How should US nuclear respond to a favorable Trump administration?
Ben Heard
161

Not just the US nuclear sector, but all of us should join in a “universal defense for science, evidence, and open discourse.” We should no longer cede the high ground on safety, sustainability, cost, expandability, pollution, resources, environment, or any other quality to the expediency of the “all of the above” approach. 
The safety record of nuclear power is enviable. Even hydro power has a worse record if we include the dam failure in China. The deaths and cancers predicted by the radiation fear-mongers have not occurred, not even 70 years after the end of WWII or 30 years after Chernobyl. Radiation turns out to be relatively benign except in very high doses. 
Sustainability is a function of fuel supply. Nuclear power has only one contender for that title — solar. But solar is a zero-sum game. The sunshine that provides power for human activity must be diverted from something else in the environment. The fertile precursors of nuclear fuel, Thorium and Uranium, are plentiful and cheap.
The cost of energy from nuclear power plants is low but the up-front cost is high. The cost of fuel is insignificant but the plant needs to be amortized over the long lifetime of the plant. Also, the regulatory costs are designed to be prohibitive. Try applying the same costs to the “rest of the above”.
Expandability is a unique advantage for nuclear power because of its small materials and space requirements for a given amount of energy production. 
I could go on, of course, but I will jump to the concluding point. The consequences of the still increasing concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere can only minimized by drastically reducing emissions as soon as possible. Nuclear power is the only energy source that can grow fast enough and far enough to keep fossil fuels in the ground, where the Carbon is already safely sequestered. 
The nuclear power technology that we have today is better than any other source of energy, already. Sure, it will get even better but there is no need to wait. All we have to do is join in the “universal defense for science, evidence, and open discourse.”

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