What’s needed for a realistic and effective nuclear energy policy in the United States? How do we get there? A report from the 2014 American Nuclear Society Annual Meeting.
Workshop discussion concluded with what a realistic U.S. nuclear policy agenda would look like.
First, some movement on nuclear waste policy is needed, now. The current Energy Bill in Congress may actually include some funding for a pilot interim storage facility—and that would be movement.
Second, a “good for nuclear” EPA carbon rule is needed, now. Public comments are open on the EPA rule, and ANS as a national organization will definitely be weighing in on this.
Third, low dose radiation health effects—or more accurately, the lack thereof—is an overriding issue. From discussion: Is it really the case that one can add up all radiation exposure throughout a lifetime and extrapolate some health effect from that number? It’s certainly one way to regulate radiation exposure, but is the situation with radiation dose more akin to a more familiar example: Occasionally drinking a glass of wine may even be good for you—but drink bottles every day and you’ll see plenty of adverse health effects? There seems to be some shifting among the scientific community regarding biological effects of low dose radiation, and research continues
At the end of 2013, China’s 17 operational nuclear power plants were producing about 2 percent of the country’s total energy, according to Xinhua news. But Ye Qizhen, an expert in nuclear energy at the Chinese Academy of Engineering says that China should aim to get 10 percent of its energy from nuclear. China’s President has also called for accelerated research in nuclear power.
China has completed the basic technology research and published a development roadmap for a Generation IV demonstration supercritical water cooled reactor that could be commissioned in 2022.