Time to Bring Nuclear Energy Into the 21st Century

By Jack Spencer

December 13, 2023

The silver lining of this month’s United Nations COP28 global warming conference is the growing consensus that nuclear energy is critical to meeting national carbon dioxide reduction goals.

Denying the world access to clean, affordable fuels like gas, oil, and coal is a real problem. But recognizing that nuclear energy must play a pivotal role in our energy future is a major step forward—one that should enjoy widespread support, regardless of one’s views on CO2 reductions.

But to go big on nuclear requires thinking big on nuclear energy policy, and that means questioning the subsidize-first mentality that has defined U.S. energy policy for decades.

The goal should not be to build a few nuclear power plants. Rather, we should strive to create an economically sustainable, competitive, innovative and uniquely American nuclear industry.

This will require a realignment of responsibility. The government’s role should be to protect public health and safety. The private sector’s role should be to operate a competitive commercial nuclear sector.

That means getting rid of the subsidies, rethinking regulation and getting Washington out of nuclear waste management. Washington should have a regulatory role, but not its current role as Nuclear CEO.

The reason is simple: Governments are not good at business, because they make decisions based on politics rather than on good economic sense. This never yields a successful industry.

Some argue that nuclear energy requires more governmental control, suggesting that nuclear presents more financial, technical, and political risks than other industries.

But all big projects have financial risk. Private oil refineries can cost billions of dollars, and projects like skyscrapers, liquid natural gas export terminals and other large industrial projects all require massive capital outlays. Companies and individuals regularly take big financial risks.

Then there is technological risk. But nuclear is not really that different from other industries. With 440 nuclear reactors operating globally, technical risk for existing technology is relatively low. Industry knows how to build and operate nuclear plants.

Possible technological risks with new designs are not beyond the realm of those posed by innovation in other cutting-edge businesses, such as fracking or offshore energy exploration. e. Beyond that, as it pertains to nuclear energy, there is a vast federal research infrastructure in place that the private sector can access to help mitigate that risk.

Political risk, however, is real and uniquely high when it comes to nuclear energy, and it exacerbates financial and technical risk calculations. Any justification for government intervention is based on mitigating government-imposed risk.

But here is the problem.

When government intervenes to mitigate a risk that it has created, it adds another layer of political risk. Worse, it creates dependence, distorts capital flows, incentivizes rent-seeking and lobbying, and forces firms to allocate resources to satisfy politicians and bureaucrats rather than improve its business.

This creates misalignments between responsibility and authorities and undermines economic efficiency.

Even worse, politics often changes, making it difficult to build a sustainable business model around political preferences. At best, this approach could yield a couple of reactors or keep some firms above water, but it won’t produce a robust, competitive, innovative nuclear industry. Failure is likely.

The major question is: How does America minimize political risk and allow the private sector to manage other risks, so that a robust industry can emerge?

It will require changing the Department of Energy’s role, bold regulatory reforms, and solving the problem of nuclear waste management.

We need to get the Energy Department totally out of the nuclear commercialization business. The problem is not that people are not doing their jobs, the problem is the nature of government.

The Department should not be funding grants, loans, or demonstration projects. Nor should it be attempting to improve operations or economics of existing plants or new technologies. The private sector can do these better than government.

The Energy Department has an important role to play in nuclear research and scientific discovery, but it needs to get as far from any commercialization or commercial operations as possible.

What about regulation?

Worthwhile attempts are being made to improve the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. An efficient, predictable, and affordable regulatory process for new reactor technologies is essential.

But America needs to think bigger.

For example, states could be authorized to take a larger role in nuclear power plant regulation. The Atomic Energy Act of 1954 already allows states to regulate some nuclear materials. That should be expanded. States could regulate existing reactor technology, and the NRC could focus on new technologies. Not all states will use this opportunity, but some will.

This is a reasonable proposition because U.S. utilities have been safely operating large light water reactors for over 50 years. America should not be regulating large light water reactors as new, scary technology, because it is neither new nor scary. The regulatory burden should be significantly lifted on those reactors.

NRC personnel should not be the only ones who can review permit applications and other regulatory review work. Private firms should be able to compete for this business. They would lighten the NRC’s load and likely do a quicker job at lower cost.

Lastly, companies should be allowed to build reactors outside the existing NRC regulatory regime if they obtain their own liability insurance against accidents. In exchange they would forgo participation in the federal Price-Anderson program that currently provides liability coverage.

