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Free Minds & Free Markets

How We Screwed Up Nuclear Power

Half a century ago, nuclear power was on track to out-compete fossil fuels around the globe, which would have reduced the price of electricity, the amount of harmful air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions associated with climate change. Then came a dramatic slowing of new construction and research into safer and more efficient nuclear reactors.

According to Australian National University researcher Peter Lang, the '60s and '70s saw a transition "from rapidly falling costs and accelerating deployment to rapidly rising costs and stalled deployment." Had the initial trajectory continued, he writes in the journal Energies, nuclear-generated electricity would now be around 10 percent of its current cost.

In a counterfactual scenario featuring increasing uptake of nuclear power from 1976, Lang calculates that by 2015 it would have replaced all coal-burning and three-quarters of gas-fired electric power generation. Thus, over the past 30 years we could have substituted 186,000 terawatt-hours of electricity production, avoiding up to 174 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions and 9.5 million air pollution deaths. Cumulative global carbon dioxide emissions would be about 18 percent lower, and annual global carbon dioxide emissions would be one-third less.

The Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in New Jersey opened in 1969. It cost $594 million (in 2017 dollars) and took four years to build. America's newest nuclear plant, at Watts Bar in Tennessee, opened in 2016. It cost $7 billion and took more than 10 years to complete.

What happened? Anti-nuclear activism and regulation.

The 1971 D.C. Circuit Court case Calvert Cliffs required the United States Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) to comply with a mandate to prepare environmental impact statements for proposed actions. The AEC reacted by suspending all licensing for nuclear power plants for 18 months while it devised new rules. In a 2017 essay, Carnegie Mellon historian Andrew Ramey notes that this was "the opinion which had the most far-reaching and detrimental effect on the development of nuclear power"; it is now regarded as "nuclear opponents' biggest court victory." But it wasn't the only hurdle.

The Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 abolished the AEC, handing its regulatory powers to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. That entity's sole focus on safety resulted in lengthening construction times for plants from four to 14 years. Tightening regulations meant orders for new nuclear reactors had slowed to a trickle even before the Three Mile Island meltdown in 1979. Subsequently, plans for nearly 60 more reactors in the U.S. were scrapped.

"The benefits forgone cannot be recovered," Lang concludes, "but future benefits can be increased by amending the policies that caused the cost increases and slowed the deployment of nuclear power."

Photo Credit: Alicia_Garcia/iStockPhoto

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  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    "But you can't measure the number of lives saved with this regulation."

    -Regressives

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Yes I can; zero. And my measurement is at least as valid as their nightmare scenarios.

    The cold facts are that Progressives are scared to death that cheap resources and low regulation will enable the common man to tell them to pound sand.

  • Longtobefree||

    So, do you design nuclear power plants form home or what>

  • Danathar||

    You don't have it QUITE right.

    They would probably modify your statement to say...

    "But you can't measure the number of CHILDREN saved with this regulation"

  • SQRLSY One||

    The counterfactual should have also included how many FEWER cancer deaths we'd be having right now, assuming that most of all the radiation releases would have been low-dose, not high-dose... And this is a realistic assumption.

    Low-dose radiation is GOOD for you, and PREVENTS cancer! I kid you not!

    On radioactive wastes (ionizing radiation), Google "radiation hormesis", and see USA government study of the Taiwan thing (accidental experiment on humans) at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....MC2477708/ … Low-dose radioactivity is actually GOOD for you! Seriously!!!

  • colorblindkid||

    Radiation is scary because we can't see it. It is as simple as that. Luddites and environmentalists have been waging a science-free fear-mongering propaganda campaign for decades. There are places on Earth where the natural background radiation levels are higher than the beaches of Fukushima.

    But try telling that to any of the I FUCKING LOVE SCIENCE people.

    Trump's "Global Warming is a Chinese conspiracy" nonsense is absolutely no worse or more deranged than most of the shit environmentalists believe about GMOs, organic food, and nuclear energy.

  • colorblindkid||

    The notion that "profit" is uniquely evil and tarnishes everything is bullshit. History shows that pure ideology and rigid belief systems of any kind are far more dangerous and evil than the desire for profit.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience" - C.S. Lewis

  • Hicks||

    Ionizing Radiation is scary because nuclear reactions have millions time more energy that chemical reactions; or Million electron Volts vs electron Volts. This means that each nuclear particle easily can break 100,000 chemical bonds, and cause mutations in DNA. This happens so frequently that cells have created multiple correction mechanisms, but its not foolproof. Mutations can cause cancer, but they also are critical to evolution.
    Radiation is scary because its impossible whether its 2 mSv (harmless background), or deadly 5000 mSv reactor leak.
    Today's commercial reactors essentially have Big heating element in big pressure cooker. A 1000 MW reactor heating element can't be turned off instantly, but continues to generate considerable energy ( 10 - 50 MW) which much be removed from the fuel rods, or they will melt. If the cooling water drops too low, molten fuel dropping into the cooling pool causes water flashes to steam. Hot fuel pellets can also scavenge the O2 out of water, filling the vessel with an explosive Hydrogen mix.

    I strongly support nuclear energy as a way to avoid pumping more CO2 into the atmosphere, but we need safer systems, and we need to watch the currents reactors more carefully.

    If companies want to build Nuclear Plant without regulations, they should not expect taxpayer-subsidied Insurance. I personally can't see how they can obtain in the free market.

    ( Nuclear Engineering 1976)

  • Iheartskeet||

    Not to mention about 10 or so people die mining coal each year...this would have dropped a lot too.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    Compelling title for the article, but if the article in the digital edition of Reason is as terse as this one is, it adds zilch. There seem to be three camps: "Nuclear power is evil and will kill us all", "Nuclear power is an oversubsidized technocratic trainwreck", and finally "Nuclear power is too overregulated to be practical".

  • Hank Phillips||

    Nuclear explosives made coercive socialism obsolete. Mathias Rust made this obvious when he landed a plane in Red Square after cruise missiles were mature technology and SDI made ballistic missiles dicey. But the anti-industrial revolution exported as a Soviet 5th column has taken on a life of its own and still controls the Democratic Party. Until Democrats realize communism is dead and they can no more ban guns and electricity than Republicans can again ban birth control (including diaphragms, condoms and the pill) and beer, we will have more and more blackouts. Then again, as the LP grows and earns more spoiler votes, all such medieval laws will be repealed. The LP is on track to have 50% of the vote by 2074.

