“The Greens” have kept us from developing new nuclear power since the Three Mile Island disaster, said venture capitalist Bob Metcalfe in The Wall Street Journal, but they can’t stop America’s “new nuclear revolution.” Nor should they want to. A new generation of small, “far safer” nuclear fission reactors could provide us with plenty of “cheap and clean energy,” if the government would only lower the “astronomical” costs and regulatory risks of building new reactors.
Energy companies are “open” to safe, cheap new nuclear technologies, said Sara Patton in The Seattle Times, but “the nuclear industry simply isn’t there yet.” Increasing efficiency and focusing on renewable energy are safer and cheaper ways of meeting our growing energy needs than placing “another high-risk bet on nuclear power”—and they avoid the problem of nuclear waste.
Ah, but some new reactors, such as GE’s PRISM plants, are actually designed to run on old nuclear waste, said Felix Salmon in Reuters, and they’d be affordable and “super-safe,” shutting down instead of melting down if there’s a problem. They can also be retrofitted into coal plants. What's missing is “political will,” and billions of dollars for testing and approval.
The political will may be there soon, said Steve Williams in the Victoryville, Calif., Daily Press. Energy Secretary Stephen Chu “has made nuclear power an agency priority,” and the Obama administration just approved $18.5 billion in funding to start reviving the U.S. nuclear industry. Taxpayers, consumers, and even environmentalists should welcome this “vast about-face” in energy policy.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The mystery behind China's aggressive push into space
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- The 5 best and worst states for a well-lived life
- Why Texas' abortion rates aren't falling as quickly as everyone expected
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Yes, Republicans can impeach President Obama
- What religious traditionalists can teach us about sex
- The 6 best low-cost smartphones
- How to save Meet the Press
Subscribe to the Week