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Bob Meinetz's picture
Nuclear Power Policy Activist, Independent

I am a passionate advocate for the environment and nuclear energy. With the threat of climate change, I’ve embarked on a mission to help overcome the fears of nuclear energy. I’ve been active in...

  • Member since 2018
  • 6,980 items added with 268,027 views
  • Jan 18, 2021

"There are a hundred reasons why nuclear energy can play a massive role in the future of American power and prosperity.

It creates high-paying jobs better than any other energy source. Its fuel sources are abundant. It fuels NASA’s most innovative projects. It offers a solution to conservation concerns without devastating the economy. And despite its sensationalist image, it is far safer than fossil fuels, and about the same in safety as solar and wind.

“Nuclear provides 55% of our country’s clean energy, and about 20% of our power, and it’s one of the most reliable generators that we have on the grid today,” says Dr. Rita Baranwal, who this month completed her tenure as assistant secretary for the Office of Nuclear Energy in the Trump administration. “Our reactors in the U.S. avoid putting out 470 million metric tons of carbon emissions each year. That number is equivalent to removing 100 million cars off the road.”

But the field has been in a hard spot for decades. With high degrees of government regulation and small amounts of government investment, reactors have been shut down across the country, destroying jobs and energy.

The last four years, however, have seen early signs of what might just be a fission renaissance. After being slashed by President Obama in favor of more image-friendly and less efficient sources, the Trump administration has ramped up American investment in nuclear energy."

Despite much noise to the contrary, the Trump administration never "ramped up American investment in nuclear energy." I believe his unkept promises were, like bailing on the Paris Accords, only intended to antagonize liberals (effective, if at that only).

Biden is a question mark. Since the election he's been silent on the topic, so we have yet to see whether he'll keep his promise about saving existing U.S. nuclear plants.

If nuclear tech of the last four years blows anyone's mind, they haven't been paying attention. NuScale, for example, has been working on its Small Modular Reactor (SMR) since 2003. It's a pint-sized pressurized water reactor that operates at lower pressure and temperature than that of the Gen 2 reactors of the 1980s - like a nuclear Crock-Pot, it generates electricity at a slow boil. That it's "passively-safe" is nothing new - U.S. reactors have always heen passively safe. It's why Three Mile Island, despite a nearly identical meltdown, didn't spread radiation far and wide like Fukushima did.

The most important innovation is a matter of scale (hence the name). NuScale's modular architecture, with a minimal initial investment, creates a platform to which capacity can be added as needed. The company aims to brings affordable nuclear energy to developing countries, island states, and remote locations hundreds of miles from transmission corridors. - BM


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