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8 Comments

  1. Rod – thanks, as always, for this post and the excellent reporting. I hope that nuclear related businesses and associations get on the ball and work out some details of what a good regulatory and support framework should be, and then get cracking on finding Federal and State political supporters. I am only a Canadian, looking on, I agree that businesses and groups have been entirely too passive in the face of opposition to nuclear power.

    One aspect of the thoughts here and in the previous post really bothers me. It is the use of the word THE in describing options and choices. That tends to make people think there is only one possibility for growth, or one option besides the current path. But the work on advanced reactors, especially factory manufactured modular reactors and heat batteries, opens up many paths and alternatives. I sincerely hope that all the innovators, the Transatomics and Thorcons, will not be forgotten in regulation proposals and in funding.

    I sincerely hope that the State and Federal governments will declare and put regulation and legislation behind nuclear fission as a desirable minimum impact, zero CO2 emission, and fully dispatchable heat and power source.

  2. “An audience member” and “a member of the group” showed talent for cutting to the chase. Didn’t catch their name, did you? 🙂

  3. This is good news.

    “What the Energy Department plans to do, to help the nuclear industry help itself, is remove regulatory roadblocks”

    I assume that this statement only applies to removing regulatory roadblocks controlled by the DOE. Am I correct? Was there any discussion about re-thinking our current regulatory structure from the ground up?

  4. It would be especially good to suggest regulatory reform that would enable a practical form of plant mothballing. Or a streamlined method of bringing old plants back on line.

    1. Has always seemed strange that plants can set 80-90% constructed for 30-40 years and then get approval to startup. However, the NRC will not allow a plant to be placed in the same “mothball” status for and restarted even as soon as a day after accepting the letter from a plant to cease operation. Any that were restarted would have to go through a restart test like TMI-I did after the accident at unit II which proved the plant was ready to restart. Some rather major modifications were made during that long delayed startup, e.g., all SG Tubes were re-sealed to the tube-plate due to a newly discovered form of stress induced cracking of the previously used tube seal method.

      1. “However, the NRC will not allow a plant to be placed in the same “mothball” status for and restarted even as soon as a day after accepting the letter from a plant to cease operation.”

        That was a very good point. Forcing a billion dollar facility to shut down with no middle ground to resume operations in the future is a big waste of resources for our country. What can be the possible rationale for this? This does not apply to other industrial facilities. Old mines can resume operation as soon as the price of the ore goes back up. Ships can be mothballed for future operation. Many other examples.

        In seem to remember a fellow telling me that radical anti nukes forced Maine Yankee’s reactor to be physically cut up to prevent future operation.

      2. Exactly.

        I read a recent article where a utility exec was quoted as saying that you can shut coal and gas plants down, and then fire them back up when market conditions change, but once you close a nuclear plant, you can’t start it back up.

        My reaction being the simple question, “why.” Nuclear exceptionalism must end.

        I would love to see NRC try to conclusively demonstrate that a reopened nuclear plant (w/o going through any of those excessive hoops) would actually be a greater public health risk than a coal plant. Hell, I’m still trying to understand why Crystal River is not allowed to operate in its current condition (i.e., with a “compromised” shield building) but the four old, dirty coal plants at the same location are allowed to continue to operate. Look me in the eye, NRC, and tell me that Crystal River would be worse than those coal plants. Better yet, prove it to me with rigorous analyses.

        This is one of my ideas for a NRC petition, i.e., that NRC be required to consider the whole picture (in terms of minimizing public health risks) and not be allowed to focus solely on reducing nuclear risks. Being more risky/harmful than a coal plant *should* be the standard for forcing the closure of a nuclear plant.

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