  • The Inappropriate Comedy Tree||

    You are on track to have 0% of the sanity by 2014.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    By 2074, either there will be no united states, no planet, or everyone will be inter-networked brains stored in jars, living in a simulated world where fried insects and soylent green are considered a delicacy and Marylin Monroe is president of the UN.

  • Colossal Douchebag||

    I, for one, welcome our new blond bombshell overlord.

  • Leader Desslok||

    But only if Anna Nichole Smith is VP. If I have to stare at boobs as our political leaders it might as well be good looking boobs.

  • Agammamon||

    Is this satire? I can't tell.

    Coercive socialism is alive and well.

    SDI still doesn't work.

    The LP party is growing?

  • Longtobefree||

    If you can't tell, it doesn't matter.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    The oversubsidized trainwreck camp has the problem that Price Anderson has paid out approximately zilch in the way of subsidies. It might as well have not been in place in terms of what the industry saved.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    The problem with the claim that it's an oversubsidized trainwreck, is that Price Anderson has paid out basically zero in the way of subsidies. The government subsidy part has never kicked in, even in the case of 3ml Island.

  • Flinch||

    It barely scratches the surface, and more reading is needed. 3 mile island had a primary coolant leak as I recall, but not a full meltdown. The problem of opening a closed loop cooling system means sudden steam flashing allowed by pressure loss, and cooling efficiency inside the reactor drops to dangerous levels. The steam release [and other comonents] to atmosphere was the only public exposure. In their case the "partial meltdown" means the cladding of fuel cells [that secures proper fuel location] failed, and when fuel is not located properly the use of rods to control reactivity do not have their full effect, which compounded the efficiency loss. I don't think any fuel left the core [which would be a full meltdown].

  • colorblindkid||

    Chernobyl is basically the worst case scenario for nuclear. Over the course of a century afterwards, fewer than 10,000 people will die from the released radiation in the environment. Fukushima, another worst case scenario, will likely cause, at most, 100 additional deaths over the next 50 years. 16,000 people died in the tsunami and earthquake.

    The number of casualties from the entire history of nuclear energy is orders of magnitude less than the number of people who die from fossil fuel production every month. Nuclear is by far the most efficient and environmentally friendly energy source.

    There are thriving coral reefs in the craters of the Bikini Atoll where we dropped 25 nuclear bombs. Chernobyl is now a de facto wildlife preserve, because animals and plants don't give a shit that low levels of radiation raise their risk of getting cancer by .05%. Fukushima is already reverting back to nature.

    If I was a radical environmentalist, I would love nuclear energy and would try to cause nuclear accidents, because it scares humans away, largely for statistically irrational fears, and lets nature take back over.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Not to mention, both the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters were caused by people either ignoring or intentionally disabling emplaced warning systems.

    One of my favorite pieces of nuclear trivia is that in 1979, the year of the Three Mile Island partial meltdown, more people were killed by robots (1) than by Three Mile Island (0).

  • NoVaNick||

    A favorite of those how adhere to the precautionary principle is "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." They use this to shut down anything that violates their sense of aesthetics and social justice, or allows the unwashed masses to get around their rules "for the common good"

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Of course, strict application of the precautionary principle would forbid using the precautionary principle at all.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Cohen, the guy who wrote the 1977 Scientific American article de-horrorizing nuclear by-products, later explained the Chernobyl disaster. Communist officials ordered the plant shut down as part of a generating test. They then ordered it be started right back up before neutron-eating gases could dissipate. With no nuclear engineers present they pulled way too many control rods. When the gas dissipated the chain reaction caused a steam explosion and set the carbon moderator on fire. But any Green Democrat will tell you that communist meddling "wasn't really" to blame for the fire and explosion.

  • EngineeringScienceTech||

    +Hank Phillips Chernobyl's problems extended far beyond just operator error. The reactor as a whole was built with a major design flaw that does not exist in most reactors today. It is actually illegal to design Light Water Reactors like the RMBK design by the NRC and IAEA. One fundamental error was that these reactor were designed with very high positive void coefficents. A void coefficient of reactivity is an estimate of the rate of reactivity in a reactor when "voids" or steam bubbles form in the coolant. When these bubbles form as the reactor reaches criticality they reduce the ability for neutron absorbers such as xenon or samarium to absorb excess neutrons and as a result there is an increased probability of unmoderated fission resulting in higher reactivity. When the power in the reactor increased this led to more steam and thus more reactivity, which led to more power and thus a positive feedback loop that continuously depleted more and more coolant resulting in a meltdown.

    http://www.world-nuclear.org/i.....ctors.aspx

  • SF Pete||

    physics, thx.

  • Unemployed Armenian Tranny||

    Chernobyl and Fukushima are also both old tech reactors - worst-case designs compared to other and newer types of reactors, for gauging safety of operation and polution output.

  • Brandybuck||

    Nuclear is also carbon free. Alarmed about global warming? Get behind nukes! But no one does because it's not about saving the world it's about promoting a monolithic worldview of modernism as evil.

  • colorblindkid||

    I'm convinced these people think solar panels and wind turbines are made by fairies using clouds and rainbows, and not by factories in China powered by dirty coal power using minerals extracted from environmentally disastrous mines that poisons millions of people.

    Even the dirtiest mines and power plants in America are a hell of a lot cleaner and less environmentally damaging than those in third world countries. Refusing to relax some environmental regulations and blocking every new mine and factory and power plant in America actually does tangible harm to the environment and global climate.

    Like with blocking pipelines, it is entirely about virtue signalling. They don't care about actually solving any problems. Blocking pipelines does not stop Canada and energy companies from producing oil and gas. It just forces them to transport it using more dangerous methods, which wind up spilling more oil and emitting a lot more CO2 than the pipeline would have.

  • NoVaNick||

    It just forces them to transport it using more dangerous methods, which wind up spilling more oil and emitting a lot more CO2 than the pipeline would have.

    Which is all part of their plan. Every time an oil train derails, the prog media goes bezerk.

  • Leader Desslok||

    Every time an oil train derails, the prog media goes bezerk.

