Study: Time to Modernize Nuclear Regulations

Nuclear power regulations are in dire need of modernization, with an obsolete regulatory regime stifling much-need innovation, William Murray explains in a just-published R Street study.

“The current U.S. regulatory regime for nuclear power is currently misdirected, with too much attention and resources being targeted toward the current operating fleet at the expense of new generations of reactor technology that is safer,” Murray writes in an introduction to the study.

R Street 2“Congress should act quickly to help improve the situation by passing legislation that does the following: Create a new regulatory infrastructure for future reactors, develop and fund Advanced Nuclear Reactor (ANR) technologies and Accident Tolerant Fuels (ATF), broaden the use by federal agencies of purchase power agreements, and relax some export control regulations,” Murray observes.

Murray has a point. Nations like France reprocess their spent nuclear fuel, dramatically reducing their nuclear waste. Nations like India are steering resources toward next-generation molten salt reactors that promise to be economical, efficient, and incredibly safe. The United States, which once was the unquestioned world leader in nuclear power technology, is falling by the wayside.

With enormous global concern about climate change, and no other affordable, dependable, widely available emissions-free power sources available, nuclear power may well be the future of world power generation. India, for example, has set ambitions greenhouse gas-reduction targets and plans to meet them primarily through new nuclear power facilities.

Federal regulatory impediments are currently an impenetrable obstacle to U.S. nuclear power innovation. It is time for that to change. William Murray’s prescription on how to make beneficial changes is a must read

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