It’s not glaringly obvious, but preparatory steps enabling a take off for advanced nuclear power systems are making measurable progress.
Enabling legislative acts have been passed by both the Senate and House and signed by the President, turning them into laws requiring actions.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is back to full strength and under a skilled, experienced chair.
Two of the Commissioners have both education and work experience as nuclear power engineers. A majority of the Commission has indicated that they have a better understanding of their legislated responsibility to take actions that provide “reasonable assurance of adequate protection.”
Nuclear energy has been garnering bipartisan support in Congress as one of the few topics that can attract support from a variety of often contentious groups and individuals.
People who care deeply about clean air and water like the fact that nuclear energy can run inside sealed buildings and produces no air or water pollution.
People who care about the future for all of the world’s children like developing a powerful technology that has three useful superfuels – uranium, thorium and plutonium. Taken together, those fuels provide an inexhaustible resource.
People who want the US to have “energy dominance” recognize that we will have more fuel to export if we consume less of it at home. Some even recognize that we can build powerful, friendly global relationships by engaging in cooperative efforts to empower the world with actinides.
There may even be some people in the traditional hydrocarbon supply economy who recognize that their skills, capital, and attention could be invested in an atomic future. They might realize they would have more long term success by building capability in atomic energy than expending their resources drilling ever deeper holes in ever more challenging locations with ever increasing opposition from people who have determined that the atmosphere doesn’t need an ever increasing quantity of hydrocarbon residues.
On Sunday, Jan 27, 2019, I gathered a group of people who are paying close attention to the incremental developments that are adding up to make it possible to deploy new and improved atomic energy systems.
The panel included:
Steve Aplin – blogger at Canadian Energy Issues
Dr. Ben Heard – founder and director at Bright New World
Jessica Lovering – Director of Energy at the Breakthrough Institute