    I think what you really meant to say was "every time the prog media goes berserk".

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    We will solve the world's energy problems with very expensive, tiny little wind turbines.

    By Grabthar's Hammer, w...what a savings!

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Fresh ideas from the 6th century BC.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Every time I see a child running with a spinning pinwheel, I marvel at how such a beautiful thing can supply all of the worlds energy needs.

  • Finrod||

    If only we used children running on treadmills for energy, we wouldn't need fossil fuel.

  • 1980-f||

    We just need to get hold of a few beryllium spheres. They'll solve all our energy problems.

  • LynchPin1477||

    The number of casualties from the entire history of nuclear energy is orders of magnitude less than the number of people who die from fossil fuel production every month

    How many people die from fossil fuel production every month? Fewer than 10,000, I would think.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Keep in mind that almost all of your 10,000 are projected deaths, based on the already debunked "Linear No Threshold" model.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Ah

  • mtrueman||

    " Fukushima is already reverting back to nature."

    Not before it's cleaned up. Clean up costs were estimated to be some 50 billion $US at the time of the disaster. A few years later, those estimates had doubled and later they doubled again. It's now estimated the cost to clean up the mess in Fukushima, storing contaminated soil etc, is in the neighbourhood of $US 180 billion. The Japanese government tells us the costs will be born by TEPCO.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Nature doesn't care if Fukushima is cleaned up. Plants and animals don't give a fig about trivial increases in background radiation. And outside of the plant itself, the radiation levels are trivial, as far as nature is concerned.

    Humans freak out about small increases in their odds of getting cancer. Mice and birds? Don't care.

  • mtrueman||

    " Mice and birds? Don't care."

    People do care though. Enough to spend 100s of billions of dollars on the cleanup. I grant you that plants, and other animals are not so concerned.

  • Flinch||

    Environmentalists [real ones] are stewards - relatively normal people who care about those who follow. Radicals are luddites, but they are also hypocrites in that they don't live like the Amish, I note. Anyone know the safe stay time 3 meters from the "elephants foot" at Chernobyl? I'm guessing it's under 0.2 seconds, but I don't have all the math tools at my fingertips. But more interestingly is... nuclear power is safer than congress. Look at the thousands of extra deaths caused each year by CAFE "standards" on the nations highways alone... is that genocide? The body count is now up there with anything Bill Clinton accused anyone of in Bosnia.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Anyway, who's "we," kemosabe?

  • CatoTheChipper||

    Hey, I was going to say that. You beat me to it!

  • Colossal Douchebag||

    Piling on!

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    You, me and Jane Fonda. Together.

  • NoVaNick||

    At one point, the progs' favorite country (France) generated 80% of its electricity from nukes without any incidents. Last I heard, the ecofascists had pressured the government there to start shutting them down.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    They can emulate Germany and go back to burning wood. Building a bridge to the 18th century!

  • Rhywun||

    Who doesn't want to triple their engergy bill, I mean come on.

  • sarcasmic||

    Since my ex moved out my electricity bill has almost halved. Of course I don't spend twenty minutes blowdrying my hair everyday, I don't let the hot water (electric water heater) run the entire time I do dishes, and I don't do a load of laundry (electric dryer) with only three things in it because my favorite jeans are dirty.

  • silver.||

    Sorry about the split, glad about your energy bill. I replaced all the incandescent bulbs in my ex's apartment with LEDs and shaved $20 off the bill. So she went and got a couple 200W grow bulbs for her cacti... also the blowdryer even though I had longer hair.

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I bet all the drains sped up, too.

  • Robert||

    I recommend Pequa for that.

  • NoVaNick||

    Don't know about wood, but the Germans are actually burning a lot more coal now thanks to the Greenies.

  • Sevo||

    They're also buying a lot of energy from those countries who are a bit more realistic. And then BMW, for one, is moving aluminum foundries to countries 'nearer the final market' which, coincidentally, have reliable energy supplies.
    All so green krauts can feel good about themselves.

  • Leader Desslok||

    The French also recycle their spent fuel rods. They recapture up to forty percent of the usable uranium in a spent fuel rod.

    Surely the left must like that.

  • IceTrey||

    Molten salt reactor, enough said.

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    +1 decentralized power grid

  • Hank Phillips||

    Bailey should read Petr Beckmann's articles in Reason. "The Health Hazards of NOT Going Nuclear" showed verifiably that all opposition to U.S nuclear power shortened life expectancy and was thus by definition a health hazard. John Von Neumann favored using plutonium bombs, designed against national socialism to destroy the soviet socialist government after WWII. Socialists regarded all foreign things nuclear as existential threats. Brainwashing was the answer.

  • Flinch||

    Public policy tailored to shortening life spans? Sounds like our regulators cling to their copy of The Population Bomb in a fevered sweat every night, trying to retrench life expectancy to pre 1940 levels.

  • sarcasmic||

    The purpose of a nuclear reactor is to make fuel for nuclear weapons. The heat is a byproduct that is turned into electricity for PR purposes.

    The major powers have plenty of fissionable material for weapons, so they have no incentive to build new reactors.

  • sarcasmic||

    At least that is what my cousin tells me. He's senior engineer in a nuclear power plant, so I figure he knows what he's talking about.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    He doesn't.

  • sarcasmic||

    That was the most insubstantial rebuttal I've seen since my last argument with Tony.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Reason is being bitchy. You need a special reactor to make weapons grade Pu. Graphite moderator and run in short sprints. You need 239Pu and it has to have a low % of 240Pu or it's worthless. The product of normal LWR has far, far too much 240Pu to ever be useful in making a bomb.

    Now we return you to your regularly scheduled appeal to authority.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Reason is being bitchy. You need a special reactor to make weapons grade Pu. Graphite moderator and run in short sprints. You need 239Pu and it has to have a low % of 240Pu or it's worthless. The product of normal LWR has far, far too much 240Pu to ever be useful in making a bomb.

    Now we return you to your regularly scheduled appeal to authority.

  • Agammamon||

    1. Most plants use LE Uranium and even the HE plants don't have fuel enriched enough to divert directly into a bomb.

    2. Most of our plants (and pretty much all foreign ones) are specificly designed not to be able to generate significant quantities of Plutonuim. Those that can are called breeder reactors.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Or converters, which is basically what weapons reactors are. The Pu that LWRs produce isn't weapons grade and if you're going to enrich it you might as well just skip the intermediate steps and stick to enriching U.