Some might question whether private insurers would cover a nuclear reactor absent a government backstop. But given outstanding safety records of existing reactors and promises that new technologies are safer, this should be an option. Insurance comes in many forms, and no one can predict what could ultimately emerge.

Either way, the insurance industry is extraordinarily sophisticated and does a tremendous job at pricing risk. It will be effective at ensuring that only the safest nuclear plants are built.

Finally, there is the question of what to do with nuclear waste—or, more accurately, spent nuclear fuel.

The federal government took responsibility for managing the nation’s spent nuclear fuel in 1982. By removing responsibility from the spent fuel producers, the 1982 Nuclear Waste Policy Act removed any incentive for the nuclear industry to integrate spent fuel management into its long-term business planning and left it instead to Washington bureaucrats. It should surprise no one that the plan has failed.

Reforms are needed to reconnect the nuclear industry to waste management. Reforms would allow for a private spent fuel industry to emerge that would drive innovation in reactor technologies and spent fuel processing. They would allow the nuclear industry and communities to engage in real negotiations, bound by legal contracts, to build and operate spent fuel management facilities.

There is no question that these proposed reforms are a major departure from the status quo, but they are reasonable, not radical. They would foster good governance and economic progress in the industry. As COP28 representatives discuss how to reduce carbon while raising global living standards, nuclear energy should be on the front burner.

Jack Spencer is a Senior Research Fellow in Energy and Environmental Policy at The Heritage Foundation.

This article was originally published by RealClearEnergy and made available via RealClearWire.

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Tom Halla
December 19, 2023 6:13 pm

Reasonable, but the Democratic party are control freaks at best and outright socialists at worst. Unless they are both out of power, and have little chance of regaining power, such reforms would not work for the reasonable expectation of the Democrats reregulating nukes.

Reply to  Tom Halla
December 20, 2023 10:51 am

The reason we don’t have cheap energy is not because we don’t have more nuke power. It is because we have totally centralized and colluded energy markets. Don’t you see the entire climate change propaganda machine is leveraged by those who control the centralized nd colluded markets. They do not want the model of decentralized energy generation, storage and distribution to fail by premature pressing into service in service of a false problem to save the planet. But the decentralized model is the only one that will empower consumers, increase competition, side step all the bad actors, and result in cheap energy regardless of the energy input.

Cheap energy means a wide open free energy market at all levels, (grid, input, distribution, storage at all scales from home to giant grid). the more the input requires big capital (tax dollars) and absolute centralization, the less free the energy market place and the more the consumer is going to pay through the nose and have less choices

Reply to  JC
December 20, 2023 10:53 am

correction ?they do not want a scalable decentralized system of electrical generation, storage and distribution system to work”

December 19, 2023 6:47 pm

Pure propaganda, there is no CO2 crisis that needs solving.

Reply to  schmoozer
December 19, 2023 7:02 pm

Regardless, or irregardless, there is still a need for a method of generating electricity and/or to produce process heating, without the use of fossil fuels, so that those naturally occurring hydrocarbons are available for transportation and other uses.

Eventually natural fossil fuels will become ness available requiring the use “energy” to produce them from other forms of hydrocarbons or molecules containing hydrogen and carbon for those same uses.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Drake
December 20, 2023 3:31 am

Really? Still a need to produce electricity and heating without ff- as if we’re running out? We’re not close to running out of coal.

Richard Page
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
December 20, 2023 7:48 am

True but I’d much rather see sophisticated nuclear power plants developed before we see the end of coal or other fossil fuels. Let’s not have a situation where someone holds up the very last lump of coal left on the planet and then asks for ideas, shall we?

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Richard Page
December 20, 2023 9:17 am

yuh, but if it’s the cheapest form of energy- then we should use it- when it runs low and the price goes up, we’ll use less- we’ll probably never run out

Reply to  Richard Page
December 20, 2023 9:44 am

The ideas, and response, would be … “Hey, we used the most efficient source for as long as we could, now we are going to have to make/manufacture a transportable energy source rather than use what nature provided. It won’t be as efficient, but we can make the product with the energy we produce from the nuke plant.”

(‘I would personally like to save the natural resources that are utilized for nuclear power production. If we don’t save them, we will eventually run out. We should save them until we have developed a system where we don’t need them … then we can be sure it is safe to use them’.)

