A clear and present need for nuclear energy expansion.
C.E. (Gene) Carpenter Jr. is a staff member with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, leading the aging management issues group within the NRC’s Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research. He is a graduate student at George Washington University. Views expressed in this article are solely the author’s. Email him at Gene.Carpenter@nrc.gov.
The new U.S. presidential administration represents what may prove to be the last, best hope for recapturing and maintaining America’s technological and economic superiority, as well as its moral authority to influence—and lead—the world community, particularly with respect to environmental and energy issues. However, in order to do so, we need to accept hard truths about the current state of affairs in these areas and to acknowledge explicitly that, under a business-as-usual (BAU) model, our national situation will not improve magically, but rather quickly will become markedly worse.
If we are to regain American leadership in energy and environmental issues, we need to institute an “Apollo Project” level of effort to convert the nation, and ultimately all nations, to a carbon-free energy infrastructure. This will require replacing the vast majority of carbon-based fuels with energy generated by nuclear power, which is the single best energy source for the coming decades.
The need to convert our energy infrastructure from carbon-based fossil fuels to clean and renewable nuclear—including rapidly weaning our transportation infrastructure off oil and onto energy from nuclear sources—is evident in the hard truths we need to acknowledge about continuing the present BAU path.