Nuclear power in the United States has had to fight against well funded and well organized anti-nuclear power organizations and political leaders who relied on them for votes. Incredibly, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is holding back development of advanced nuclear power technologies by making licensing very difficult to nearly impossible. In the 1960s a nuclear plant could be licensed in less than five years. Now the NRC says licensing new technologies could take more than a quarter of a century. North American companies are taking their new technologies to Asia to develop and license. Russia, China and other countries are doing just the opposite. They are moving ahead as fast as possible to develop new nuclear technologies. How can American citizens let this happen?
The World Nuclear Association Weekly Newsletter for February 23, 2018 reports that the USA is going to start research on fast reactors again. The United States had a tremendous lead in the 1970s. Presidents Carter and Clinton, President Obama's Science Advisor John Holdren, Natural Resources Defense Council's Thomas Cochran, and Princeton's Frank Von Hippel worked hard to close fast reactors in the USA. The United States may restart research on fast reactors after losing three decades of progress to the Russians and Chinese. Good for Russia and China. Very unfortunate for the USA. The world needs all the energy that it can get from fossil fuels and nuclear. With no false obstacles in the way, the USA could be self-sufficient and an exporter of energy and energy technologies to make a better world for people and nature.
Thomas Cochran has been working with the Natural Resources Defense Council since the 1970s to impede the use of nuclear power, particularly the kind that uses most of the potential energy and produces the lease amount of radioactive waste: In his 1977 testimony to Congress, he makes several assertions against advanced nuclear power: 1) The risks of making massive investments in a plutonium-based energy technology, 2) The misplaced energy priorities characterized by an excessive emphasis on commercialization of the LMFBR technology, neglect of energy conservation potential and under funding of alternative non-nuclear supply technologies.
Charles Barton, lead advocate for advanced nuclear power technologies, in particular from thorium: Thomas B. Cochran is a lobbyist employed by the Natural Resources Defense Council, to attack nuclear power on a full time basis. As befits a Lobbyist, Cochran is well compensated. In 2006 Cochran was one of the 5 highest paid employees of the NRDC, with a total compensation package approaching $200,000. In 2006 the largest single foundation donor to the the NRDF was the Energy Foundation, an environmental funding NGO, that also funds many other anti-nuclear "environmental organizations.
Neil Alexander, Ph.D. radiation damage in steels, business strategist, consultant and advocate for nuclear energy: In the 1950s, civilian nuclear power was born. We had already started using the by-products from the industry for radiation therapies to treat cancer. Now, reactors operating at not much more than atmospheric pressure using molten salts as a coolant. Reactors that can consume nuclear waste or transmute other elements into fuel. So when someone says we shouldn't develop new nuclear technologies because there were some problems in the past, tell them that that is like deciding not to develop the Dreamliner because the Wright flyer was too draughty.
Neil Alexander, Ph.D. radiation damage in steels, business strategist, consultant and advocate for nuclear energy: In this world, when we finally admit the renewables experiment was a failure, we will look around and find we have few other options available to us. New nuclear if we need it will take decades to research, develop, test, license and deploy.
Thomas Cochran has been working with the Natural Resources Defense Council since the 1970s to impede the use of nuclear power, particularly the kind that uses most of the potential energy and produces the lease amount of radioactive waste: The closed fast-reactor fuel cycle for transmutation of waste is: uneconomic, unreliable, unsafeguardable, unsafe, unworkable. If this is not bad enough, several costly reprocessing plants would need to be built for each geologic repository avoided and there is no evidence that the releases from the closed fuel cycle will have fewer health impacts than from geologic repositories.
Michel Gay, l'Association des écologistes pour le nucléaire (AEPN): L'énergie nucléaire continuera a jouer un role significatif dans le futur bouquet énergétique mondial, mais une meilleure valorisation de l'uranium sera nécessaire dans de nouveaux réacteurs pour poursuivre au-dela de ce ciécle.
Ken Kok is a nuclear engineer and leading member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers advocating for advanced nuclear power technology with spent fuel recycling. Used nuclear fuel and depleted uranium are already mined and milled resources that can power all of America's electrical energy needs at 1994 levels for over 700 years. This is more valuable than fossil fuels and would not require mining for these needs. Combined with fossil fuels, and uranium and thorium still in the ground, the United States and the rest of the world potentially have enough energy to improve the lives of people everywhere for as far as we think civilization will last.
Ken Kok is a nuclear engineer and leading member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers advocating for advanced nuclear power technology with spent fuel recycling. Mechanical engineers contributed significantly to the development of many nuclear power technologies.