Richard Page
Reply to  DonM
December 20, 2023 3:38 pm

The problem is that every energy system needs a ‘bedding in’ period where you work out the quirks and the bugs in the new industry, then building so that the designs are refined and the costs come down. We haven’t had that with nuclear and I think we should start long before we actually need to – after all, coal would make an excellent peaker plant fuel alongside nuclear.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
December 20, 2023 10:06 am

Nor methane, given the extensive methane hydrates/calthrates existing in certain areas of deep ocean floors.

“There are now thought to be 1,500 to 15,000 billion tons of carbon locked up in hydrates around the world — comparable to the 5,000 billion tons of carbon in all the planet’s oil, gas, and coal. Even though only a fraction of this is mineable, in the United States it has been estimated that exploiting hydrates could bump up that country’s natural gas deposits seven-fold.”

Reply to  schmoozer
December 20, 2023 7:52 am

First sentence in above article:
“The silver lining of this month’s United Nations COP28 global warming conference is the growing consensus that nuclear energy is critical to meeting national carbon dioxide reduction goals.”

Ahhhh . . . the assembly of COP28 idiots! They forgot to examine the more basic question of “Is reducing (atmospheric) carbon dioxide critical?”

Since the preponderance of scientific evidence shows that it’s not, planning to replace fossil fuel power plants with nuclear power plants is superfluous thinking for United Nation representatives . . . but here I repeat myself.

December 19, 2023 7:06 pm

The author of this column has it exactly backwards. Just like the private sector proved that they couldn’t provide firefighting service, the private sector have proven that they can’t provide nuclear power. Because of safety, security, and proliferation concerns; and because of the amount of time it takes to site, design, and build a nuclear generating station, it has to be done by government or it probably won’t get done at all. And the failure of NuScale is just the most recent example.

John Oliver
Reply to  GeorgeInSanDiego
December 19, 2023 7:28 pm

I’m not so sure the firefighting is an apt analogy. And arn’t many nuc facilities owned and run by utilities that are regulated corporations.

Richard Page
Reply to  GeorgeInSanDiego
December 19, 2023 7:48 pm

Absolutely wrong. The USA currently has 93 privately built and run nuclear reactors on 54 sites across 28 states. This proves that the private sector can, and does, provide nuclear power from large nuclear reactors. Nuscale was building a prototype SMR with new technologies and safety problems in a government run industry not used to SMR or, indeed any new or innovative, technology. Given a better framework to develop and test these new technologies and Nuscale might well not have failed, although the cost overruns were enormous.

Reply to  Richard Page
December 19, 2023 8:16 pm

Nuclear Energy And Free Market Capitalism Aren’t Compatible; CleanTechnica; November 6, 2023

Reply to  GeorgeInSanDiego
December 19, 2023 10:23 pm

Why cite a far-left anti-life anti-advancement greenie loonie ?

Reply to  bnice2000
December 19, 2023 10:31 pm

Because in this instance I think they’re right.

Richard Page
Reply to  GeorgeInSanDiego
December 19, 2023 11:51 pm

I read it. Not sure what you were hoping this would prove but it is heavily biased against private nuclear industry. The author has cherry picked some failures and ignored every single success that doesn’t fit with his pre-established conclusion. He seems to be firmly in favour of big, centralised, all-powerful government and a big fan of China.
I really wasn’t impressed and it fails on its rather dubious merits.

Reply to  Richard Page
December 20, 2023 12:49 am

And those sucesses are?

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  MyUsername
December 20, 2023 3:37 am

the “93 privately built and run nuclear reactors on 54 sites across 28 states” that Richard mentioned

Richard Page
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
December 20, 2023 4:34 am

And those are just the American ones, he completely ignores the Canadian CANDU system entirely, then cites Chinese progress without mentioning that they bought CANDU reactors as well.

Reply to  Richard Page
December 20, 2023 8:07 am


“Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) is a Canadian federal Crown corporation

…AECL developed the CANDU reactor technology starting in the 1950s, and in October 2011 licensed this technology to Candu Energy (a wholly owned subsidiary of SNC-Lavalin)….

…Until October 2011 AECL was also the vendor of CANDU technology, which it had exported worldwide…”


“AECL receives federal funding”

Doesn’t sound like the free market sucess story.

