By Hannah Gardiner
Sometimes it feels like we’re fighting an uphill battle for nuclear energy – and perhaps we are.
Indeed, because an April 2018 survey by Pew Research found that 54% of Americans oppose building new nuclear reactors despite a majority of U.S. adults reporting that climate change affects their local area. And if you’re reading this, I probably don’t have to tell you that nuclear power emits almost no carbon, aids in environmental and biodiversity conservation, provides high-paying jobs for a wide array of fields and education levels, and keeps running regardless of what the weather outside is like.
Despite all of this, it feels like nuclear plants are shutting down faster than HBO can produce seasons of Game of Thrones.
However, there is still hope for the future of nuclear. For example, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendment Act of 2018 recently passed the House, paving a way forward to finally license Yucca Mountain 31 years after Congress designated it to be the official deep geological repository for spent nuclear fuel in the U.S. It’s about time, considering that the 1986 designation of Yucca Mountain as our official spent fuel repository site is now 33 years old.
Furthermore, there are some interesting legislative battles being waged on the state and local. Both New York and Illinois have enacted a version of a Zero Emissions Credit (ZEC), subsidizing their nuclear power plants, averting further premature closures. Wisconsin and Kentucky recently lifted statewide moratoriums on nuclear power plant construction in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
However, there are more federal, state, and local level battles to win, but the question is how do we win them? What can we do to ensure the future success of our industry? These questions are especially poignant for students who wish to have nuclear careers many years from now. Students are
By Hannah Gardiner