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  • Time Wasting on Nuclear Power

    The Heritage Foundation on Tuesday released the above chart headlined U.S. a Nonstarter in Nuclear Power. The point of the chart was to show those who continue to question the value of nuclear power that other countries are making concrete decisions and moving forward in earnest.

    Unfortunately, some felt the chart sent the wrong message. By not explicitly putting the U.S. on the chart, they argued, we misrepresented the status of nuclear power’s comeback here.

    It’s true that 17 utilities and consortia are in the permitting process to build up to 30 new nuclear reactors. But the fact remains:  None has started construction and much remains to ensure those 30 units will go beyond the permitting process and actually get built.

    If it were simply a question of process, then perhaps the nation could rest assured that those reactors would be built. But it’s not. This remains a question of policy. Will the U.S. develop a sustainable nuclear waste management policy? Without a rational policy,  there is no nuclear renaissance.

    What about loan guarantees? Some argue that no reactors will be built without them. Regardless of one’s view, the debate demonstrates few believe everything is in place from a policy perspective for a successful nuclear rebirth in America.

    The subtext of Heritage’s chart was that the U.S. needs to stop squabbling about the value of nuclear energy –the technology is proven — and get to the business of making better policy to allow the building of more power plants. It was in no way meant to ignore recent efforts. The work of certain members of Congress, the Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as well as that of industry, has positioned us for that nuclear renaissance. No question.

    The bottom line is,  nuclear energy has strong opponents that have made careers out of being anti-nuclear — and their propaganda continues to permeate the national debate. So long as this dynamic manifests itself as fence-sitting elected officials who won’t  take the right steps on nuclear energy policy, America’s nuclear renaissance remains in doubt.

    And it’s these reluctant lawmakers who, despite America’s thirst for new energy, continue to deny our citizens access to nuclear energy. It’s these lawmakers who assure that, to date, when it comes to building new nuclear plants, the U.S., unfortunately, is a nonstarter.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    2 Responses to Time Wasting on Nuclear Power

    1. Donald Pay says:

      If the technology is proven, I don't understand why all financing and liability protection can't be secured from the market without any government guarantees. Also, the fact that many nuclear proponents want to eliminate or severely restrict the rights of citizens with regard to siting and environmental hearings for nuclear power generating stations indicates to me the essential need for a totalitarian apparatus to secure the industry. You might want to consider why China and Russia seem to be leading the pack, and then decide whether you want to move there to enjoy the "benefits" of nuclear power.

    2. charlesH, Orem Utah says:

      Liquid fluoride thorium reactors (LFTR). Nuclear power done the right way. Nuclear power that everyone can support.

      For those of you concerned about nuclear safety and waste products there is a much better alternative. Thorium based (rather than uranium based) nuclear power. This technology was demonstrate in the 50's and 60's but was abandoned because it was much harder to produce weapons grade material (compared to uranium). The military considerations favored the uranium fuel cycle.

      More specifically LFTR (liquid fluoride thorium reactors) compared to uranium reactors burn fuel 100x more efficiently without reprocessing, result in ~100x less waste and are inherently safer and should cost less to build.

      In addition, since LFTR is a high temp low pressure process it can use water or air cooling. Thus Ut/Nv etc, where water is scarce, could replace it's coal fired plants with low cost, clean thorium power plants. Much more cost effective and reliable than the wind and solar plants that California is building. (fyi, California's electricity currently costs 2x Utah's and they are on a path to keep it that way.)

      Comparison: Uranium vs Thorium Based Nuclear Power

      Uranium LWR : Thorium LFTR

      Fuel Reserves (relative) __________________ 1 : 100 (1000s yrs)

      Fuel Mining Waste Volume (relative) ____ 1000 : 1

      Fuel Burning Efficiency _______________ ~1% : >95%

      Radioactive Waste Volume (relative) ______ 40 : 1

      Radioactive Waste Isolation Period __10000yrs : 80% 10yrs, 20% 300yrs

      Plant Cost (relative) _____________________ 1 : <1

      Plant Thermal Efficiency _____________ ~33% : ~50%

      Cooling Requirements _______________ Water : Water or Air

      Plant Safety _______________________ Good : Very Good

      Weapons Grade Material Production ____ Yes : No(very hard)

      Burn Existing Nuclear Waste ___________ No : Yes

      Development Status _______ Commercial Now : Demonstrated

      for more info see



      charlesH (BS Physics)

      Orem, Utah

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