Will nuclear power ever get a more expanded role in the push for clean energy?

It is my understanding that very lofty clean energy goals cannot be attained without nuclear power. Here is an opinion piece I was reading on that:

I know that nuclear is scary for some people and clearly there is the problem of radioactive waste but to attain goals of over 90% clean energy what role will nuclear have to play?

it’s 0 emissions, and has greater energy density than wind or solar, and has less radioactive emissions than a coal plant

waste is an issue, but not a “problem”

plant technology had vastly improved and is safe even if power is knocked out and the backups fail (see ap1000)

hundreds of plants have been operating for decades without any issues except for the rate cases, which dont happen with new safe designs

We should be building Molten Salt Reactors. Their safety us unparalleled and they use nuclear waste as fuel. We have enough of that to power the entire country for centuries.


Thorium reactors would make the most sense for nuclear energy production, but we have this tendency to want our nuclear fuel to be easily weaponized, “just in case.”

not really viable for nuke navy either

If one is fair dinkum about nuclear power all R&D should be on nuclear fusion not fission.

We will probably have fusion before any fission plant suggested today gets to break ground.

People lawyer-up about windmills on other people’s land. Nuke doesn’t stand a chance.

That’s why the public needs to be educated about molten salt reactors. You can try try try to cause a meltdown accident in one and it won’t happen and they use nuclear waste as fuel for a win win. And no carbon so it’s a win win win.

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I fear that even if the whole population knows, there’s still the resentment of landowners who have to worry about trucks, trains, or ships with waste, fuel, or just regular parts coming through their nice waterfront property neighborhood.

They’ll sue anyway, even if it’s just because they feel like they’re being taken advantage of by the end users of the power this plant will generate.

I just watched Chernobyl on HBO idk

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Very interesting responses thus far. I thought there would be more negativity regarding this.

Theres some of that with wind energy. Farmers need to be paid off or given lease payments when putting them up. A lot of rural folk dont like how wind farms block views

I’m no expert here but I would have to assume that any new nuclear power plants built would have so many safe guards as to make something like that happen again virtually impossible.

Nuclear fusion is not gonna happen in our lifetimes. Yes I know we as humans think we are brilliant, we already made fission happen and landed a person on the moon, etc.

But fusion is a whole different animal adding more factors in that we dont have any understanding of. I’m all for continuing research of it and maybe one day we can make it happen. People tend to think in their own lifetimes though particularly when it comes to dollars and cents and fusion doesn’t now, nor did it decades ago fit that bill.

Think about that. We’ve come so far in CPU design in the last 20 years. By comparison we’ve walked a football field with computing power. With nuclear fusion, not even a meter or 3 ft for the stubborn.

He’s joking but there will actually be people who will screech about salt reactors based on nothing but that (fantastic) show.

Their money spends the same as an informed person’s so they can still find lawyers to slow you down for a decade.

Chernobyl isn’t representative of the nuclear industry at large. Don’t judge the industry for Chernobyl, judge the Soviets.

  1. RBMK reactors were inherently unsafe in their original design spec due to Soviet shortsightedness and the desire to build a lot of them cheaply. For one, the control rods were too short to guarantee reactor shutdown during a SCRAM. They also had a positive void coefficient issue with the coolant; in every other light water reactor design if you develop air pockets in the coolant (such as the water boiling) the reactivity decreases. In RBMKs it initially increases and then decreases which during a loss of coolant accident means that the reactors output increases dramatically and then decreases. No other reactor design, even old second gen reactors have this issue. Only RBMKs.

  2. Soviet personnel training standards were subpar and did not conform to international regulations. Shift changes were handled poorly; reports were not generated by the leaving shift. This was one of the core reasons the 1986 accident happened; the incoming crew was not informed of the spin down test that ultimately led to the loss of coolant accident.

  3. No true containment. The most expensive part of a nuclear plant is the containment system. The RBMKs were meant to be powerful and cheap to build, thus the Soviets skimped on the containment buildings. Plus, they didn’t conform to international standards on building materials; the roofs in RBMK buildings were flammable. This is not the case in Western designs.

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You are correct. The Chernobyl series was more a condemnation of the Soviet system and its inability to handle the truth than a condemnation of nuclear power per se.

The premise of the thread is also correct. Nuclear power should be a major element of a clean energy future.

However it won’t be. Every statement that nuclear power if safer today… modern reactors won’t… will run into a mixture of “Didn’t we here that about the Titanic being unsinkable.” People always claim to have licked the odds. Heck, when flying on Aeroflot planes during the Cold War the safety briefing was prefaced by a statement that “Soviet airliners are completely safe and reliable. Nevertheles international law requires that we give you this briefing.”

In a country where something as obvious as the value of vaccines for children has been rejected by a substantial portion of the public, how do experts ever propose to convince the public the nuclear is now safe?

A missed opportunity.

not practical

In the schema of things I don’t believe there has been much incentive to put the money into nuclear fusion R&D. There is a far greater imperative now.

good job leftist HBO.

that plant was a disaster waiting to happen. plants aren’t designed and run that way in the world where governments care about the population