Posted on March 16, 2017 by Jay Faison
Many who are passionate about carbon emission reductions like to place all of their chips on the renewable and efficiency table. I sometimes challenge their anti- or neutral nuclear position, given that it reliably delivers more than 60% of our clean energy. Most of the time, they tell me nuclear is too expensive or it takes too long to build.
And they’re not entirely wrong. One of the biggest targets for me and my ClearPath team is slow-walking by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that is making it more expensive or outright preventing the building of more advanced reactors here.
It’s not easy to tell a complicated story in 30 seconds, which is what policy debates seem to be timed these days. However, nuclear’s history tells a lengthy story, and a fascinating one at that. And it’s not a history solely about nuclear. It’s about American industry. We used to lead the world in shipbuilding; now we are irrelevant. The supply chain for big ships or nuclear plants takes a long time to perfect, but just a couple of years to whither.
The timeline below shows how we ran up the score before halftime and are now down by two touchdowns to the Russians and Chinese in the fourth quarter.
What Hail Mary plays will we call?
New energy technologies have always been intertwined with the government whether we like it or not (see my recent recommendations to Energy Secretary Perry on how his department can continue to be vital in this area). Will we unleash our entrepreneurs and our advanced nuclear technologies? We will let nuclear go the way of shipbuilding?
The outlook doesn’t look good. But I’m not ready to bet against America…yet.