I am glad Mike decided to respond to April’s post, I have very high regard for them. Both of them understate their depth of knowledge, Mike is the go to expert and is considered an authority on the procedures, processes & educating teams involved with Nuclear Enigineering worldwide and April has a deep knowledge of Physics. I would value their opions deeply while considering the pros and cons. I especially appreciated Mike’s reference to the perceived shark episode and April’s reference to MRI, a device we are now very familiar with.
My own judgement is clouded by fear of the unknown, and I like many in this country need to be educated on harnessing nuclear energy in the most effective and safe manner. As Sol has mentioned, use of Nuclear Energy is out of US hands, there are already many countries harnessing Nuclear Energy and in countires like France the public seems to be very comfortable with producing 87% of electricity from Nuclear Energy and exporting a large amount to other countries.
The question that comes to mind is how is France so comfortable/nonchalant about having 59 Nuclear Power Plants in a land mass slighlty larger than Colorado with about almost 50 million people; surely if a mishap were to happen in France it would be much more catastropic because of the dense population not only in France but in other surrounding nations?
If we were to be technologically agnostic, and follow a structured approach described in the mapping tools of the invVEST Strategy
document, here are the three steps we need to take to see if Nuclear Energy generation is a viable option USA seriously needs to consider. First use the matrix on page 19 to select a panel of experts who are deeply knowledgeable in this area (preferably evenly spread between the proponents and the opponents) to discuss the Nuclear energy option. It is clear to me we need to have a few Behavioral, Education and Policy experts in this group, besides the Technology and Process experts. I’d like to select Mike, April and Matt as the first of the 10 -12 thought leaders and let them select at least two facilitators. I’d like Matt to counter and pick a few people with deep knowledge in Nuclear Engineering to participate. I’d like April and Mike to pick a few counter parts to discuss the issues.
Once a team is assembled, go to Base Mapping tool shown in the Strategy Document. Let each individual on the team score on each of the six traits for SE and compare notes. Discuss why anyone scored more than a 7 or lower than a 4 for each of the traits. Identify and agree on each of the issues to be resolved for any score lower than a 6. If Side Effects are perceived to be catastropic, list all the issues point by point to see how the team can mitigate them. My own read (I am no expert in this area) is Nuclear can score reasonably high on most catagories except for Side Effects by most people. I would like the experts to bring up all issues, including the clean up costs (Rocky Mountain Flats for example, is it only weapons related? Could it provide Nuclear fuel for electric generation?).
I would strongly urge the team to look outside US to do benchmarking, both in terms of cost, policies, controls, and taking care of side effects. Were there any other episodes in other countires, France for example, and how did they take care of the issues?). When they consider cost of power generation (on paper it has one of the lowest cost/kWh), do they really consider the total life cycle cost? Is USA losing out on a low cost viable option for power generation that can be considered Sustainable in the true sense of definition. Can we afford not be competitive compared to other countries, if many of the top players in the world are getting low cost energy (?) & clean energy (?)from Nuclear Power?
I think Nuclear Power Generation is a fairly mature Technology and I am not sure the Team needs to consider the next step, CORE Mapping tool, meant to be used for assessing product maturity and life cycle issues. But I will leave it to the team to decide what tools they want to use. I can come up with many more tools to help a structured discussion to a logical conclusion. I’d like this team to come up with recommendations for next steps.