April 3, 2020
Making the Most of Advanced Nuclear Testing
Over the last decade the federal government has supported the development of advanced nuclear technologies, most recently by beginning to develop a test reactor to assess environmental impacts and safety. Such testing, however, could provide valuable data on far more than the local impacts of such advanced technology, argues AAF’s Director of Energy Policy Ewelina Czapla. Traditional nuclear power generators have struggled under high regulatory and operational costs, and this test reactor provides an opportunity to assess the economic viability of advanced technology, she writes — invaluable information for the government and private investors alike.
The demonstration programs, however, could provide information on far more than the safety and environmental impact of these reactors. By better understanding the costs associated with operating a facility, such as the costs of its fuel source, the disposal of resulting waste, or the staffing needs, industry and the government will have a better sense of the markets best served by advanced nuclear. This information could be used to better inform how to approach climate change mitigation on a national level.