  • silver.||

    From what I remember of nuke classes, this isn't true. Fission weapons are highly enriched, a process that requires totally separate facilities. Oak Ridge National Laboratory produces most of it, as they want to control the distribution of weapons-grade materials.

    Uranium for reactors is also enriched, albeit to a much smaller degree (lower 'concentration').

    The spent fuel is worthless for fission, but it would be very good for a 'dirty bomb.' Unspent fuel rods can be handled with gloves, but after use, Usain Bolt would drop dead before he reached them at a full sprint (that is probably hyperbole).

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Semi-true: U235 bombs can bypass reactors, because U235 is a naturally present isotope. Plutonium bombs require reactors to produce, because Plutonium has a short enough half-life that it's not present in nature in significant amounts.

    The thing is that Plutonum has some desirable properties for bombs, so they wanted the uranium based reactors to provide the plutonium.

    Thorium reactors have some big advantages for power production, but don't generate desirable plutonium isotopes, so they were disfavored. We'd have likely gone with the Thorium reactors if they had only been for power.

    And, Usain Bolt would get a fatal dose of radiation even sprinting towards the rod, but it would take him a couple days to die of it. You don't die instantly of acute radiation exposure unless it's enough to literally cook you.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Thorium is terrible for power production unless you have a molten or gaseous core. And if you have the latter it is nearly ideal for weapons production.

  • sarcasmic||

    The spent fuel is worthless for fission, but it would be very good for a 'dirty bomb.'

    As I'm sure you know the Manhattan Project created two bombs. Little Boy was uranium, and Fat Man was plutonium if I remember correctly. In the process of producing the plutonium they produced a ton of heat, which at the time was considered to be a waste product. Then they figured they could turn it into electricity. They could build plutonium factories and call them power plants. Genius!

    The spent fuel is the most valuable product of a nuclear reactor, because it can be refined into bomb-grade plutonium. The electricity is nothing more than a byproduct.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Critical piles came BEFORE bombs. The point was to generate energy not make plutonium.

    And spent fuel from a normal LWR is useless for making bombs. They use special reactors with graphite moderators to do that, and they basically run them in sprints because you need a high enrichment of 239Pu for a bomb. The longer you run the reactor the more 240Pu you make.

  • sarcasmic||

    Interesting. Learn something new every day.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    If you want to get a little wonkish go to youtube and watch leblanc talk about his IMSR. If you want more entertainment value then sorenson is better but he's incorrectly dismissive of the proliferation risks of thorium. Basically, MSR really good, thorium really risky unless you have a very careful reactor design.

  • markm23||

    The first reactors were for research, not energy or plutonium. First, they had to confirm that the fission chain reaction actually worked, and then they needed a second way of measuring reaction cross-sections (besides in accelerators) to get numbers accurate enough to design either a bomb or a better reactor. And then, at least in the USA, there was the mad scramble to make the materials for just a few bombs as quickly as possible.

  • Agammamon||

    The nuclear reactor was conceived, designed, and built before the first bomb even got tk thw drawing board.

    Chocago pile one.

    *After* the reactor was built they realized that if the reaction could be made to happen fast enough it would release enough energy to literally explode.

  • MiloMinderbinder||

    Ron reviewed Nicholas Wade's book when it came out.

    Can we hope for a review of David Reich's "Who We Are and How We Got Here, "

  • Tony||

    I'd be happy to be proved wrong that nuclear power cannot exist in the open market without government subsidy. I'd settle for you guys simply acknowledging that and not pretending that solar and wind are the only types of energy that get subsidies.

  • sarcasmic||

    Your logical fallacy is...

    You can't make assertions, claim them to be fact, and then demand that others prove you wrong. Well, you can, but that only makes you an idiot.

    It is your job to back up your assertion. It is not our job to disprove it.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|4.12.18 @ 12:24PM|#
    "I'd be happy to be proved wrong that nuclear power cannot exist in the open market without government subsidy."

    I'd be happy if you ONCE presented an honest argument.
    I used to think you were smart enough to know you were shoveling shit. Now I know you're simply an ignorant asshole who would be best served if you got lost.

  • sarcasmic||

    Tony is worse than ignorant. He really believes that being unable to understand something makes him smarter than someone who does.

  • Tony||

    On the other hand, I'm tickled that libertarians whore for the one existing form of energy production that cannot exist in a free market. It's almost if this entire this is a picking-winners-and-losers farce for the Koch brothers.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|4.12.18 @ 5:05PM|#
    "On the other hand, I'm tickled that libertarians whore for the one existing form of energy production that cannot exist in a free market."

    One more dishonest post, scumbag.

  • markm23||

    When government regulations go beyond safety to increasing the cost by 10 to 20 times, there's no free market, and it's not surprising that subsidies aren't enough.

  • sarcasmic||

    Thing is Tony, you could be correct. It is entirely possible. However you come across as a foolish idiot by smugly claiming your assertions are correct until someone proves you wrong.

    Try backing up your case with facts and/or logic for a change. You might actually gain some respect instead of being thought of as a complete moron by every single person who interacts with you.

  • Ariki||

    What fun would that be?
    Court Jesters are supposed to be fools.

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    There's only one way to prove you wrong and that is to deregulate and see what the results are. You know, facts.

    So, you down with that? Do you fucking love science enough to test your hypothesis?

    No need to answer.

  • Tony||

    I'm not talking about regulation (we wouldn't want any of those on nuclear power plants!), I'm talking about insurability.

  • MarkLastname||

    Nuclear power plants are privately insured, genius.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    You need to assert why it can't. And show your work.

  • Tony||

    Link

    "From the U.S. to Japan, it's illegal to drive a car without sufficient insurance, yet governments have chosen to run the world's 443 nuclear power plants with hardly any insurance coverage whatsoever.

    "Governments that use nuclear energy are torn between the benefit of low-cost electricity and the risk of a nuclear catastrophe, which could total trillions of dollars and even bankrupt a country."

  • Sevo||

    "From the U.S. to Japan, it's illegal to drive a car without sufficient insurance, yet governments have chosen to run the world's 443 nuclear power plants with hardly any insurance coverage whatsoever."
    False equivalence for the gold in STUPID!

