According to Reason magazine, America’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission is holding up construction of the most innovative small nuclear reactors being designed by American companies. As a result, the first reactors constructed using these deigns are likely to be in other countries: Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Check, and even Ukraine. The NRC’s slow review means that it will be many years before these advanced reactors can be built in the US. NuScale, which uses less revolutionary technology has received an NRC “standard design approval,” but still needs additional approvals. The more unusual Oklo reactors have yet to pass the first stage approval. The NRC is supposed to be streamlining its approval process, but the process review may not be completed before the next group of new reactors apply for approval.
Nuclear power is needed to supplement the renewable power being suppled by wind and solar, but old design nuclear plants are huge, costly, and slow to build. If nuclear is to aid in preventing more global warming, nuclear plants need to get on-line quickly. The US is starting off well behind the curve in slowing climate change by replacing fossil fuel plants running on coal and gas with nuclear plants that emit no greenhouse gases.