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  • How a Nuclear Power Plant Works

    The Fukushima nuclear reactor accident in March 2011 challenged the public’s perception of nuclear power. However, much of this disillusionment simply stems from a lack of understanding of how a nuclear power plant functions. Inside a Nuclear Reactor A nuclear power plant is a lot like most coal or natural … More

    No More Solyndras Act: Good Start; Room for Improvement

    This Friday, the House of Representatives will vote on the No More Solyndras Act, which would prohibit any new loan guarantees from Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. For applications that are already under consideration or have received conditional commitment, the bill would require the Secretary of … More

    Powering America Vignette: What is Radiation?

    “What is radiation?” That simple, three-word question largely embodies the concerns that many Americans have about nuclear power. The answer can be just as complicated as one wants to make it. According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, radiation is “energy radiated in the form of waves or particles.” Jim Hopson puts it … More

    Powering America Vignette: Living Near Nuclear Facilities

    What’s it like to live near a nuclear power plant?  To many, such a prospect might seem dangerous or scary.  But like with most things nuclear, perception is often very different from reality. The fact is, research shows that living near a nuclear power plant poses no particular safety or … More

    Powering America Vignette: Uranium Mining and Milling

    While nuclear energy is unique, uranium, its primary fuel, occurs naturally within the earth much like other, better understood energy sources such as coal, oil, and natural gas.  In each case, extracting the fuel is an essential first step in the production of power. Despite the similarities, uranium mining can … More

    Powering America Vignette: What is a Cooling Tower?

    Nuclear power plants produce almost 80 percent of the emission-free energy in the nation, and cooling towers—though often misunderstood—are an essential part of what makes that possible. Despite their being perfectly safe and far removed from anything radioactive, for many people cooling towers conjure up images of toxic waste, environmental … More

    Questions the Senate Should Ask NRC Nominee Allison Macfarlane

    The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing tomorrow on the nomination of Allison Macfarlane and the re-nomination of Kristine Svinicki to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Though questioning of both nominees is important, Svinicki has already gone through one confirmation hearing and numerous other oversight … More

    Even Wind Executive Doesn’t Want Wind Tax Credit

    The expiration of the production tax credit (PTC) for wind and other renewable energy sources is the subject of intense debate. Some see the credit as a tool for creating jobs and battling global warming. Others see it as an expensive, market-distorting device that rewards inefficiency and punishes competitiveness. Support … More

    There's More to the Story on Obama's Pick for America's Top Nuclear Regulator

    Last week, President Barack Obama announced that he would nominate Dr. Allison Macfarlane, a nuclear waste expert from George Mason University, as the United States’ top nuclear regulator. Conventional wisdom is that Dr. Macfarlane satisfies all the major political interests involved with the NRC decision.  She is a vocal opponent … More

    More to the Story on Nuclear Power and Cheap Natural Gas

    Two major financial news publications, the Economist and The Wall Street Journal, published major articles in the past week arguing that the American nuclear renaissance has ended before it ever really began. While the articles differ slightly in their presentation, the basic common thread is that new nuclear power cannot … More