    "Governments that use nuclear energy are torn between the benefit of low-cost electricity and the risk of a nuclear catastrophe, which could total trillions of dollars and even bankrupt a country."
    Notice that word "could".

  • Tony||

    Meaning on the private market no insurance company could afford to insure even one plant. I do hate having to spell things out for you.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    They couldn't have before nuclear power had a track record. It now has a half century track record in the US, and during that whole time, the Price Anderson subsidies never got used. Proper actuarial setting of premiums is now possible, because we now know how safe the plants are:

    Phenomenonally safe.

  • mtrueman||

    "Phenomenonally safe."

    Problem is if something goes wrong the costs can be staggering. IE Fukushima. Engineers in Japan sought to insure against disaster by building their reactor to withstand mag 7 earthquakes. Anything bigger was inconceivably large and expensive to engineer around. It was phenomenally safe until a mag 8+ earthquake hit resulting in a catastrophe that cost hundreds of billions of dollars (and still rising) as well as the loss of generating capability due to reactor meltdowns.

  • silver.||

    "the loss of generating capability due to reactor meltdowns."

    This isn't quite right. No reactors were damaged, and most in the country were back online within days. The tsunami is what caused Fukushima by flooding some of the backup generators that ran the coolant pumps. The newer generators were not at ground level, so the water didn't reach all of them. Due to political pressures, the country shut down all of its plants and switched back to fossil fuels which cost hundreds of billions of dollars and tripled electricity prices in some areas. Many of the reactors are now back online.

  • mtrueman||

    "This isn't quite right. No reactors were damaged, and most in the country were back online within days."

    Three reactors suffered meltdowns and were destroyed. None of the reactors at Fukushima are generating electricity. They are sitting idle, leaking, and being dismantled at great cost. Tepco is still in danger of going under having to pay for ever rising cleanup costs.

  • EngineeringScienceTech||

    +minuteman "It was phenomenally safe until a mag 8+ earthquake hit resulting in a catastrophe that cost hundreds of billions of dollars (and still rising) as well as the loss of generating capability due to reactor meltdowns."

    The earthquake did not cause the meltdown. The earthquake did not rupture heat exchangers or the coolant pumps- the pumps were flooded. Additionally the meltdown is not what caused the radiological release of contaminants- that occurred when the top of the reactors exploded due to a hydrogen-oxygen reaction.

    The problem with this analysis is you're assuming there is a reactor in the USA that will be hit by a 7.5 magnitude+, but that the damage will come from a massive tsunami and there will be a hydrogen explosion. Unfortunately there has not been a recorded tsunami to hit the continental USA in over 300 years. The reason why is due to the geological conditions near the USA. Now you can make the argument that a massive earthquake happens in California, except that the only reactor sits on 60ft bluff, and the worst case scenario epicenter is still over 10 miles closer to the shore than what was experienced in Japan in 2011. In other words there is zero geological evidence that this event will occur.

  • MarkLastname||

    False. Nuclear power plants already buy private insurance (they are of course required to be insured). It is already very much possible for actuaries to assess the proper rate. If anything they're required to be overindured and pay more than they would otherwise.

    This drum you keep beating about how private insurance of nuclear plants is impossible is total nonsense. Regulatory compliance is what stifles nuclear energy usage.

  • mtrueman||

    "Nuclear power plants already buy private insurance (they are of course required to be insured)."

    Not enough to cover the expenses of a Fukushima type accident. The janitor who breaks his or her ankle while mopping the floor however shouldn't have any trouble collecting.

  • Agammamon||

    Ok - wind and solar are not the only types that get subsidies.

    Satisfied?

    Because we've said that before.

    Nuclear power is just the one type that doesn't *need* the subsidy to be viable.

  • Agammamon||

    Oh, for the record - we know roads get subsidized too.

    That still doesn't make light rail competitive.

  • Tony||

    Actually it's the only one that does need subsidy to even exist.

  • mtrueman||

    "Nuclear power is just the one type that doesn't *need* the subsidy to be viable."

    Where has nuclear power thriven without a subsidy? Certainly not China, the country which has the world's most active nuclear programme. Not the USA either. Where did you have in mind?

  • EngineeringScienceTech||

    +mtrueman No matter the energy source youre going to require subsidies at full scale deployment in the USA. Our country and really any developed country with large population and land size requires too much generation to be supplied with a few private utilities out of pocket. We require billion dollar projects for nuclear, natural gas and coal per plant for maximizing capacity, generation efficiency and emission standards. If you think renewable can get the job done, they can but they also require billion dollar transmission and storage projects to generate equivalent loads to those of natural gas and nuclear. Regardless of the energy source you chose, we need subsidies to develop energy for millions of people.

    If you want to live off grid with your own distributed system- sure you can produce energy without subsidies, but at full scale this is unachievable without allowance provided by the government to create cheaper prices.

  • LarryA||

    I'd be happy to be proved wrong that nuclear power cannot exist in the open market without government subsidy.

    The cost that excessive government regulation adds to nuclear plant construction and operation far exceeds the amount government subsidies subtract. Get rid of the first, and you won't need the second.

  • Tony||

    So fucking stupid.

    If something goes wrong at a nuclear plant, it will cost someone a fuckton and a half of dollars. The type of money nobody has--not the company, not insurance--except government, if that.

    And you want to have fewer regulations on them on top of that!

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Go look at what the 3 mile island accident actually cost. The worst nuclear accident in US history and the total payout was $71 million. There was essentially no offside damage at all, the payouts were due to the cost of the hysterical response, the plant didn't even exceed it's allowed emissions for the year.

    All the money came out of private insurance and an industry fund. No government subsidy money was needed.

    What's the exchange rate between dollars and fucktons? Must be pretty high.

  • MarkLastname||

    Brett, you can't fool Tony; he knows that no company, only the government, has $71 million! It's not like BP paid $20 billion for the Gulf oil spill or anything. Only the government has that much money!

  • MarkLastname||

    Characteristically, you just completely made that up rather than referring to, like, actual data. Nuclear energy is much less risky than fossil fuel production. It's public irrationality surrounding it that is the problem.

