Reforming the NRC

Drain the swamp, baby.

I propose the following to fix the NRC. If this doesn’t work, it can’t be fixed and should thereafter be abolished. (Yes, the NRC is broken.)

The NRC will now have one application and one application only, whether it be 1 page or 10,000 pages. Applicants will fill out the form and pay a $100,000 filing fee. The NRC will have 4 weeks to review the application and then they must issue a permit, combined construction and operation. This new application will be available January 31, 2017. (The NRC better hurry, they only have 2 months.)

I think this is analogous to gun permits, once a person fills out the permit and meets the requirements, the state must issue the permit. Anti-gunners have tried to delay these permits in the past, but baloney. Likewise, the NRC must issue the permit within 4 weeks after the applicant has filled out the application and paid the fee.

My next proposal concerns the funding of the NRC. The NRC ought to suffer the fortunes and misfortunes of the industry they regulate. Here is how it will go:

Take the NRC annual budget of 2015 and divide by 10. Then, divide this by the total number of kilowatt-hours produced by the nuclear fleet in 2015. This is the base rate.  Each NPP will then pay this base rate to the NRC annually based on the electricity generated. If the total kilowatt hours produced declines in a year because of closure of existing power plants, then the budget of the NRC will be lower.  New plants coming on line will also pay this amount, when they start delivering commercial power. Note, however, that new plants will not pay anything beyond the $100,000 application fee until they actually deliver commercial power.

If the NRC shuts down the fleet or a single NPP, those plants will pay no fees to the NRC until they again produce commercial power and pay fees at the base rate. It is believed that these changes will make the NRC balance public safety with the production of electrical power/economics.

It’s a thought.


Here are the numbers for the base rate:

2015 Budget of the USNRC is about a billion dollars

kilowatt hours produced by the US nuclear fleet in 2015=  797.2 billion kWh

$1 billion divide by 10 = $100 million

$100 million divided by 797.2 billion kWh = 0.000125 $ per kWh base rate (just over one one hundredth of a penny per kilowatt hour generated. (Yes, Virginia, this is a lot less than the NRC is currently receiving. Do we have your attention now?)


My Daughter is Not (That) Radioactive (Anymore)

A couple of posts ago, I used a Geiger counter to demonstrate the radioactivity of Tech99, with a half life of 6 hours.  The Geiger counter was beeping like crazy a few hours after the procedure, but two days later, only 0.3 percent of the Tech99 remained.

Half life is an important physical property of radioactive materials. The shorter the half life, the more intensely radioactive the element. The longer the half life, the less radioactive the element. For example, Tech99 has a half life of 6 hours and is very radioactive, but thorium has a half life of 14.5 billion years, so it is not very radioactive and there is still a lot of it around since it was created at the beginning of the universe. Tech99 does not exist naturally.

My daughter is still a little radioactive, just like me and you and everybody else. We have Carbon14 and Portassium40 in us, from the things we eat. Our cells can’t tell the difference between “natural” radiation and “man-made” radiation. The effects are the same, but depend on dose and dose rate.



Some Nuclear Fun

You gotta have some fun once in a while, or you might go nuts.

Here are some fun graphics I freely stole off social media. molten-salt-homer-simpson


log-scale-2On a more serious note:

japan-energy-after-fukushimaThis shows graphically the government mandated closure of all the nuclear power plants in Japan after the damage to the Fukushima reactors caused by the tsunami. The electricity previously generated by nuclear fission was replaced with gas, coal and oil. This cost the Japanese an additional $150 billion dollars. Notice I said an additional $150 billion. Money that would not have been spent to buy oil, gas, and coal if the undamaged nuclear power plants would have been allowed to continue operation.

How fun is that?