Next-generation nuclear power, including the recycling and re-use of existing nuclear waste, presents ideal economic and environmental opportunities, the Nevadans Citizens Action Network reports in the Veterans Reporter News. Utilizing the most advanced technologies, transitioning to a nuclear-centered energy economy will keep energy prices low without any of the potential harms associated with 20th century nuclear technology.
“The growth of technology and the positive changes that have come about for humankind cannot be overstated,” writes Colonel Robert Frank, chairman and co-founder of the Nevadans Citizens Action Network, in Veterans Reporter News. “Advanced, ‘Small Modular Reactor (SMR)’ technologies and options for safely handling and efficient recycling of spent nuclear fuel have dramatically changed as well. The advanced reactors no longer require huge volumes of circulating external water to cool them. They can be independently installed anywhere in remote or populated areas where power is needed. They can produce uninterruptible power for 24/7/365 at varying levels for up to 30 years without needing more recycled fuel.”
Grassroots conservative activists in Nevada formed the Citizens Action Network in 2016. Although the group advocates for a broad array of conservative policies, one of the group’s signature issues is solving, along conservative free-market principles, the dilemma of the Yucca Mountain storage facility for spent nuclear fuel. The Citizens Action Network points to next-generation technologies that will produce affordable nuclear power and can be powered by existing nuclear waste.
“SMRs are made on production lines, use sealed cooling systems (liquid lead, etc.) that are ‘walk-away-safe’, emit no CO2 or other harmful pollutants, and can be designed to be installed underground in tamper-resistant clusters to suit current and future needs,” writes Frank.
“Such a joint, national nuclear fuel recycling plant could be built at a small fraction of the cost to build and operate a million-year storage facility. And, the health and safety issues related to extremely long-term storage in Yucca Mountain would be avoided. The recycled fuel would be owned by the joint enterprise. It could be sold to both current and advanced nuclear reactor operators,” Frank explains.
The Citizens Action Network acknowledges concerns about carbon dioxide emissions, and that nuclear power generates more emissions-free power than any other source.
“This forward-looking, common sense plan could put the state on a path to become a national leader in engineering and development of multiple types of carbon-free energy that includes new fuels for the emerging new reactor technologies,” Frank observes.