Small Nuclear Reactors Are the White Elephant No One Needs

Jay Owen Resource Efficiency, Earth Systems Science, Latest Headlines

“As a science policy advisor to the US Office of Technology Assessment, NSF and the National Academy of Engineering’s Committee on Public Engineering Policy, I have testified many times, including before Congress about the idiocy of nuclear power for electricity. I used to say that the only safely-sited nuclear power plant, our Sun, is 93 million miles from Earth.

But the problem is still the stupidity of subsidizing any form of nuclear power plant, including these smaller ones, still being pushed by some ignorant folk on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley including Bill Gates and his Breakthrough group. Cut your losses!  Generating electricity beyond hydro, as we all know, is usually about boiling water to drive off steam, which then drives utility companies‘ turbines.  Water can be boiled with coal, oil, natural gas, solar, wind, or if we are really stupid, with uranium-enriched nuclear energy!

Naturally, all these extra steps–involving CO2 emissions and pollution, make nuclear un-clean, too costly even with all its subsides, still including Price-Anderson insurance, as well as incurring all the dangers of wastes, storage and proliferation risks.

So, we salute Taxpayers for Common Sense, and urge you to read their article below.


~Hazel Henderson, Editor“


Doubling Down

Taxpayers’ Losing Bet on NuScale and Small Modular Reactors

After more than half a century of federal subsidization of conventional nuclear facilities, some policymakers and industry proponents are arguing for expanded subsidies for new smaller sized types of nuclear reactors — small modular reactors (“SMRs”).

However, this dream of rolling mini reactors off the assembly line to compete in energy markets defies reality. The slew of current incentives has failed to foster a cost-effective nuclear reactor industry, and the timeline for deployment of new designs is far too distant to make a timely or beneficial climate impact.

After 60 years, the nuclear power industry remains heavily dependent on subsidies, faces costly and unresolved waste disposal challenges, and leaves
a long trail of ongoing environmental liabilities, from uranium mining contaminants to water pollution. Meanwhile, alternatives like wind and solar power, efficiency gains, and battery storage are now cheaper than nuclear generation. Why then, should federal taxpayers consider even more federal subsidies — especially at a scale sufficient to force small modular reactors to market?

The technology used by the first nuclear power plants in the United States was developed by researchers in federal government laboratories. By assuming catastrophic accident liability, providing enrichment services, and making advancements for industry to adopt, the federal government also continued to underwrite nuclear power as early production rose. The capacity of reactors at U.S. power plants grew over time in attempts to capture economies of scale, but their construction costs and difficulties grew too. Continue reading