Richard Page
Reply to  MyUsername
December 20, 2023 3:47 pm

Why? The US government developed the first nuclear reactors and passed the designs and technology over to other companies to develop and build, the Canadian AECL developed the CANDU design then passed it over to a company to develop and build. Just because governments were involved in some part during the process, you think that completely invalidates the whole thing, do you? Under those criteria there hasn’t been an industry, any industry, that has been a ‘free market success story’ since before the invention of the wheel.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
December 20, 2023 7:42 am


Paul S
Reply to  GeorgeInSanDiego
December 19, 2023 7:51 pm

The amount of time it takes to site, design, and build a nuclear generating station is obscene because of government interference. If it weren’t for all of the red tape and bureaucracy, nuclear power could be had much sooner and less expensive. Government is the problem. Free enterprise is the solution.

Ron Long
Reply to  Paul S
December 20, 2023 1:57 am

GeorgeinSanDiego thinks The China Syndrome was a documentary.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Paul S
December 20, 2023 3:38 am

France proved it. Case closed.

Ron Long
Reply to  GeorgeInSanDiego
December 20, 2023 1:54 am

Sounds like you are in favor of the type of government control that led to the Chernobyl disaster.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  GeorgeInSanDiego
December 20, 2023 3:35 am

Have there been many or any “safety, security, and proliferation concerns” from the nuclear industry? Believing the government(s) can do anything better than the private sector is is foolish.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  GeorgeInSanDiego
December 20, 2023 4:09 am

Your knowledge of history is sadly lacking. First, there a several private firefighting companies providing service to the public (google Rural Metro Fire). Second, firefighting was implemented as a community SERVICE as a public welfare implementation in order to protect those that couldn’t afford it privately.

A more appropriate example would probably be the landline telephone industry. When it started all kinds of private competitors immediately began and they were putting up wire lines all over the place. Pictures of New York city back then showed telephone wires literally blocking out the sun in places. Price competition put telephone service basically in reach of everyone, much like electrical service. Government implemented regulated telephone companies that were assigned service franchises (i.e. service areas) in order to limit the growth of the telephone aerial wires. One company and one set of wires.

The power industry saw essentially the same pattern as it was implemented.

These are bad examples for the nuclear power industry because nuclear plants today already fall under the aegis of being regulated monopolies, privately owned but government regulated pricing.

My guess is that you don’t even realize that most telephone companies and power companies today ARE privately owned by shareholders. Their capital investment IS part and parcel of the private sector already.

Steve B.
Reply to  GeorgeInSanDiego
December 20, 2023 8:39 am

Actually, you have it exactly backwards. Government does nothing ‘better’ and what it does do is always at a higher cost. Government has no incentive for efficiency, economy or quality in anything in which it is involved when it exercises monopolistic power and doesn’t have to compete with the private sector.

John Oliver
December 19, 2023 7:11 pm

The bottom line ; be it energy, “ pandemic issues” civil liberties, national security etc- nothing changes until the criminals are over throne ie overwhelmingly voted out of office. And I do mean criminals . And then held accountable in a court of law. Same for these WEF WHO types and all those who conspire with those in elected tyrants.

End of rant. But on a more practical note. STORY TIP it would be nice if we could get some articles on investing in the none green energy sector as I think reality is finally sinking in.

John Oliver
Reply to  John Oliver
December 19, 2023 7:12 pm


December 19, 2023 7:36 pm

What a breath of fresh air. Government is not suited to generate power. They need to be as far removed as practical. They have fouled up the construction, operation, distribution and waste management beyond belief. They certainly have a regulatory role but they need to go to regulatory school to learn how to do it properly. They have made such a mess out of every operation of generating and distributing power. It is disgraceful.

Paul S
Reply to  Bob
December 19, 2023 7:47 pm

Private enterprise drilled the oil, built the pipelines, built the refineries, transported the oil and gas, and built the filling stations. Government did nothing but hinder the process. Private enterprise could also build a nuclear structure also, but the government has a stranglehold on holding it a bay. The government could never build an affordable and reliable nuclear power system.

Richard Page
Reply to  Paul S
December 19, 2023 7:51 pm

The UK should be a case in point against a government built and run nuclear industry.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Bob
December 20, 2023 3:39 am


December 19, 2023 7:37 pm

France did it with “old” nuclear technology. What’s the problem?

Richard Page
Reply to  mleskovarsocalrrcom
December 19, 2023 8:46 pm

The fact that we are mentioning France as a singular exception is the problem.

Reply to  Richard Page
December 20, 2023 2:54 am

What sort of reactors did Germany use? What about the U.K.?

Reply to  JohnC
December 20, 2023 2:58 am

Future U.K. nuclear power plants are likely to be owned by a company owned entirely by the French state owned company EDF.

