My name is Rod Adams. I am a Nuke. I am proud to claim that title and proud of what I have done to earn it.
I have been fascinated by nuclear energy for as long as I can remember. My father was an engineer with Florida Power and Light, a utility that built four nuclear plants while I was growing up. We often discussed this exciting new technology. I learned enough from him to know I wanted to know more.
While at the Naval Academy, I applied for entry into the Navy’s well respected nuclear submarine program. Admiral Rickover accepted me, even though I had majored in English.
Although the program required more work than I though possible, I never regretted my decision. The training opportunities were incredible.
Nothing I learned in five years on board submarines, however, allowed me to understand why nuclear energy had such a poor public image. Following my Engineer Officer tour on the USS Von Steuben, I began an intensive research effort.
Atomic Energy Insights is a vehicle for sharing information about this incredible energy resource with people who are too busy to spend as much time in the library as I have.
The following reality is astounding: Although the United States currently produces more than 20% of its electricity with nuclear power plants, the country’s energy policy makers have virtually given up on the only new source of primary energy discovered in at least a century. There is not a single domestic power company actively planning to build a new reactor plant. An important segment of our economy is atrophying rapidly.
As anyone who understands business and industry will understand, maintaining existing facilities does not require the same kinds of skills as building new machinery. We have already shuttered much of the infrastructure required to build nuclear plants, bright students avoid the subjects necessary to prepare them for positions in the industry, and our design teams are rapidly aging.
Other Countries Advance
Many of our economic competitors, however, see obvious opportunities in building on the technological base that we worked so hard to establish. The list of countries planning major investments in new nuclear power plants includes Japan, South Korea, China, and Indonesia. It is tragic that the United States is abdicating its nuclear leadership to concentrate on windmills and biomass.
In fact, we are actively encouraging nuclear plant developments in North Korea but specifically discouraging the participation of our own industrial companies in the effort. This policy makes little sense.
Nuclear energy is not just an option. It is our best hope for providing the opportunity for a comfortable, productive life for future generations. It is a very young technology with an unlimited supply of exciting new applications just waiting to be invented.
Although I would be interested in anything you have to say about atomic energy, I would specifically like your comments regarding the following issue.
What kind of power plants are best suited for use in developing countries?
Letters and comments about this issue will be published in a future edition of AEI.