U.S. must become “world leader in nuclear power” again

February 15, 2024, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe



Two U.S. representatives—Chuck Fleischmann (R., Tenn.) and Byron Donalds (R., Fla.)—have published an op-ed in the Washington Examiner that calls for the United States to seize “the current nuclear economic opportunity worldwide” and “once again be the world leader in nuclear power.” The congressmen emphasize that “it is in the best interest of the United States and the rest of the world for our country, instead of China and Russia, to be the preferred partner for embarking nuclear nations.”

Atoms for Peace: Fleischmann and Donalds argue that President Dwight Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” speech in 1953 established the foundational principles for the domestic and global success of the U.S. civil nuclear energy industry—and they urge the nation to reclaim those principles now. They point to the numerous benefits of nuclear energy, ranging from economic development to desalination to sustainable fuel creation, and note that the “global market is ripe for nuclear technology.”

Addressing the economics of clean energy

May 10, 2022, 12:01PMANS NewsSteven P. Nesbit

Steven P. Nesbit

I often say that nuclear energy will play a key role in our clean energy future, and I believe that is true. However, it won’t happen automatically. There is no “divine right” behind nuclear energy. We like to admire the fascinating aspects of nuclear technology, but at the end of the day, it comes down to the money, and that’s where we stubbed our toe badly over the past two decades.

The “Nuclear Renaissance” foundered when advanced light water reactors turned out to be much more expensive than their marketing claimed, while alternatives—primarily natural gas—plummeted in price. We tend to point to impediments to nuclear technology, such as overly restrictive licensing requirements and adverse public opinion, but these matter only to the extent of their impact on the bottom line. Again, it comes down to the money.

Setting expectations in a nuclear "moment"

February 24, 2022, 12:16PMNuclear NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy

If you are in the nuclear world, it is hard to enter 2022 without a sense of optimism. Nuclear is enjoying a moment right now. Not a day goes by where there isn’t some new story on nuclear and climate or the development of new and advanced technologies, both fission and fusion.

On the business side, a flurry of deals and partnerships have been struck, and more start-­up capital has flowed into nuclear energy projects in the past six months than in the previous three years combined. Soon, you will be able to buy shares of NuScale on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “SMR.” On the policy side, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is now law, providing roughly $8 billion in “guaranteed money” for both advanced reactor demonstrations and support for the operating fleet, potentially more if nuclear is competitive in the cross-­cutting funding initiatives created and funded in the legislation.