Amory Lovins writes: "Every new reactor in history has been costlier, slower, and harder than projected." He continues: "IFRs (integrated fast reactors) might in principle offer some safety advantages over today's light-water reactors, but create different safety concerns, including the sodium coolant's chemical reactivity (sodium catches fire if exposed to airand explodes if exposed to water) and radioactivity."
Also from the report:
“2009 was the seventh year of the so-called “Nuclear Renaissance,” but it looks a lot like the US nuclear industry of the 1980s, a decade of no new orders, multiple delays and cancellations, hefty defaults, and emerging cheaper alternatives.” (Mark Cooper, Institute for Energy and the Environment, December 2009)
Right now, we really need to be investing our time and funding into low-carbon energy solutions that are cost-effective and can be deployed relatively quickly (like starting now, and up and running starting within the next 5 years). I'd love for nuclear to work as an addition to our energy mix that really helps our transition off of the 20th Century sinking ship that is fossil fuels -- I really would. Show me the numbers, the new plants that are being built quickly and cost effectively. You can't!
Thus, this article certainly doesn't do anything to convince me that we should be investing billions of precious taxpayer dollars in nuclear right now, as President Obama seems to be approving of to achieve "bipartisan" support of climate change and clean energy legislation in the Senate.
At a time when we need to get as many kWh of low-carbon energy sources in place as soon as possible, it's painful to watch as "bipartisanship" takes priority over "likelihood of success". I don't give a whale's armpit if policy solutions are Democratic, Republican, bipartisan, or friggin Martian. I just want them to successfully achieve our climate change and clean energy transition goals.
It boggles the mind how plumb dumb the politics of our transition to clean energy can be sometimes.