A Regulatory Pathway for Advanced Nuclear Energy by MIT Nukes
Jun 1, 2015
Hi Will, Thanks for the interesting and well articulated proposal. I am particularly fond of your call for the development and implementation of a Technology Neutral Framework to decrease discriminatory licensing practices against innovative technologies. Provided a level playing field wherein proposals are evaluated on their own merit rather than against the status quo may well contribute to something of a renaissance in US nuclear technologies. A few thoughts come to mind with respect to licensing fees. The construction phase of nuclear plants is notoriously expensive, and I am curious as to how licensing fees including negotiating regulation, while expensive, actually compare. Is the primary benefit of your licensing proposal the fasttracking of approval rather than significant cost savings throughout holistic nuclear plant expenses? You note the NRC relies on licensing fees to fund its auditing and investigative operations. If licensing fees are instead earmarked for licensing approval, will this create a shortfall in budgetary capacity to perform its auditing and investigative operations? If so, how do you propose supplementing the funds to continue these operations? Best regards, Dustin Carey Catalyst
Jun 8, 2015
I certainly agree that fast reactors should not be evaluated on criteria required by water moderated (pressurized) thermal reactors. Things like a requiring a large pressure vessel when the fast reactors may not be pressurized.
Jul 12, 2015
Regarding the judges' comment that "nuclear is not immediately scalable given that each new project takes ~10 years," it might be worth adding information on the many small modular reactors that various startup companies are attempting to build. If a reactor can be mass-produced in a factory and simply shipped to the site for installation, it certainly won't take ten years to install. Regarding wind/solar, while these are abundant sources of energy on average, getting consistently reliable power from them is nontrivial, and no country in the world has yet managed to use them for a large majority of power, without fossil or nuclear backup. That's not to say we shouldn't try, but maybe we shouldn't put all our eggs in that basket just yet.