Richard Page
Reply to  JohnC
December 20, 2023 4:40 am

What? Why is that even relevant? As far as I know Germany used a host of different reactor types.

John Oliver
December 19, 2023 7:45 pm

The idea that only government can do it because the investment is so huge and there is “ risk “ never sits well with me. If that’s the criteria , one would talk themselves into to being a communist national economy pretty quick. No thanks.

John Hultquist
December 19, 2023 8:08 pm

The USA government continues to shovel money at wind and solar facilities as if the boondoggle was riding a south-bound train. No one has found a way of derailing the monster.
Nuclear may rise like the immortal Phoenix, but I doubt that the contribution to the U. S. energy mix will change during the lifetime of those reading this post.

Richard Page
Reply to  John Hultquist
December 19, 2023 9:46 pm

If a different government got in and lowered or eliminated the renewable subsidies then that industry would collapse completely. It would need to be done fairly rapidly, though, before the existing non-renewable power industries are completely removed.

Leo Smith
December 19, 2023 9:57 pm

can’t argue with any of that.

Gary Pearse
December 19, 2023 10:07 pm

Yes, let’s get nuclear into the mix. After all we’ve just done a $4 trillion scoping study to arrive at this new interest in nuclear. Oil and gas may go for another century or so, but we have to go nuclear big time eventually. We haven’t even really exploited the electronic revolution with the nuclear option.

Regarding casualties from accidents they are the lowest in the energy sector. Despite poor design, and the fact operators were doing a major experiment on the Chernobyl plant that set off the meltdown, only 94 deaths could be unequivocally tied to the accident (UN experts forecast 4000 and this number was left to hang out there). There has been only one death in the French fleet, which is also the largest. Directly tied to the Fukushima incident was also only one person. This was not even a nuclear accident, the plant having been destroyed by an earthquake and the tsunami it generated.

Canadian nuke tech is the cheapest to build at $CDN300M (2017 dollars) per modular unit, takes three years to build with no delays or cost overruns and the newest upgrades have a cost of fuel at less than $CDN 0.03/kWhr! The CANDU is the most reliable, safest, has the highest capacity factor because there is no need to shutdown to refuel. The world’s largest plant at Bruce Point Ontario is made up of seven modular units. A less chauvinistic world would have already be running many more Canadian made plants. Our best advert for the inherent safety of Canadian nuke tech is, one of are largest plants is built in a suburb of Toronto, our largest city.

China bought from Canada as did South Korea, Romania, India, Pakistan and Argentina.

Richard Page
Reply to  Gary Pearse
December 19, 2023 10:18 pm

Indeed, if the USA doesn’t get its act together and start developing reactor technology soon, it’ll be buying Canadian CANDU reactors like everyone else.

Reply to  Richard Page
December 19, 2023 10:41 pm

Kairos Power have received approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to start the construction of their Hermes reactor at Oak Ridge. It’s a high temperature TRISO fuel pebble bed design with a molten fluoride salt coolant.

Richard Page
Reply to  GeorgeInSanDiego
December 19, 2023 11:58 pm

I’m well aware that they have passed regulatory approval, as well as applying for construction approval for their full-scale Hermes II plant. However they are still experimental plants; until they have proven the technology at scale and built enough to bring the costs down, which CANDU have already done, we’re still just speculating really.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Richard Page
December 20, 2023 12:06 pm

Certainly, it looks like a seller’s market in the making. If I may suggest, when Trump gets in, a Constitutional Amendment should be enshrined requiring energy grids be fully reliable to provide power at the affordable costs to individuals and industry.

While he’s at it, he needs to add thick boilerplate to free enterprise and individual freedoms. The legitimacy of so-called ‘charitable institutions and funds like Soros’s Open Society, Rockefeller Bros and other treasonous, anti-American orgs, instituting charges for sedition and lawsuits if class action to payout their funds for damages to the American people. There’s lots more, but suffice it to say here that your Constitution was written for well-meaning Patriots and it seems easy to circumvent by evil harm-doers.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
December 20, 2023 10:09 am

Actually, two people died at Fukushima Diachi. They were inspecting the backup generators in the basement when the tsunami wave hit and they drowned. No deaths at Fukushima are attributed to acute radiation sickness.

December 20, 2023 1:28 am

Increased government bureaucracy leads to only one thing, more government bureaucracy.

“The bureaucracy is being increased in order to meet the needs of the increasing bureaucracy.”

