Not Quite Rushing Into a Nuclear Future

Several companies are planning to build new nuclear reactors in the United States, and they'd like to speed up the approval process to get these plants online as soon as possible, but that might not be happening. All plant designs have to be approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, so if a company wants to construct a new model, or import a proven one from France or Japan, it still has to get the NRC's OK, and this can take a while.

According to the New York Times, three companies have filed applications to build and operate five new reactors - but they've all either substantially modified approved designs or suggested models that haven't gotten NRC approval yet. Which means they're probably not going to be breaking ground as soon as they'd like. For many environmentalists, this is good news, considering the fact that we still haven't figured out what we're going to do with the waste yet. But others insist that we need nuclear, and we need to start planning new plants now, to meet our growing energy needs and assure that fossil fuels don't consume an increasing slice of that budget in the coming decades as today's nuclear power plants are retired. For more on that idea, settle down with this enormous study.-Gregory Mone