The Wall Street Journal has published a pithy and quite good summary of the prospects for new nuclear plant construction in the United States written by Rebecca Smith and titled The New Nukes: The next generation of nuclear reactors is on its way, and supporters say they will be safer, cheaper and more efficient than current plants. Here’s a look at what’s coming — and when. The HTML title that attracts search engines is also interesting – “The Outlook for Nuclear Power in the U.S. – WSJ.com”.
Though there are topics that were not covered and there are the traditional balancing quotes from the usual suspects like Tom Cochrane of the National Resources Defense Council, Rebecca has done an admirable job of research and writing to cover a complex topic in just 2500 words. Remember, the Wall Street Journal still has those old paper based space limits and cannot keep its readers happy if they get too deep into any particular topic.
There is some solid indication, at least in my vain mind, that she did some reading of both posts and comments on nuclear focused blogs like this one, Idaho Samizdat: Nuke Notes, NEI Nuclear Notes, Nuclear Green, and This Week In Nuclear. Unfortunately, I think she either missed Energy From Thorium or could not figure out how to explain in the few words allotted how there is a ground swell of work being done by a few dedicated individuals to enable the use of an additional material that is a potential source of fission energy that is 4 times as common as uranium.
Thorium does show up at least four times, so far, in the spirited comment thread associated with the article. I will not detract from your enjoyment of Ms. Smith’s work by attempting to pick out key commentary here. Please go and read the article and then get involved in the comment and discussion thread.