The “gold standard” of regulation

September 12, 2022, 3:04PMNuclear NewsSteven Arndt

Steven Arndt

Much has been written about regulation over the years, including whether or not the nuclear industry is overregulated or whether the regulator is in the industry’s “pocket.” Having a capable and independent regulator is important to the industry for a number of reasons, such as ensuring the safety and security of nuclear facilities and the trust an effective regulator can engender in vendors, investors, international organizations, and the public. However, regulation simply to engender trust or ensure all voices are heard is neither effective nor sufficiently adaptive to support a vibrant and innovative industry. Moreover, overregulation slows innovation, stifles creativity, drives costs upward, and creates scheduling challenges.

So how did the Nuclear Regulatory Commission become the “gold standard” of regulation? The pat response is because of its long history, experience, and available resources. I would contend, however, that what the NRC did better than most—if not all—national nuclear regulators was innovate and develop new ideas and act as the cocreator of the nuclear industry.

An interview with NRC Chairman Christopher T. Hanson

September 9, 2022, 3:09PMNuclear NewsRick Michal

Who better to talk with about the licensing of nuclear facilities and materials than Christopher T. Hanson, the chairman of the five-member Nuclear Regulatory Commission? Hanson is the principal executive officer of and official spokesman for the NRC. As a collegial body, the Commission formulates policies, develops regulations governing nuclear reactor and nuclear material safety, issues orders to licensees, and adjudicates legal matters.

U.K. fusion energy projects get regulatory clarity to speed deployment

June 23, 2022, 7:01AMNuclear News
The Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP), shown here, is a government-backed prototype fusion energy plant planned for operation in the U.K. in the early 2040s. (Image: UKAEA)

Future fusion energy facilities will continue to be regulated by the Environment Agency (EA) and Health & Safety Executive (HSE), the U.K. government announced June 20, and existing law on nuclear regulations will be amended to exclude fusion energy facilities from nuclear fission regulatory and licensing requirements. The move was announced by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) with the expectation it would provide “clarity to developers of prototype/demonstration fusion facilities currently being planned to support rapid commercialization.”

Time is running out on our opportunity to seize a better future for nuclear

March 3, 2022, 12:04PMNuclear NewsSama Bilbao y León

Sama Bilbao y León is director general of the World Nuclear Association.

The global nuclear sector is at a crucial point. The future of nuclear power looks brighter than it has in many years, but it is up to us to capitalize on the current momentum and make the most of this opportunity.

We have recently seen new proposals and policy announcements from companies and governments around the world indicating a growing recognition of the essential role nuclear energy must play in the future.

Humanity has less than 30 years to reach net zero. Nuclear energy offers a golden opportunity to build a cleaner, more equitable world in which everyone has access to clean, abundant, affordable energy and a high quality of life.

RadioNuclear 22: HBO’s Chernobyl: A Setback or Opportunity?

June 27, 2019, 2:14PMANS Nuclear CafeDoug Hardtmayer

Episode 22 of RadioNuclear is now available. In this episode, we discuss the recent miniseries "Chernobyl", which recently concluded on HBO. We debunk some of the more egregious articles written in the wake of the show (see links to these articles below). We also discuss good ways to engage with individuals who are captivated with the show, and not necessarily familiar with nuclear technology.

Nuclear Energy on the Edge

June 3, 2016, 4:29PMANS Nuclear CafeWill Davis

Clinton Power Station, courtesy Exelon Nuclear

Yesterday, June 2, 2016, may have marked a watershed moment in the present day history of nuclear power plants in the United States, when two nuclear plants were selected by their owner for shutdown far in advance of their license expiration dates for economic reasons. The fast-moving pace of plants being shut down under similar economic circumstances (unbalanced energy markets that favor other forms of energy to the detriment of nuclear) signals a broken system that must be changed, now.

Unintended Anti-Nuclear Consequences Lurking in the EPA Clean Power Plan

August 20, 2014, 3:57PMANS Nuclear CafeRemy Devoe

The Environmental Protection Agency's proposed Clean Power Plan has gained favor with some nuclear energy advocates. An extensive analysis of the proposal, however, reveals that current nuclear generating capacity would largely suffer under the new carbon rules. In fact, the results of an evaluation performed by my fellow graduate student Justin Knowles and myself show that 15 states are actually incentivized to shut down all of their nuclear units and replace them with natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) generation. In effect, this plan allows for increasing carbon emissions; a far cry from the stated goals of the Clean Power Plan.

Implications of improved radiation protection standards for Fukushima evacuees

July 3, 2012, 12:10PMANS Nuclear CafeRod Adams

The American Nuclear Society's annual meeting for 2012 included a President's Special Session titled Low-Level Radiation & Its Implications for Fukushima Recovery (Warning-the link leads to a 54 MB, 208 page PDF full of disruptive information that might change your opinion on the benefits of spending billions of dollars every year to keep radiation doses as low as unreasonably achievable).

Radiation and Reason: A Visit to Tokyo and Fukushima

October 28, 2011, 6:00AMANS Nuclear CafeAkira Tokuhiro and Skye Anderson

I, Akira Tokuhiro, recently traveled to Japan to meet Wade Allison (professor emeritus of physics, Oxford University, UK) and David Wagner (Tokyo-based risk communication expert and consultant). A number of concerned scientists had expressed interest regarding the Fukushima accident. Specifically, there was concern regarding the significance and impact in the nuclear world and also the plight of the victims, especially the evacuees and the workers at the plant.