Tom in Florida
December 20, 2023 4:41 am

Hi, I’m Mr Smith the appointed head of the new federal regulatory agency that is going to design, implement, regulate and oversee the nuclear power industry. But first, tell me how those nuclear plants work.”

Richard Page
Reply to  Tom in Florida
December 20, 2023 4:44 am

“What does this bit do? Do you really need it?”

Reply to  Tom in Florida
December 20, 2023 5:56 am

Ask the US Navy, Royal Navy, and Russian Navy…

Reply to  Tom in Florida
December 20, 2023 8:59 am

Secondly, we are implementing diversity, inclusion and equity training programs for our new nuclear power employees to enable our diverse workforce before we start generating any electrical power.

Reply to  Tom in Florida
December 20, 2023 12:45 pm

“Well Mr. Smith, I think you are taking on too much of a hands on management style. I think that you should just delegate to your appointees and employees that are more knowledgeable than you … you know, the guys like Sam Brinton.

December 20, 2023 6:01 am

These guys seem to have dropped off of the radar:


December 20, 2023 6:48 am

The West is way behind Russia and China regarding building competitive nuclear power plants
It would decades of training of engineers and scientists and $trillions of dollars to build enough plants for the WORLD to have about 50% of all electricity from nuclear by 2050

Nuclear Plants by Russia

According to the IAEA, during the first half of 2023, a total of 407 nuclear reactors are in operation at power plants across the world, with a total capacity at about 370,000 MW
Nuclear was 2546 TWh, or 9.2%, of world electricity production in 2022
Rosatom, a Russian Company, is building more nuclear reactors than any other country in the world, according to data from the Power Reactor Information System of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA.
The data show, a total of 58 large-scale nuclear power reactors are currently under construction worldwide, of which 23 are being built by Russia.

Nuclear Plants: A typical plant may have up to 4 reactors, usually about 1,200 MW each
In Egypt, 4 reactors, each 1,200 MW = 4,800 MW for $30 billion, or about $6,250/kW, 
The cost of the nuclear power plant is $28.75 billion.
As per a bilateral agreement, signed in 2015, approximately 85% of it is financed by Russia, and to be paid for by Egypt under a 22-year loan with an interest rate of 3%.
That cost is at least 40% less then US/UK/EU
In Turkey, 4 reactors, each 1,200 MW = 4,800 MW for $20 billion, or about $4,200/kW, entirely financed by Russia. The plant will be owned and operated by Rosatom
Rosatom, created in 2007 by combining several Russian companies, usually provides full service during the entire project life, such as training, new fuel bundles, refueling, waste processing and waste storage in Russia, etc., because the various countries likely do not have the required systems and infrastructures

Nuclear vs Wind: Remember, these nuclear plants reliably produce steady electricity, at reasonable cost/kWh, and have near-zero CO2 emissions
They have about 0.90 capacity factors, and last 60 to 80 years
Nuclear do not require counteracting plants. They can be designed to be load-following, as some are in France
Offshore wind systems produce variable, unreliable power, at very high cost/kWh, and near CO2-free
They have about 0.45 CFs, and last 20 to 25 years
They require a fleet of quick-reacting power plants to counteract the up/down wind outputs, on a less-than-minute-by-minute basis, 24/7/365, plus major expansion/reinforcement of electric grids to connect the wind systems to load centers, plus a lot of area.

Major Competitors: Rosatom’s direct competitors, according to PRIS data, are three Chinese companies: CNNC, CSPI and CGN.
They are building 22 reactors, but it should be noted, they are being built primarily inside China, and the Chinese partners are building five of them together with Rosatom.
American and European companies are lagging behind Rosatom, by a wide margin,” Alexander Uvarov, a director at the Atom-info Center and editor-in-chief at the atominfo.ru website, told TASS.

Tripling Nuclear? During COP28 in opulent Dubai, Kerry called for the world to triple CO2-free nuclear, from 370,200 MW to about 1,110,600 MW, by 2050.

Based on past experience in the US and EU, it takes at least 10 years to commission nuclear plants
That means, plants with about 39 reactors must be started each year, for 16 years (2024 to 2040), to fill the pipeline, to commission the final ones by 2050, in addition to those already in the pipeline.

