The November 2021 issue of Nuclear News is dedicated to the people who provide “end of life” care for our nuclear reactors and facilities. Yes, D&D work may not get the same headlines as the development of advanced reactor designs. But if you look closely, you will find yet another segment of the nuclear professional community quietly driving advancements in technology and practice that lower costs, speed up time frames, and improve overall results.
Many of our former nuclear plants are now essentially greenfield sites, with the on-site storage of spent fuel remaining as the only outward reminder of the land’s history. Clearly, our professionals have done their work well. Now, if only our elected leaders would do theirs.
Which brings me to a larger observation that has seeped into my thinking over the past few months. As a community, we spend a lot of time trying to convince people of the societal value of nuclear technology. In those discussions, we almost always start from a defensive position.