The Folly of an SMR-Only Nuclear Strategy

Jeff Luse wrote in RealClearEnergy about the need for a technology-neutral nuclear energy strategy.

After decades of anti-nuclear rhetoric and moratoriums on new nuclear power plants, legislatures nationwide are finally embracing nuclear power as a clean, viable energy source by overturning state bans. While a step in the right direction, several of these ban lifts only apply to small modular reactors (SMRs), which have a capacity of 300 megawatts (MW) or less and are smaller than the current fleet of large light water reactors, many of which boast over 1,000 MW per reactor. Rather than focusing exclusively on certain forms of nuclear power, state and federal lawmakers should pursue policies that unleash competition in the industry to reduce costs and meet America’s economic and environmental goals. 

In California, the General Assembly is considering lifting its moratorium, but only for reactors up to 300 MW. Maine is advancing a similar piece of legislation that would allow for the construction of reactors up to 350 MW and a Connecticut bill would authorize a feasibility study for SMRs. Last year Illinois lifted its decades-long moratorium with legislation that authorized the build-out of reactors up to 300 MW. 

Handcuffing America’s energy future to certain technologies—many of which are not yet commercially available— could hamper competition, environmental progress, and grid reliability. 

Read the full article here.

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