Nuclear Energy = Clean Energy by MIT Nukes
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"Impressive proposal really focused on moving past rhetoric and quickly into reality in addressing the need to reduce carbon emissions. Very clear action plan that can enable clean technologies to be more easily approved and deployed."
"I would still like to see more detail on the impact of this change, but continue to like the proposal. This is a very actionable policy idea that would move the ball forward."
Thank you for this very thoughtful proposal. This is a straightforward proposal that addresses an issue we regularly hear about. There's a lot to like here, and any negative feedback we have should be viewed as constructive criticism on an already-strong idea.
To strengthen the proposal, the authors should consider where opposition might come from and how to overcome it -- particularly the reality that the nuclear industry already feels overburdened by fees imposed by the NRC and may object to an increase in licensing fee, however, minimal, to finance new regulations for a set of reactors that are not yet commercialized. Spending more space acknowledging the opposition and discussing steps against it will make it a stronger proposal.
It would also be helpful to provide more guidance as to how, politically, get the NRC to act on these recommendations. Would it require executive action? Lobbying by industry or outside groups? Other action?
Second, on of the judges was not entirely convinced that this would make a significant change in US greenhouse gas emissions for two reasons. First, you could make a stronger case that the licensing process is actually causing fewer reactors to be built. I understand the logic behind the argument, but don't see a lot of documentation.
Second, even if the licensing process was improved, there are numerous other challenges nuclear faces, like long-term waste storage.If you address both of those questions, you would be better-equipped to answer the question about greenhouse gas impact. I understand that the goal is a zero-fossil fuel energy mix, but I don't think you mean that this licensing change would directly achieve that goal. You should try estimating how many more reactors would be built by 2050 if this licensing change was implemented.
Finally, I may be missing something, but I think you need to do more with the budget. If you stop subsidizing the operating reactor oversight budget with application fees, then you need to find a new source of funding for operating reactor oversight. Do you have a proposal to address this shortfall? That would make your proposal significantly more workable.
All in all, this was a very strong proposal, and one that we judges are eager to revisit during the next judging round.
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