I have been studying nuclear power and nuclear history as an avocation for about 3 decades, mostly because I am a nerdy engineer and am fascinated by machines. There is still a lot that I don’t know and need to learn, but I feel confident in proposing the following as a path forward for clean, peaceful, abundant nuclear power.
1. The linear, no threshold (LNT) theory of radiation exposure is wrong. It has been scientifically proven to be wrong. We just need to put a wooden stake through its heart.
2. LNT is the basis for radiation control regulations that gave us ALARA, (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) that has been used to impose ridiculous and crippling regulations on the nuclear industry. AHARS not ALARA.
3. AHARS, As High As Reasonably Safe. There is no legitimate reason to regulate human exposure of radiation to levels less than those that occur naturally around the world. Everything comes with a cost. The cost of ALARA has been crippling fear and nuclear enemies preying on that fear.
4. The Department of Energy (sbka – should be know as – the Department of Nuclear Weapons, DONW) should have stewardship of nuclear materials, that are not strictly bomb grade, withdrawn from its control. The US government has been a slothful steward of nuclear materials (commercially speaking) for 70+ years. There is no reason to continue doing what doesn’t work. Unless it is 90%+ highly enriched uranium 235 or strictly bomb grade plutonium purposely made in a bomb plutonium production reactor, I propose that it no longer be controlled by the Feds. (Please notice that I have excluded U233 from DONW control, regardless of the purity.) Rod Adams has done an excellent job of debunking the myth that nuclear bombs can be made with commercial nuclear fuel.
5. No grid priority for wind and solar or renewable mandates/portfolios. This is probably the silver bullet that has led to the closure of nuclear power plants in the US. This is how grid priority works (or really doesn’t work in this case). The wind suddenly starts blowing and the sun breaks through the clouds and just as suddenly, the electric grid is mandated by law to take all this power and pay retail for it.
It’s like buying a new 50″ flat screen TV on sale at Walmart for the Superbowl and then taking the TV back the next day when the sale is ended and demanding to return the TV at the non-sale price.
6. No subsidies for wind and solar. Or, if Uncle gives my neighbor a large tax break for installing solar panels on top of his house, I should get the same tax break for investing in nuclear power. After all, don’t we believe in equal protection under the law? Let start doing what we pretend to believe in.
7. Get rid of FERC. Do we really want the post office types running energy markets that we depend on? They are not smarter than actual markets. Didn’t 70 years of Soviet planning teach the world this lesson?
8. Reform the NRC – please see my previous post.
Why am I doing this? What do I see as the benefits of nuclear power? – Electricity for everyone on the planet at very affordable rates.