    It must be great being Tony, getting to be completely unmoored by reality. You can walk into a bank and try to withdraw 5 billion dollars at will, just positing out of nowhere that you're worth more than Bill Gates.

  • Tony||

    I agree that it's less risky. I'm in favor of nuclear. All I'm saying is that it requires government subsidy (in the form of limited liability) to be economical. I understand that they are privately insured--up to the point where government limited liability protection takes over.

    And all I'm asking is why libertarians shit on solar and wind, which can feasibly exist in a private market, while shill so much for the one form of power generation that absolutely requires government help to exist.

  • Michael Ahlers||

    Even more comical is how opposition to nuclear power inspired by the radiation bogeyman would result in greater exposure to ionizing radiation, as coal-burning power plants yield more than their nuclear counterparts.

  • Sevo||

    "How We Screwed Up Nuclear Power"

    Pretty sure this really needs more than one article.

  • NoVaNick||

    I was in 2nd grade when Three Mile Island happened. Shortly after that, you saw lots of VWs adorned with "No Nukes" stickers.The hippies (we still called them that back then) felt relevant again, much as their kids and grandkids do now with the March for Women/Science/Lives. You had celebrities like Jane Fonda coming out against nukes, and there was even a "No Nukes" concert with Jackson Browne. In other words, well-heeled progs killed nukes, and they are now complaining about climate change which these nukes could have helped prevent.

  • silver.||

    As much as it aggravates me that this happened, what makes me furious is that the same people are still doing it!

    Anti-nuclear is like a religion completely divorced from facts and rationality. It's all about the feelz and dogma.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Did you expect the true believers to suddenly become apostates?

  • LarryA||

    My wife and I and our two daughters were living in Lebanon, Pennsylvania when TMI went up about 30 miles upwind. State government response was chaotic, and national government non-existent. It was over a week before anyone with credibility made a public statement. (I watched one newscast where the TMI janitor was explaining what happened inside the reactor.

    It was the only U.S. national disaster where no one was killed, no one was injured, and no private property was damaged.

    I talked to one guy who was swearing he wouldn't ever live within a hundred miles of a "nuke." His house was three miles downriver from a major hydroelectric dam.

    No. We don't glow in the dark.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    "and no private property was damaged."

    Well, unless you count the interior of the reactor. That was some pretty expensive damage there.

    Mind you, 3 Mile Island type accidents would be impossible with newer reactor designs.

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    Who remembers NO NUKES for a nuclear free future? I assume they were against nuclear medicine as well, idiots.

    Bad science plus bad music.

  • Number 2||

    No Nukes was the Net Neutrality + Global Warming/Climate Change/Climate Justice + Common Sense Gun Control of the late 1970s-early 1980s.

    All around Johns Hopkins in Baltimore there were posters reading, "Stop Rape - By Men and Nukes!" Seriously.

    At NYU Law they hosted a seminar about the "civil liberties implications of nuclear power." The thrust was how Ronal Reagan was going to arrest anti-nuke activists and comdemn them to concentration camps (although they also claimed that Carter had been up to the same thing).

    Greenpeace Magazine ran a story telling people that if you wanted to prevent seals from being beaten by poachers, you had to oppose nuclear power, because each reflected the "same mentality."

  • Finrod||

    Berke Breathed taught us that liberal hunters use the "No nukes!" call:

    http://www.tatertotsforthemass.....nting.html

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    According to Australian National University researcher Peter Lang, the '60s and '70s saw a transition "from rapidly falling costs and accelerating deployment to rapidly rising costs and stalled deployment."

    The release of The China Syndrome probably didn't help.

  • Robert||

    It bothered me a lot that the antinuclear movement got the costs to increase as a result, then used those increased costs as an argument that it wasn't cost-effective.

  • Nuwanda||

    That was their goal, of course.

  • SF Pete||

    here here, wake up time.

  • EngineeringScienceTech||

    This article begins with a decent premise, but overall the conclusion is inaccurate. Below my comment you will find a link to Argonne Nationals Labratory's "Argonne Outloud: Nuclear Energy 1942 to the 3rd Millenium" seminar in which the entire history of nuclear energy as an energy source is discussed at length by Dave Grabaskas who is a nuclear engineer and a risk analyst at Argonne National Laboratory.

    As Mr. Grabaskas discusses in this seminar Nuclear started to face serious problems before the major regulations following Three Mile Island attacked the industry as a whole. The first major problem is that utilities will buy multiple nuclear projects at once and contract these projects out on very large timescales of a minimum of 20 year liscences. The idea is that nuclear power costs a lot of money upfront, but over the time of the liscence the reactor will make up the difference and produce at a profit. This trend was true from about 1956-1970, until in the 1970s the USA experienced a larger recession. As a result it became very difficult for utilities to project long term profits despite the long term liscences.

    Now combine this economic issue with the increased costs of activism, regulation and extrapolaration and you begin to see why the nuclear industry has stagnated over the last few decades.

  • EngineeringScienceTech||

    Please take the time to watch this very informative video on the history of nuclear energy as told by a nuclear engineer and risk analyst for Argonne National Laboratory. In this video the economic challenges are discussed at length and David Grabaskas actually explains why the industry faced these challenges and what are some solutions to these challenges. David begins talking at 9:00, and at the end of the video there is a Q/A portion where he takes the time to discuss some more current events in nuclear energy history such as the development of small modular reactor technology and Gen IV technologies.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5HoS6KiPAM&t=549s

  • SF Pete||

    yup. smaller safer....lol only regulations stand in the way

  • mtrueman||

    ".lol only regulations stand in the way"

    That and billions of tax dollars.

  • EngineeringScienceTech||

    +SF Pete While most intial projects for MSR technology are small scale, I believe that most companies developing that technology project significant increases in scale for the future. To my knowledge NuScale is the only private company invested strictly in SMR based solutions. The major players in MSR such as FLiBe, Southern Energy, TerraPower, TransAtomic, and Thorcon Power have discussed small modular, but the general intent is to build out into large models greater than 10 MW (generally 200 to 800 MW range by 2050).

