Unleash the power of bipartisan NRC reform
Two good bills that need to be reconciled
Every conversation about nuclear energy on the internet goes the same way. It starts with someone saying we need regulators to be friendlier to nuclear power plants, then someone else interjects that the real problem with nuclear is that it’s too expensive, to which the first person responds that the real reason nuclear is so expensive is that the regulatory burdens are too high.
Who’s right? I believe it’s the first person. But the only way to find out is to actually do the regulatory reforms.
While the environmental movement has, for the most part, set aside the irrational anti-nuclear worldview of the 1970s, it still fails to appreciate that a breakthrough in nuclear cost and technology would be really, really valuable. When discussing nuclear power, environmentalists tend to express incredible levels of optimism about the trajectory of renewable energy and batteries — such wild optimism that it renders the whole nuclear conversation irrelevant. But turn the conversation back to fossil fuels and suddenly it’s vitally important to block natural gas infrastructure or throw paint at the Mona Lisa. The impulse to do that kind of thing reflects, I think, a sound implicit recognition that it’s actually not true that we are on a glide-path to 100 percent renewables.
I’m just as annoyed by the people who are so certain that changing nuclear regulation is the answer that they ignore all the other levers. But we need to try every plausible lever, and nuclear definitely counts.
There’s been some good news on this front recently, though.