Under current rules and assumptions, anyone who claims that they can design and build a power-producing nuclear reactor in less than 10-15 years is considered to be naive or hopelessly unrealistic. However, there is no reason to believe that everyone with the technical capacity for completing the task will follow the same rules. Even in the United States, there was a time in which nuclear technology development moved much more quickly.
One of my favorite documented examples is the US Army’s reactor project designated as PM-2A, which was assigned the task of providing electricity and heat to a remote base in Greenland. The design contract was awarded on January 23, 1959. The power plant started supplying heat and electricity to the base, Camp Century, on November 12, 1960, only 22 months later. Here are extracts from an Army-produced status report video that describes several stages of the project, including site preparation, delivering, assembling and starting up the reactor power plant.
Knowing what is technically possible, why would anyone assume that all potential economic competitors would agree to adhere to the same constricting rules that the “powers that be” have devised here in the US?
If the game is rigged to be a no-win situation, the most productive response is to change the rules. For some odd reason, far too many people consider that course of action to be cheating. I think it is simply a creative way out of an externally imposed box with no exit. Star Trek fans that remember the Kobayashi Maru test understand what I mean.