Saturday, July 03, 2010

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission is Sub-Par

Don't hold your breath waiting for a nuclear renaissance to spring up in the USA anytime soon. It almost seems as if the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission intends to make sure that nothing so hopeful will occur, if they can do anything to stop it.

Here is Obama's NRC commissioner in his own words, explaining why safe and affordable small modular reactors are likely to take a far back seat in any considerations for new reactor licensing.

Here is Rod Adams explaining a small part of NRC policy as regards to nuclear entrepreneurs:
Unfortunately, new license applicants have a good reason for being reluctant to get too specific too early with the NRC - as soon as discussions move past general questions, the NRC requires the project to be docketed. That starts the billing clock and puts the applicant on the hook for paying the government $259 for every regulator hour - with no ability to control the number of hours expended. _RodAdams

US Senator George Voinovich is a rare promoter of small, modular nukes -- along with Senator Lamar Alexander:
Well friends, I think we need to have a more aggressive approach to these SMRs than we’ve got today. As I said, the DOE budget calls for about $40 million/year for SMRs. My bill funds an SMR program at $100 million/year for 10 years so that we can accelerate the development of several types of SMR designs. I am very much a fiscal hawk, but in this case I think that what is at stake merits funding this program at a higher level.

Honestly, I’m hell-bent to accelerate this SMR development effort. As I’ve said, nuclear is vital to the interests of the United States! If you look around the world, in the countries that are actively moving forward with new nuclear power plants, the projects are backed and funded by their governments. Strategically, these new reactors represent a real opportunity for us to re-establish U.S. global leadership in nuclear power. We can’t let these other countries take over the world market. We need to seize the day, and we need the funding in this title to help us do that! _Voinovich
Of course Voinovich takes the big-government approach to promoting small modular reactors -- he is a big government kingpin, after all. But in reality the best thing the government could do in regard to safe and affordable SMRs is to quickly see that they are safe, certify them, and then Get Out of the Way!

The NRC has gotten fat from doing nothing. Sitting in huge, expensive, lavish new headquarters, NRC commissioners are enjoying the rich, secure life of tax - supported top bureaucrats, while actually not having any appreciable responsibility to the taxpayer who supports their lavish lifestyle.

The US government is destroying the US economy, destroying the futures of US citizens and taxpayers. The NRC is but one small part of this ongoing destructiveness of government, but it is a significant part all the same.

NRC commissioners should get off their lazy butts and make the way clear for safe, affordable new nuclear power reactors. And quickly. Else, get out of the way and allow civilian certifying agencies to spring up to do the job the way it should be done.

Nuclear news from Russia:
Russian nuclear engineering group Rosatom launched the world's first floating nuclear power plant Wednesday, according to The Voice of Russia. Photos show the Akademik Lomonosov, a 21,500-ton barge equipped with twin 35-megawatt light-water reactors, slipping into the water at St. Petersburg's Baltic Shipyard.
The Akademik Lomonosov represents a particularly flexible example of the small modular reactor (SMR) nuclear power plants that are under development worldwide. _IEEESpectrum
Sure, Greenpeace and the rest of the faux environmental Luddites will try to stop safe, clean, cheap nuclear. In fact, the faux environmental lobbies probably have more influence at the US NRC under Obama Pelosi than does the entire nuclear industry, or the utility industry. Speaking frankly, the faux environmentalists have more influence on the Obama Pelosi regime than the best interests of the American people and the US itself. What did you expect?

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