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Showing posts from January, 2016

The Third Way Summit and Advanced Nuclear Reactors

Say “nuclear reactor” and what leaps to mind is a giant machine, powerful enough to run an entire city, with thousands of moving parts.

But UPower Technologies has a different concept: a nuclear power plant that is mostly built in a factory, and arrives on site in two standard shipping containers. After set-up, it runs a cluster of buildings or a village. The reactor is more like a nuclear battery, with no moving parts.

UPower is one of several new reactor concepts that will be the topic of discussion in the next few days. Third Way, a centrist think tank, holds an Advanced Nuclear Summit and Showcase on Wednesday. Third Way recently issued a report on the future of nuclear power, in partnership with three Department of Energy laboratories: Idaho, Argonne and Oak Ridge. In November, the White House held a summit on nuclear energy.

Behind the events is the conviction that with technological progress, nuclear power, like microchips or composite materials or a lot of other evolving te…

What Joe Romm Gets Wrong About James Hansen & Nuclear Energy

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior director of policy analysis and strategic planning at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

Joseph J. Romm, a former assistant secretary of energy for efficiency and renewables, and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, has recently gone after James Hansen, the climatologist who issued the clarion call warning about global warming way back in 1988. Romm says that Hansen puts too much emphasis on nuclear power as a tool to reduce the carbon-loading of our atmosphere.

For people worried about climate (including me) it's distressing to see the attack, because the two men agree on the fundamental point, that we need a vigorous global campaign to prevent an awful destabilization of the climate. It's a shame to see supporters of that idea falling out with each other when their key point is not yet a universally-held view.

But Romm has never liked nuclear power, and perhaps we should feel complimented that he ack…

The 2016 State of the Union and Nuclear Energy Policy

The following is a guest post by Alex Flint, NEI’s Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs. For a Q&A with him on the nuclear energy industry’s legislative priorities for 2016, click here.

Tonight, President Barack Obama will deliver his eighth State of the Union address. For the first time, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) will sit behind him to his right, thinking “I could do that.” Of course, behind him to his left, Vice President Joseph Biden will be thinking the same thing but with the sorrowful knowledge that his time has passed. Finally, in front of him, at least a dozen U.S. Senators, some of whom are currently running for President, will also be thinking, “I could do that.”

The pomp and circumstance is always a bit fun. I always look around to determine which member of the cabinet doesn’t attend — it’s a nasty little Cold War flashback, but at least someone is thinking about these things.

Also, some of the Supreme Court justices seem less enthusiastic than they u…

The Nuclear Year 2015

Welcome, luminant friends, to 2016, and let it be a sweet 16 of potential and possibility, accomplishment and achievement. 2016 has context, namely 2015, to suggest its contours, so let’s take a look back at some of the year’s highlights both within and without the nuclear sphere to see if we can at least divine the outline of the year to come. The past is not prologue, it is all the earlier chapters in an ongoing story.
The value of nuclear energy to United States energy policy became clearer than ever in 2015, but the struggle to have that value properly recognized became one of the key issues of the year and will continue into and well beyond 2016. As you’ll see, determining that value is not nuclear science; the shorthand equation is that every nuclear energy facility represents an emission-free economic powerhouse.

But its value has been neglected to the point that facilities are allowed to shutter as economically unviable. An any time, but especially in 2015, following the sign…