June 9th, 2012

Modular Nuclear Reactors

While reading Nate Hoffelder's excellent blog The Digital Reader, I watched part of a TEDx talk about modular nuclear reactors. (The connection, if you are wondering, lies in a particular person who was a founder of the company called Eink and is now involved in modular reactors.) TED talks are, almost by definition, the sort of thing to suck you in and shut down critical thinking. It's a (usually charming) person. They are talking. They have slides. There are few written words. There is applause. Etc. Geeky and cool. Yay. So I shut down the YouTube video of the presentation part way through and thought about it for a couple of days. After a brief discussion with R., I said to myself, Self! Quit screwing around! UCS must have an opinion about this and if you go read it and adopt it, you'll feel good when the years roll along and the future brings whatever the future brings.

Here is what UCS had to say about it last year:

http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/nuclear-expert-dispels-myths.html

I like UCS. You might not. They start out highly skeptical of nuclear power. And then they laundry list you with the issues. If you really want a drop in replacement for fossil fuels that does not require intensive development over a long period of time and extensive changes to the way we do, uh, everything, well, this is not your ray of sunshine. If you want non-rah-rah, uber-nerdy analysis of the costs and benefits and careful policy propoals, well, maybe you'll get a sense of why I like them so much.