A friend at rightdemocrat.blogspot.com mentioned my post from January 18 and also posted some information about the recent report issued by the Progressive Policy Institute, an arm of the Democratic Leadership Council. (You can find this post at http://rightdemocrat.blogspot.com/2007/01/atomic-insights-democrats-increasing.html.)
Here is a section of the post about the PPI report that caused me to add a comment that turned into a call for action.
The report stresses, however, that technological advances such as pebble bed reactors require a great deal of time to navigate through regulatory processes and actually get built.
As a result, the report encourages Democrats to take action now to remove regulatory hurdles that slow the development and construction process.
“It will take time to bring these next-generation facilities online. Progressives should support efforts to expedite the process,” the report urges.
I thought I should share the call for action with you, in hopes that it will lead to at least a letter or phone call or two.
One thing that politically active people who support the intelligent use of nuclear power can do is to write to their representatives and ask them to fully fund the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
This is not a request for a subsidy – the NRC does not help anyone build power plants by providing funds to support them. Instead, the NRC’s task is to carefully review license applications, power plant operations, and construction/manufacturing programs.
Because of the current budget impasse, the NRC is being limited to last year’s budget level even though the demands for its regulatory oversight are growing and even though the US Treasury is receiving an increased quantity of fees paid by licensee and applicants in order to pay for the service.
Obviously, the only response that the NRC can have is to watch its spending, hire fewer people and stretch out reviews. That is simply going to add to the time and cost of a proper license application process.
Of course, in my cynical mind, I sometimes believe that such seemingly illogical situations are the product of devious minds that know that any delays in nuclear power plant construction and operation will benefit their current business of selling old fashioned fossil fuel power.
Disclosure: As the Founder and President of Adams Atomic Engines, Inc. I have a vested interest in the ability of the NRC to review license applications for advanced reactors – particularly gas cooled pebble bed reactors – in a timely manner. However, I think that most other Americans have a vested interest in an expeditious license review process since we all breathe the same air and are threatened by the same effects of climate change.