participants, and more questons will be answered by the tour guides.

    This service is offered for free, and runs every day of the week, including sundays if needed.

    Lots of classes with children of all ages do the visit every year, and they come from as far as Germany and Italy.

    There is great value in doing these kind of things. We should make a strong argument in favor of opening these tours once again. There will never be a time in which “terrorism” will not be an issue any longer, yet we need people to see and touch with their own hands how safe and clean nuclear is.

    Without this, there will be less and less nuclear in the world. Also here in Switzerland, I am afraid.

    Ciao, Luca

    1. We were on holiday in England last year, and visited three of their nuclear power plants. Now that Electricite de France operates the english plants, they do guided tours. The same kind of security as Luca describes, and we needed to sign-up at least three weeks in advance, for the plant to do a general background check.

      All tours were very interesting and informative, with enough different aspects being emphasized that they weren’t too similar. In the AGR’s you come closer to the nuclear process because you can see the top of the reactor and the refuelling equipment. The tour of their single PWR gave more emphasis to the electricity production itself, like in a thermal electricity plant, as they can show less of the nuclear part: the reactor building is off limits during production.

      My OH, who was very negative about nuclear power before I started to read about it and teach him what I learned, took away from these tours that nuclear power is much safer than he thought before, when managed well. These tours, and a previous one in the COVRA, the national radioactive waste storage, gave him a more positive outlook than before. They are really a vital part in reaching out to people, showing what they do and why and how. “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

      I find it a great pity that we can’t visit our only nuclear power plant Borssele. It’s only possible in a professional context, and I think that’s a missed chance for the plant to profile itself more positively. They do school classes, so that’s something.

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