Today, roughly 60 nuclear plants are under construction worldwide, which will add about 60,000 megawatts of generating capacity—equivalent to a sixth of the world’s current nuclear power capacity. These proposals do not mean that the NRC lacks confidence in the safety of U.S. nuclear reactors; their track record of running 90 percent of the time is an indicator of good safety performance and extraordinary when compared with other methods of electricity generation. Low natural gas prices, mostly the result of newly accessible shale gas, have brightened the prospects that efficient gas-burning power plants could cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants relatively quickly by displacing old, inefficient coal plants, but the historical volatility of natural gas prices has made utility companies wary of putting all their eggs in that basket. But the strategy backfired, and the program is in a shambles. What these countries care about most is an assured supply of reactor fuel and a way to alleviate the burden of waste management. Ernest Moniz, Secretary of Energy, Renewable Energy, Breakthrough, Solyndra, Nuclear Power, Energy Efficiency Ernest Moniz's "all of the above" energy policies might be good for his friends in the coal, oil and gas industries, but they're a death sentence for us and our planet. SMRs have attractive safety features, too. Moniz later joined the board of Atlanta-based Southern Co., whose power plants are among the most polluting of any major U.S. energy firm. Moniz, a physicist and director of the MIT Energy Initiative, heavily financed by energy industry giants including BP and Chevron, has long advocated nuclear power. And because they are factory-assembled, the on-site construction time is shorter. Fukushima awakened the American public and members of Congress to the problem of the accumulation of radioactive spent fuel in cooling pools at reactor sites. Only after SMRs are licensed and built will their true cost be clear. There is an alternative to disposing of transuranic elements: they can be separated from the reactor fuel every few years and then recycled into new nuclear reactor fuel as an additional energy source. As Secretary, he advanced energy technology innovation, nuclear security and strategic stability, cutting-edge capabilities for the American scientific research community, and environmental stewardship. Further delay will only raise the stakes. The country supplying the fuel would treat the returned spent fuel as it does its own, disposing of it directly or reprocessing it. The Fukushima disaster will cause nuclear regulators everywhere to reconsider safety requirements—in particular, those specifying which accidents plants must be designed to withstand. ERNEST J. MONIZ is Co-Chair and CEO of the Nuclear Threat Initiative and Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics and Engineering Systems Emeritus at MIT. Washington should stick to its plan of offering limited assistance for building several new nuclear reactors in this decade, sharing the lessons learned across the industry. At each site, the aging fuel would be monitored, so that any problems that arose could be addressed. In the United States, the NRC’s review led to a recommendation that nuclear power plant operators reevaluate seismic and flood hazards every ten years and alter the design of the plants and their operating procedures as appropriate. With the U.S. federal budget under tremendous pressure, it is hard to imagine taxpayers funding demonstrations of a new nuclear technology. U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz said the time will come—perhaps 10 to 15 years from now—when “nuclear power is going to have to see a substantial resurgence.” All this can make nuclear power plants seem like risky investments, which in turn raises investors’ demands on return and the cost of borrowing money to finance the projects. The utility company can build up its nuclear power capacity step by step, adding additional reactors as needed, which means that it can generate revenue from electricity sales sooner. Electricity generation emits more carbon dioxide in the United States than does transportation or industry, and nuclear power is the largest source of carbon-free electricity in the country. Granholm to lead Energy Department", "Energy secretary nominee Ernest Moniz has deep ties to oil, gas, and nuclear industries", "145 Progressive Groups Urge Biden to Shun Fossil Fuel Execs and Lobbyists", "Energy Nominee Ernest Moniz Criticized for Backing Fracking & Nuclear Power; Ties to BP, GE, Saudis", "Energy nominee Moniz details ties to BP", "The American Philosophical Society Welcomes New Members for 2020", Moniz Nomination: Hearing before the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, United States Senate, One Hundred Thirteenth Congress, First Session, to Consider the Nomination of Dr. Ernest Moniz to be the Secretary of Energy, April 9, 2013, "Why We Still Need Nuclear Power", Making Clean Energy Safe and Affordable, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, Administrator of the Small Business Administration, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ernest_Moniz&oldid=999852999, Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty, MIT Center for Theoretical Physics faculty, Office of Science and Technology Policy officials, Politicians from Fall River, Massachusetts, Members of the American Philosophical Society, Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Wikipedia articles with SNAC-ID identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 12 January 2021, at 08:00. 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