March 12, 2020
Why Innovative Nuclear Power Needs New Regulatory Pathways
While nuclear power produces energy that is both clean and reliable — making it an invaluable part of any climate strategy — it has faced numerous hurdles to its development in the United States. In particular, the regulatory-review process is both long and expensive, making it much more difficult for innovative technologies to come to market. To address these challenges, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission should consider creating new pathways for technologies that promise to make nuclear energy more economically viable, argues AAF’s Director of Energy Policy Ewelina Czapla in new research.
The regulatory situation currently facing advanced nuclear technology parallels many of the challenges that the pharmaceutical industry has faced. Advanced reactors rely on novel technology that is implemented and operates differently, much like new drugs. In addition, there is a pressing need for its implementation as an emissions-free power producer, similar to the diseases that new drugs often address. And just as the FDA created new pathways for needed drugs, advanced nuclear technology is ripe for new review pathways that allow for expedited review based on the potential that nuclear energy holds for ameliorating carbon emissions.