    Additionally the only way regulations stand in the way is that the NRC has create an entirely new regulatory standardized system for MSR technology, as the existing system would require oversight on systems that simply don't exist in MSRs. Currently Argonne National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Idaho National Laboratory are working with the NRC to create new standards that are applicable with MSRs, but even after these standards are created they have to be approved by the US Senate who has only one member with a significant understanding in nuclear science. In other words the NRC is given a ridiculous task in creating generalized standards for extremely complex reactors and then has to "dumb down" the language so the US Senate will have some idea of what theyre voting on.

  • mtrueman||

    "The major players in MSR such as FLiBe, Southern Energy, TerraPower, TransAtomic, and Thorcon Power have discussed small modular, but the general intent is to build out into large models greater than 10 MW (generally 200 to 800 MW range by 2050)."

    Surely the major player in MSR is the Chinese government which has put billions of dollars into MSR projects and a couple of reactors have been actually under construction for the past few years and scheduled to go online early in the next decade. The last MRS reactor built in the USA was back in the 1950s, I believe.

  • EngineeringScienceTech||

    +minuteman I was talking about commercial development in the USA, but yes China has significant investment in TMSR technology. However it is also interesting to point out that the SINAP project responsible for developing TMSR-LF and TMSR-SF are collaborating with ORNL in the USA.

    MSR research in terms of fluoride and sodium coolant were researched as part of the Air Force's ARE program in the 1950s. A reactor was constructed but never used. The most famous MSBRE program at Oak Ridge national Laboratory ran from 1965-1969. In 1970 Oak Ridge also developed a burner-reactor concept called the DMSR program that was shutdown in 1972. Currently Terrestrial Energy's IMSR design in Canada is based on the DMSR project. Last November Terrestrial Energy became the first commercial company to receive design permits for a molten salt reactor in North America.

  • EngineeringScienceTech||

    Without regulations a country may make fundamental mistakes such as building a reactor with high positive void coefficients, an undersized graphite moderator and fail to install a significant safety plan on what to do when a reactor experiences problems- such as the scenario of Chernobyl. In the USA it is impossible to have an event like that in Ukraine, because we have regulations in place that prohibit reactors from being designed in such an unsafe manner.

    Now I'm addition to my previous comment another characteristic that leads to increase capital cost is the extrapolaration of safety systems. Yes regulations play a role in this but more importantly as the size of the reactor grows the amount of moderation and engineered systems has to increase in order to safely manage the reactor. Today we see the industry beginning to address this problem by reevaluating our nuclear designs and focus on technologies that introduce passive safety as opposed to being reliant on engineered safety. One such example is MSR or Molten Salt Reactor technology that uses fuel dissolved in salt coolant. The benefit of this is that the concerns of pressure, expansion due to heat and chemical makeup of the reactor core are handled by the characteristics of the coolant and fuel as opposed to being managed by supplemental systems. This helps to significantly reduce capital cost.

  • Sevo||

    "In the USA it is impossible to have an event like that in Ukraine, because we have regulations in place that prohibit reactors from being designed in such an unsafe manner."

    You assume reactors would be built unsafely with no evidence of that at all.

  • mtrueman||

    "You assume reactors would be built unsafely with no evidence of that at all."

    It's called 'engineering,' ie the work of an engineer.

  • silver.||

    "It's called 'engineering,' ie the work of an engineer."

    You must not know many engineers, because they are obsessed with safety. They'll make an initial design with a safety factor of 10 and be relegated to a 1.5 by the bean counters.

    I don't think serious nuclear accidents would be a concern even under the most miserly of bean counters. The PE would walk out. Then again, with the unethical pieces of shit engineering schools are churning out these days, perhaps your concern is warranted. Something like Chernobyl could only happen if you had powerful bureaucrats who could override all skilled personnel by requesting unnecessary output at a plant utilizing a known-flawed reactor. Oh. I see why liberals might be afraid of that.

    I feel confident in stating that if the NRC hadn't required that the distance between rebar be measured with micrometers, the cost of nuclear would be enormously cheaper. With reasonable (but still safer than fossil fuel) regulations and half of the subsidies that have gone toward renewables, I feel confident that nuclear would be an exceedingly viable option to reduce our carbon footprint.

  • EngineeringScienceTech||

    I don't assume they would be purposefully built unsafe, rather there is historical evidence of multiple designs being constructed and then learning in the future that these designs were not the best possible model for safety. Today its well documented and understood that Light Water Reactors are not necessarily the pinnacle of reactor safety technology. The risk is low, but nonetheless using water coolant creates systemic safety concerns in regards to pressure and heat as reactors increase in power. Many of the concerns are completely eliminated in other reactor types, but this was not developed in larger scale until the mass deployment of LWR models for ten years.

    Additionally, we have historical evidence by way of documented reports by the engineers on their respective projects that there have been concerns for the designs of Liquid Metal Breeder Reactors, Fast-neutron Reactors, Molten Salt Breeder Reactors, Light Water Reactors etc. Again the risk is low but the findings from these experiment do indicate that many of these regulations are fundamentally important and should be considered when building a new reactor type.

  • silver.||

    The safety controls for LWR are pretty reliable. The control rods are actively suspended, so any power loss or earthquakes or sneezes drop the rods and shut down the reactor; the only issue is dealing with the waste heat, which as you said earlier requires auxiliary systems. Failure of the ill-placed diesel generators that ran the coolant pumps was the cause of the coolant leak during Fukushima.

    IIRC, the two issues with LMBRs is the coolants.. aren't the choices lead or sodium? After a shutdown with lead coolant, you'd essentially have to drill out the coolant pipes as the lead solidifies as it cools. With Na, a simple leak could be dangerous.

    Seems like FNRs are a good bet for future commercial development. I have a feeling that any type of breeder reactor is going to face enormous opposition due to proliferation concerns. FNRs as burners can use both the actinides in our current waste and weapons-grade fissile material from disarmament.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    I expect that, instead of drilling out the pipes, you'd resort to heating tape.

  • SF Pete||

    Obama was not successful in shutting down the Utah experimental reactor, were new models are tested, it is also a rebreeder reactor, like France is using, real scientific physics is being done there, the new Models they are testing have super promise ( thorium, etc. ) and smaller auto shut down reactors when something goes wrong, we just need to get rid of the 70's regulations...shit can them, and restart, ignore the malthusians as the cranks they are.

  • Miner49er||

    Climate change is a false premise for regulating or taxing carbon dioxide emissions. Leaders who advocate taxes/regulations on fossil fuels will be seen as knaves.

