How to Make Nuclear Innovative

Lessons from Other Advanced Industries

What will it take to bring 21st-century innovation to the nuclear industry?

How to Make Nuclear Innovative, a new Breakthrough report, makes the case for an entirely new model of nuclear innovation. Instead of conventional light-water reactors financed and constructed by large incumbent firms, the advanced nuclear industry will be characterized by innovative reactor and plant designs, new business models, and smaller entrepreneurial start-ups.

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Another Record Year for Nuclear Power

2016 Adds 9.5 GW of Global Capacity

Last April, Will Boisvert noted that 2015 was a record year for new nuclear power around the world, with more reactors added than in any year since 1990. But 2016 proved to be an even bigger year for nuclear power, with ten reactors coming online around the world, adding 9.5 gigawatts (GW) of capacity. This was the largest annual addition of nuclear power since 1990, and the largest two-year addition of nuclear power since 1989-90.

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Same Issues, Different Stories

Talking Nuclear Waste and Risk Perception with Suzanne Waldman

A 2015 Breakthrough Generation fellow, Suzanne Waldman is currently completing her doctoral degree in Communication Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, where she researches risk perception of nuclear power and nuclear waste. As we well know, questions surrounding both issues tend to dredge up a range of responses, from the technocratic to the anti-nuclear, that Waldman says correspond with different cultural “frames,” or worldviews. Drawing on research by Dan Kahan and others, she emphasizes that “we’re all in different tribes when we think about risk” and that these tribes each tell a particular kind of story. When it comes to the weighty question of disposing of our nuclear waste, she has set out to find, is it possible to engage these contradictory stories into some larger narrative, one that brings us closer to policy solutions?

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Britain’s Civilian Nuclear Program Is Not a Stealth Military Program

Lack of Evidence of a Conspiracy is Not Evidence of a Deeper Conspiracy

Last week, the New York Times published an Op-Ed by Peter Wynn Kirby, a social anthropologist at Oxford, alleging that the United Kingdom promoted the Hinkley Point C project as “a stealth initiative to bolster Britain’s nuclear deterrent.” The author’s argument is entirely dependent on a “painstaking study” authored by the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of Sussex.

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Radiation and Reason

An Interview with Dr. Wade Allison

Dr. Wade Allison taught and studied at the University of Oxford  for over 40 years, where he is now an Emeritus Professor of Physics. His two books, Radiation and Reason and Nuclear is for Life, provide great introductions and references for those looking for a deeper understanding of how radiation affects the environment and public health.

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All Pain, No Gain

Closing Diablo Canyon Will Cause Costs and Emissions to Rise

Last week, California utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) announced it intends to close the state’s last nuclear power plant, Diablo Canyon, starting in 2024. Diablo Canyon, a 2200-megawatt plant just north of San Luis Obispo, generates 8–10% of California’s electricity every year with zero air pollution and zero carbon emissions. The closure is explained in a proposaldeveloped by the utility along with environmental and labor groups.

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Nuclear

Nuclear energy is an essential source of zero-carbon, efficient, and reliable power that also does not heavily intrude upon the land. But for nuclear to rapidly displace dirty fossil fuels, it must become safer and cheaper. Given their growing populations, industrializing countries like China and India are leading the development and deployment of advanced nuclear technologies. Click here for Breakthrough's FAQ on nuclear.

PUBLICATIONS
 

 


ANALYSIS AND OPINION
 

FAQ on Nuclear

Cost of German Solar Is Four Times Finnish Nuclear

Nuclear and Gas Account for Most Carbon Displacement Since 1950

Subsidies for Solar Two Times Higher Than for Nuclear in California


BREAKTHROUGH IN THE NEWS
 


Robert Bryce, "A Nuclear Option for Energy," May 9, 2014


Ben Geman, "Greens Still See Red On Nuclear," February 2, 2014


Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, "Can Climate Skeptics Save the Planet?" September 27, 2013


Editorial Board, "Don't Give Up on Nuclear Energy Yet," September 5, 2013


Ashutosh Jogalekar, "Nuclear vs. Renewables: A Tale of Disparaties," August 22, 2013


Bob Dreyfuss, "The IPCC Report and Nuclear Energy," August 21, 2013


Eduardo Porter, "Coming Full Circle in Energy, to Nuclear," August 20, 2013


Bryan Walsh, "New Nuclear Reactor Designs Could Address Safety and Cost Concerns," August 5, 2013


Mark Halper, "Newfangled reactors will slash costs of nuclear power," July 16, 2013


Eliza Strickland, "Can Nuclear Reactors Be Cheap?" July 12, 2013


Fred Pearce, "New Green Vision: Technology As Our Planet's Last Best Hope," July 15, 2013


Bryan Walsh, "Nuclear Energy is Largely Safe. But Can It Be Cheap?" July 8, 2013


Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, "Going Green? Then Go Nuclear," May 22, 2013


Joe Garofoli, "Some Environmentalists Back Nuclear Power," June 13, 2013


Robert Bryce, "Rise of the Nuclear Greens," March 7, 2013


Colbert Report, "Tonight's guest: Michael Shellenberger explores global energy consumption, nuclear power and lessons from Frankenstein," January 28, 2013


Tim Wu, "If You Care About the Environment You Should Support Nuclear Power," January 24, 2013