New nuclear: Kerry’s nuclear tripling by 2050, would be 11% of the 2050 world electricity generation. See table
Existing nuclear: If some of the older plants are shut down, and plants already in the pipeline are placed in operation, that nuclear would be about 5% to the world total generation in 2050
Nuclear was 9.2% of 2022 generation.
Total nuclear would be about 16%, and would have minimal impact on CO2 emissions and ppm in 2050. 
Infrastructures and Manpower: The building of the new nuclear plants would require a major increase in infrastructures and educating and training of personnel, in addition to the cost of the power plants.

Phil Salmon
December 20, 2023 7:23 am

Bizarrely I was at COP28 in Dubai for one day – Friday December 8. I had just finished a business trip to nearby Abu Dhabi and the university there (New York University of Abu Dhabi) laid on free transport to COP28 and back. It was a spectacular show as one might expect with no expense spared and school children everywhere being suitably indoctrinated. In a technology exhibit hall there was a nuclear energy exhibit area where an interesting debate was being held with some pro-nuclear campaigners from Belgium, Germany, Spain, Taiwan and other countries. I took part in this for a while and got some nice Taiwanese cake at the end. There were some positive mentions of modular nuclear technology in some of the statements emerging from COP28. So yes – hopefully a step forward for nuclear.

Ronald Stein
December 20, 2023 7:32 am

COP28 attendees should read:

While America pursues renewables, worldwide expansion is underway for nuclear generated electricity.

Sweden, China, India, Russia, and others are changing from occasional electricity from renewables to fossil-free electricity from nuclear that is continuous and uninterruptible.


Published Nov 24, 2023 at Heartland https://heartland.org/opinion/while-america-pursues-renewables-worldwide-expansion-is-underway-for-nuclear-generated-electricity/

Richard Page
Reply to  Ronald Stein
December 20, 2023 7:55 am

Not America, Biden.

Reply to  Ronald Stein
December 20, 2023 9:55 am

The same headline for the last two decades:

We in [insert country] don’t build, but everyone else does!

Yet production declines more and more each passing year.

Richard Page
Reply to  MyUsername
December 20, 2023 3:54 pm

Stop being an idjit. Production has not declined; if anything it’s increased dramatically in certain sectors. You’re right in one respect – thanks to your ideologies and your fellow-travellers, production has moved to areas with more reliable energy sources, but not declined.

Steve B.
December 20, 2023 8:31 am

Nuclear is the right answer, even if it’s for the wrong reason, i.e., fear of climate change. But I have serious doubts that Democrats will allow nuclear to be developed. Nuclear fear vs CO2 fear is a devil of choice for the green crowd. They’d rather eschew both and let people suffer power shortages and forego a prosperous economy. If Dems can’t hold some sort of fear over people’s heads they lose influence and power, which is what they live for.

Andy Pattullo
December 20, 2023 9:46 am

This is sound advice for our energy future. We also need to reinforce the science base for this technology and remove the religious thinking that drives nuclear regulation to a standard far above what keeps people and the environment safe. The linear-no-threshold model of hazards as applied to nuclear technology drives regulations based on the idea that all radiation exposure is bad and therefore regulates reactors to a level of exposure one could not duplicate in everyday living. Flying at altitude, getting an x-ray, spending time in your concrete basement and working in many industrial jobs provide higher radiation exposure than regulators seem to allow in or around nuclear plants. This is similar to air quality standards that can’t be met by many national parks due to natural particulates and volatile compounds in the air.

The linear-no-threshold model is a superstitious model of hazard and toxicity, not a reflection of science. It is also a huge economic ball and chain for any new technology – especially within the nuclear technology sector. The first elected government that finds a way to burry this monstrosity will be immensely successful in building the economy and a bright energy future.

Joseph Zorzin
December 20, 2023 10:25 am

People who follow the UFO story- are aware of a theory that the aliens posses “zero point energy”. It has something to do with anti gravity. In theory, this energy source is immense- beyond comprehension. It’s so great that it can bend space-time, create space warps, etc. It’s speculated that the US government and some aerospace companies have been attempting to reverse engineer crashed alien craft. So this sounds silly, right? Well, if you pay attention you’ll know that the Senate passed a bill that would force the government and those companies to cough up all they know. It even declared eminent domain over the craft and “biologics”. A few members of the House on critical committees were able to kill the bill- an attachment to the annual Pentagon funding bill. Some elements of the UFO request are still in the bill, but it’s mostly be eviscerated. I know few people here in WUWT follow the UFO thing- but if you’re interested I can give you several links of some very intelligent YouTube channels. This isn’t silly paranormal stuff. The Pentagon has admitted there’s stuff out there flying around- solid objects- and they don’t what they are. They don’t yet admit to having craft or critters. I saw a UFO – one of the many sightings in the Hudson Valley area in the ’80s- and I wasn’t even stoned- or don’t think so- or can’t remember. 🙂

