The Trump administration just gave the nuclear power industry a $1.4 billion taxpayer subsidy.
NuScale Power, a startup company, designed a new kind of nuclear power reactor, and back in August, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approved it. The new design is called a “small modular reactor” (SMR), which claims to be a safe, clean, and affordable nuclear power option.
NuScale’s site states: “The approval of this design is an incredible accomplishment. This is a significant milestone not only for NuScale but also for the entire U.S. nuclear sector and the other advanced nuclear technologies that will follow. This clearly establishes the leadership of NuScale and the U.S. in the race to bring SMRs to market.”
According to Truthout, NuScale’s goal is to deploy up to 1,682 small (60-megawatt) reactors across the U.S. and beyond starting in 2023, essentially reviving the moribund nuclear power industry. Successful deployment of 1,682 60-megawatt SMRs in the U.S. would more than double domestic nuclear power capacity, which currently stands at about 98,000 megawatts.
Last month, the Trump administration made the decision to give NuScale $1.4 billion to start building the first 12 SMRs, which would be located on federal property at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL). The energy produced would then be purchased by the U.S. Department of Energy and by municipal governments.
Some industry proponents argue that SMRs are the best option for bringing large amounts of emissions-free technology online in the short term to help battle climate change. Opponents have cited the unresolved issue of disposing of nuclear waste, as well as the significant price tag and time involved in building any nuclear plant, compared with renewable energy sources, reports Scientific American.
Countries should be focusing more on renewable energy to lower emissions instead of focusing on nuclear power. Once nuclear energy becomes the future, renewable energy will no longer be a priority.