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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...

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  • Aug 28, 2020
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Despite the recent withdrawal of 2 of 27 communities from a project to provide low-cost, clean electricity to rural communities there, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) has no plans to abandon support of the project, and anticipates that other entities will sign on as the project moves forward. "UAMPS has engaged in this project development in phases," spokesman LaVarr Webb said, "precisely to give members opportunities to withdraw if they wish." Centerpiece of the project will be NuScale Power's revolutionary Small Modular Reactor (SMR) design.

Today, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced approval of the sixth and final phase of the SMR's Design Certification Application (DCA). Approval of the DCA provides a welcome shot in the arm for NuScale, whose design will challenge incumbent natural gas and "renewable" energy interests with carbon-free, reliable energy that isn't reliant on weather or time of day.

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Michael Keller's picture
Michael Keller on Sep 2, 2020

The all-in cost to license the NUSCALE plant is around $1/2 billion with a timeline of about 8 years. That is a major burden on the competitiveness of the power plant and points at a severe problem for future nuclear technologies. Namely, vast and unrestrained overregulation by the NRC.

If advanced nuclear is to succeed in this country, the NRC needs to concentrate on compliance with the law (Code of Fedreal Regulations) and dispense with the hundreds and hundreds of rules generated internally by the bureaucrats. These rules are administrative creations and can be readily Voided by the NRC. Unfortunately, the NRC represents the end result of a completely unrestrained bureaucracy largely decoupled from common sense.

A small case can be made for the need for heavy regulation of conventional nuclear reactors because of their need for active measures (electrical power, pumps, and water) to protect the public from dangerous radiation. However, the emerging class of advanced reactors rely on passive measures to protect the public. There is scant evidence that the NRC is likely to shift their  bureaucratic mentality. The NUSCALE plant, which relies on passive protection measures, was only able to partially avoid the bureaucratic barbed wire.

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