    Nature converts CO2 to limestone. Climate change may or may not be occurring, but is NOT caused by human fossil fuels use. Temperature changes cause changes in ambient CO2. There is no empirical evidence that fossil fuels use affects climate. Earth naturally recycles carbon dioxide.

    Fossil fuels emit only 3% of total CO2 emissions. 95% comes from rotting vegetation and other sources. Ambient CO2 in the atmosphere is promptly converted in the oceans to carbonates. The lithosphere is a massive hungry carbon sink that converts ambient CO2 to carbonate.

    The Paris Treaty is now estimated to cost $100 trillion -- $13,333 per human being. A modern coal power plant emits few air effluents except water vapor and carbon dioxide. Coal remains the lowest cost and most reliable source of electric energy, along with natural gas.

    Coal & gas dominate electric energy generation because they are cheap. And coal remains the cheapest energy source. Nuclear and big hydro power are in death spirals from which they will never recover.

    Without the CO2-driven global-warming boogeyman, wind and solar power will be relegated to the niches they deserve. Using renewable energy is like paying first-class airfare to fly standby.

  • Country John||

    Just so. Take a look at Richard Martin's book Superfuel (2012), which explains how Hyman Rickover's insistent demand for nuclear submarines RIGHT NOW defeated Alvin Weinberg's (Oak Ridge) vision of cheap, safe, civilian nuclear power. I reviewed it in Reason Online September 11, 2012. FWIW, I was awarded my MS in Nuclear Engineering from Admiral Rickover at Columbia in 1960. (John McClaughry)

  • SF Pete||

    oops, Idaho,...sorry

  • EngineeringScienceTech||

    +SF Pete What regulations specifically are you referring to from the 1970s?

    Also INL's ATR and CAES programs were restarted under the Obama administration, so I'm not really sure what programs Obama was removing that you are referring to. Additionally the projects at ATR are primarily small modular reactor technologies and very few focus on thorium cycles, due to the fact that converting to these cycles would likely take longer to transition the industry. Most SMR designs with significant funding are still light water reactors, and while Shippingport did run a hybrid Light Water Breeder with a mix of thorium fuel in the 1970s, I don't see the industry maximizing the benefits of thorium without development in molten salts, which is a whole monster to tackle.

    Lastly any new type of reactor you develop the NRC has to ensure that current regulatory standards apply to the reactor, and if they don't then the agency has to develop new standards to regulate the reactor if the project can prove it has a high possibility of being commercialized. Therefor if the objective is to develop new reactors then your argument shouldn't be get rid of the current regulations as they wouldn't necessarily apply to these new designs in the first place. Instead your argument should be that the NRC should develop reasonably justified regulations that work with these designs and do not excessively hinder Gen IV nuclear reactors.

  • Silence Dogoode||

    Why is there the assumption that the theory of personhood climate change through "extra" carbon is a fact.

    The theory is based on computer models that are skewed by progressive "scientists.

  • EngineeringScienceTech||

    Um no the theory is actually based on consistent data collected from thousands of data points over the last 150+ years used in tandem with sources that can estimate climatic change millions of years ago. We also base the warming rates that are generated on computers using mathematics and physics from collected atmospheric data. This is not a simple extrapolated model. It would be drastically easier to make claims if that was case, instead of processing a plethora of information into hundreds of thousands of peer reviewed studies and they analyzing these studies for inconsistencies and problems based on current findings.

  • MarkLastname||

    Personhood climate change?

    But no, anthropogenic global warming was not inferred from computer models. Models are used to predict it going forward; many criticize their performance, but it's worth noting that models predicting no causal relationship between carbon emission and temperature do quite poorly themselves.

  • JFree||

    I thought a big reason that costs are going up is because no one has actually figured out what to do with the high-level waste long-term? For the first 50-60 years (or roughly where we are now), it needs to be placed in expensive containment while it 'cools down'. But long-term (the next 10,000 years or so), the only option is deep geological burial.

    Afaik, there is not one place on Earth that has both figured that out - and come up with a way to pre-fund a way to deal with the unpredictable problems that might arise in future when we screw things up. And we most certainly will screw that up because neither the market nor govt is able to effectively incorporate the future into its decision making.

  • JFree||

    The direct analogy with fossil fuels is -
    what if internal combustion engines were not simply allowed to freely dump their exhaust waste on everyone else but were required to carry it around until they could figure out a negative emission strategy.

    If that were to happen, fossil fuels would be increasingly expensive over time (since no one has bothered to figure that negative emission strategy out either) - but we also wouldn't have a long-term problem with atmospheric greenhouse gases and climate change either.

  • silver.||

    Companies with nuclear facilities are required to maintain a pre-paid fund for 100yrs of waste storage. Fast-neutron reactors can burn the actinides that comprise most of the long-lasting waste. It'd be ideal to use it, but having to store it underground wouldn't be terrible. Even with the massive concrete pills, the waste doesn't take up much space.

  • Devastator||

    and breeder reactors would basically take it down to next to nothing, but the USA completely ignores that fact and acts like nuclear waste is actually an unsolvable problem.

  • EngineeringScienceTech||

    +JFree In the USA high level nuclear waste is managed by the 1982 Nuclear Waste Policy Act which requires interim temporary storage with NRC standard compliance. In addition the US Federal Government would take ownership of high level waste and construct Yucca Mountain as a deep geological repository. This plan was paid for by fees on every nuclear reactor annually for the past 29 years. In that time there is currently $32 billion in the nuclear waste management fund.

  • EngineeringScienceTech||

    +JFree In the USA high level nuclear waste is managed by the 1982 Nuclear Waste Policy Act which requires interim temporary storage with NRC standard compliance. In addition the US Federal Government would take ownership of high level waste and construct Yucca Mountain as a deep geological repository. This plan was paid for by fees on every nuclear reactor annually for the past 29 years. In that time there is currently $32 billion in the nuclear waste management fund.

  • Devastator||

    We could basically have been fossile fuel free with nuclear power and electric motors, but noooooooo everyone has to be a bunch of pussies and think nuclear is automatically bad, and regulate it out of existence.

  • Liberty Lover||

    And I thought the choice to build nuclear reactors that could make very dangerous weapons grade plutonium might have had something to do with it.

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