The NELA & America’s Nuclear Outlook

 

On September 20th of this year the Three Mile Island nuclear generating station closed for good, ending three decades of service to the Pennsylvania energy grid. Currently there are only two new reactors being built in the United States, both of which are over budget and well beyond schedule deadlines. Since the U.S. became the first country on earth to commercialize nuclear power seventy years ago, the once global leader on atomic energy has drastically fallen behind other emerging powers in terms of development, efficiency, research, design, education, and production. The causes for this tumble from the mountain are complex and vary wildly, but if one wants to point to a singular root cause it would be wise to level a finger at public support.

            What begin in the 1970’s as a counter-culture aversion to the neo-science of nuclear energy and its three glaring global disasters, and thus played itself out in protest anthems, concerts, and jostling posters slapped with peace signs, has now once again become a political maelstrom hampering any advancement in the technology. What the hippies saw as a mushroom cloud holocaust, the left-wing clean energy movement now sees as a leverageable political pawn. It can hardly be anything else—when leading experts and scientists not only in America, but looped around the entire globe, vehemently state that no clean energy future is attainable without the inclusion of nuclear energy, and still these special interest groups still refuse to treat “Nuclear” as anything other than a dirty and disgusting word, one simply has to see it for what it is. Empirical science (truth, if such a thing exists on planet earth) can only be denied avariciously. We know the hard facts—renewables such as wind, solar, and hydropower just aren’t as reliable, efficient, and powerful as the near continuous energy derived from an atomic reaction. That logic cannot be refuted in any rational sense—which means we are dealing with an ethos problem. So what can be done?

             The Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (NELA) a bipartisan proposal that currently has 13 sponsors in the House and 17 in the Senate, aims to reinvigorate the U.S. nuclear industry through investment in research, development, fuel security, workforce development, and public education. The legislation, lead by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) addresses both the short and long term needs of American nuclear generation in the coming decades by laying the groundwork for attainable and cohesive objectives between federal and private sector laboratories such as Idaho National Labs, providing financial support for research and development that establishes safety/reliability standards necessary to pursue new state-of-the-art technologies like small modular reactors, as well as providing a consistent amount of reactor fuel for researchers and developers as they push the boundaries of what we’re currently capable of.

            Face it—20% of all energy produced in the United States is from nuclear power and we’re falling behind China who is rapidly building new reactors in not only their own country but foreign nations as well, and Russia is the world leading exporter of nuclear energy. We need to revive interest and innovation among our brightest minds—from college and grad students in our universities to our tech conglomerates to our elected officials. America was once true to her creed of liberty and justice for all and we extended that to global leadership of the most volatile force known to humanity. Beyond even the energy concerns, electrical grid efficiency, and clean energy, we cannot risk the nuclear question being answered by governments and nations who would wield it as a blade.

            That’s why OTEK is tremendously invested in the health and prosperity of the American nuclear industry.  That’s why we became as Class 1E/Appendix B company and developed our New Technology Meters (NTM) and the Solid State Analog Meter (SSAM) to aid the nuclear industry. With analog obsolescence coming to a head in the nuclear I&C rooms, the NTM and SSAM are designed specifically to replace old analogs wire by wire without retraining operators, incurring lengthy installation outages, and effectively combating cyber security expenses with C.S. Compliant (NTM) and C.S. Exempt (SSAM) designations.

            For more information on OTEK’s efforts to help the nuclear industry, our Class 1E/Appendix B approved meters, or any of our vast array of products, please call our office at 520-748-7900 or email our sales department: sales@otekcorp.com