So why is this important? Because if this turns out to be true and it’s possible to harvest zero point energy, it’ll change everything. The UFO community talk about Disclosure. They say it’ll be the most important thing to happen in all of human history. I’m a skeptic even of this topic- always a skeptic- but it might be true and if so, it’s a really big deal.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
December 20, 2023 1:59 pm

Check out all the UFO-centric videos here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIHgFr6DTvs

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Yooper
December 21, 2023 2:24 am

That particular video- of the alien interrogation, I’ve seen before. Funny to watch. It might be real but probably not. There’s another one- don’t have a link- of an alien autopsy which has been identified as fake. If nothing else- the U*FO story is entertaining.

Phil Salmon
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
December 20, 2023 3:11 pm

Like X-files this is simply another outworking of American supremacism. Even alien races from across the universe with fantastic technologies are all subservient to Uncle Sam. All possessed and controlled by government men in suits.

Richard Page
Reply to  Phil Salmon
December 20, 2023 3:57 pm

Yeah, given the composition of the planet they are far more likely to have landed in the sea and been in conference with whales and dolphins.

December 20, 2023 10:40 am

I am pro-cheap energy regardless of the input.

If the cheapest option is Nuke, then nuke. What we need is competition in the energy, grid energy markets not market consolidation around one input..

Does building a bunch of new Nuke plants where there is direct access to huge fossil fuel reserves make sense? Also, I am dubious that extensive capital outlay for nuke plants is cheaper in the long run that fossil fuel. In addition, nuke plants are a grid only input. What happens to nuke-grid power if there is a big breakthrough in cheap scalable energy electrical generation, storage and distribution systems, which suddenly make home generation and storage the cheapest option with any given input ( oil gas, coal, solar, wind which ever is cheapest)?.

Does a giant Nuke power capitalization force a lobby to make home generation and storage illegal or kill it with tax regulations just as thee Oil lobby has been so busy doing in states who passed carbon tax laws?

Phil Salmon
December 20, 2023 2:55 pm

Photo of Korean nuclear exhibit in the Technology hall at COP28 Dubai, Dec 8, 2023

Phil Salmon
December 20, 2023 3:02 pm

Day pass, COP28 at Expo Dubai, Dec 8

Richard Page
Reply to  Phil Salmon
December 20, 2023 3:59 pm

Don’t care. Did ya get a selfie with any of the bigwigs and top nobs?

Phil Salmon
December 20, 2023 3:05 pm

COP28 at Expo Dubai, Dec 8

COP28-3 R2.jpg
Walter Sobchak
December 20, 2023 4:02 pm

two comments.

1, price Anderson. The problem is that very few people understand price Anderson. It is not a subsidy. It is actually designed to protect rate payers.It also establishes liabilities and structures compensation systems in the very unlikely event of an accident that causes damage out side of the containment building. It should not be waived or avoided.

2. In existing light water reactors fuel rods must be removed and replaced long before they have used all of their fissionable contents. As much as 95% of the energy value is not used. Throwing the fuel rods away is wasteful and foolish. The rods ought to be reprocessed. The amount of high level waste remaining after re processing is tiny and we should put it in a hole in the ground in Nevada along with harry Reid’s corpse and a whole bunch of Federal judges.

Geoff Sherrington
December 20, 2023 8:25 pm

The big scene for more nuclear is rather complicated, because it should be a simple assembly of simple concepts. The complexity is artificial. It is manufactired by people in groups who have agendas that are not simple and not in the best interests of the people.
I wrote about but one group of wealthy influencers, the Rockefeller Foundation here –
For those with pure, analytical minds and a desire to see progress in society, these influencers are pure evil and a pronounced impediment. Some of what they do is, I believe, actionable in a Court of Law. I am not a lawyer, so I could be wrong, but I do feel that the progress of nuclear expansion would be less complicated if these influencers were taken out of the equation. Yhey have no justifiable place in the decision making process for nuclear, yet they do enormous harm by questionable ideology.
Geoff S

December 20, 2023 10:17 pm

The navy is building LOS (life of ship) reactors that never need refueling. Why not a similar solution for civilian reactors.

Phil Salmon
December 21, 2023 5:42 am

Nuclear power: Ukraine in the membrane?


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