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Fri Jan 25, 2013, 10:06 PM

America’s Nuclear Energy Future

"When it comes to nuclear energy, Dr. Burton Richter is Mr. Credible. Winner of the 1976 Nobel Prize for discovering a new sub-atomic particle, Richter has advised presidents and policymakers for almost 40 years. Richter has been a Breakthrough Senior Fellow since 2011, and is technical adviser to the forthcoming documentary, "Pandora's Promise," about pro-nuclear environmentalists.

Breakthrough interviewed Richter recently to get his opinion on next generation nuclear reactors, and why so many of them are being developed abroad and not by the Department of Energy in the United States. "The DOE is too screwed up to go into a partnership and do this in the US," the blunt Richter told us, referring to the Bill Gates-backed nuclear design pursued in China by Terrapower.

Is DOE really to blame? In the end, Richter told us it was partisan polarization that was the problem. 'George W. Bush actually had a good thing on next generation nuclear,' Richter said. 'When the Obama people came in all the Gen IV activities were stopped. With a system that keeps changing its priorities every few years, the [National DOE] Labs are pretty demoralized. The French have a long-term plan. The Koreans, the Chinese, the Russians have it. We don't have it. That's not the fault of the labs, that's the fault of the administrations.'"


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Reply America’s Nuclear Energy Future (Original post)
wtmusic Jan 2013 OP
PamW Jan 2013 #1

Response to wtmusic (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 02:12 PM

1. AMEN to that!!!

The previous administration started a number of nuclear energy initiatives under the auspices of a DOE program called GNEP = Global Nuclear Energy Partnership.

The purpose was to bring together scientists from DOE's national laboratories, scientists from Universities and academia, as well as scientists / engineers working in industry. It was a very forward looking attempt to consolidate and coordinate the efforts of all these scientists.

The Obama Administration unfortunately terminated the entire program.

I have to agree with Richter; it's "knee-jerk" logic. If a program was started by Republican George W. Bush, then it has to be evil, and the first thing a new Democrat President has to do is kill it.

Just as when Argonne National Lab started and researched a very promising reactor design / fuel cycle called the IFR - Integral Fast Reactor. The IFR program started in the early 1980s under the Reagan Administration.
In spite of successful tests and reviews; when the Clinton Administration came to power in 1993, one of the first things on their agenda was to terminate the IFR program begun by the Reagan / Bush Administrations:


Q: Who made that decision?

A: The decision was made in the early weeks of the Clinton administration. It was tempered somewhat in the Department of Energy in that first year. Congress then acted to keep the program alive in that first year. And then in the second year of the Clinton administration, the decision to really reinforce the earlier decisions was made final, and the Administration put a very considerable effort into assuring successfully that the IFR would be canceled.

Why are successful programs cancelled, just because they were started by the other Party?

How would we like it? Suppose Obamacare is a resounding success. However, suppose a Republican President is elected in 2016, and he / she is successful in repealing Obamacare for no other reason than the fact that it was started under a Democratic President.

How would we feel? Would that be in the best interest of the US citizenry?

If we wish to have our programs taken seriously and allowed to work for the US citizenry, then both Parties have to respect the programs started by the other Party.

If the program is working and the reviews say it is important / valuable research like IFR and GNEP; then why should we cancel those programs just because we didn't start them?


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