Journal: U.S. nuclear industry must act now to avoid falling behind

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The journal Issues in Science and Technology published "A Roadmap for U.S. Nuclear Industry Innovation," written by Richard Lester, an associate provost at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in its most recent issue.

The article said the U.S. nuclear industry is falling behind China and Russia. Several sources have said China plans to expand nuclear capacity within the next few decades, and the article said nuclear development is a strong sector in an otherwise struggling Russian economy.

The report said the outlook for current nuclear reactors and future ones in the U.S. is not promising. There are currently four nuclear reactors under construction, and one has experience delays in its planning stages. Internationally, nuclear energy is gaining attention as a way to mitigate carbon emissions and climate change. Lester said that in the current climate, the U.S. will likely not play a large role if nuclear plans remain as they are.

Lester said that through his proposed roadmap, the U.S. nuclear industry can be improved and meet anticipated nuclear demands. Included in this plan is a reformation of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and differing roles for national laboratories and the federal government.

The plan also calls for enhancing current nuclear facilities and greatly increasing the number of nuclear reactors in the U.S. between 2030 and 2040. Lester said this would be necessary to meet emission-reduction goals.

Lester said many possibilities can be found in emerging nuclear technology and that it could reverse what he calls a decline in nuclear development nationally.

Organizations in this Story

Massachusetts Institute of Technology U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

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