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We Need Nuclear Power Plants Built by the US Government

Why am I so focused on building nuclear power plants? Because we are being lulled into believing renewable sources of energy are gaining a foothold and will rescue us from the looming energy crisis. I wish this were true. Sadly, it is far from the truth.

Wind and solar produce approximately 2 percent of the world’s electricity. Hydro power, a substantial source of renewable energy, comes with other environmental impacts. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, fossil fuels are the dominant sources of energy powering the U.S. and world economy, accounting for more than 85 percent in 2015 with a slight reduction in 2017 due to increases in alternative energy sources. On our present course, by not eliminating fossil fuels in the foreseeable future, we are risking irreparable damage to our environment and world stability.

Modern nuclear power plants, especially Molten Salt Reactors:

· offer the highest megawatts with zero carbon emissions

· are the cleanest environmentally

· have the smallest footprint

· are extremely safe

· generate the least amount of waste

· and are the most economically advantageous

Old power plants that were built in the 1970s must be upgraded – not decommissioned. As it stands now, we make government policies and regulations that pit private corporations in an adversarial position with government agencies only to make building nuclear plants economically impossible. Instead of hindering nuclear power plants, we must foster the building of new ones. We must change federal and state laws to make nuclear energy a renewable power source, allowing it to compete with solar and wind, eliminating regulations that make it nearly impossible to build nuclear power plants, and even build government-owned power plants similar to the Tennessee Valley Authority that was created in 1933.

Nuclear power plants must be built quickly so we can reduce greenhouse emissions and our dependency on oil and coal. Because state-of-the art nuclear power plants combined with fuel enrichment facilities can significantly reduce the amount of nuclear waste at the same time we generate electricity, much of the current spent nuclear waste can be recycled (enriched), used for electrical generation, while reducing the total amount that needs to be stored.

However, private utilities cannot do this alone if government regulations remain more obstructive than constructive, not to mention the barrage of negative publicity that I suspect is subsidized by fossil fuel conglomerates who want to maintain the status quo that benefits them. This state of affairs makes large investments, like building state-of-the-art nuclear power plants, nearly impossible.

Exacerbating the problem is this: Private utility companies have been subject to accidents (even though nearly all of these accidents are often minor and over exaggerated), forcing more regulations and unnecessary oversight. This then increases the cost that is subsequently passed onto us, the consumers. Private utility companies, who are not independent, competing companies, merely petition the Public Utility Commissions for rate increases and the consumers have no choice but to pay more. If we let private utility companies build nuclear power plants, the costs will be completely prohibitive.

Our country can do much better and we already have proven that with our Nuclear Navy. I am convinced that nuclear power plants must be built for the reasons outlined above, and they must be built by the federal government and not private industries, nor in conjunction with private industries.

The federal government must force the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to fast-track permits and reconsider regulations that hamper construction. While there is no doubt that safety and environmental measures must be adhered to, nuclear plants must be built quickly and brought online as soon as possible.

We are in a state of emergency. If any “war” was justified, the war to reduce carbon emissions is one that we all can support.

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