Matthew Wald, Energy reporter for The New York Times, has written the cover story for Scientific American's special edition, Earth 3.0. Wald's piece, "Can Nuclear Power Compete?", went online Tuesday and is currently the most-read energy story on the SciAm site. The pull quote,
...Like another moon shot, the launch of new reactors after a 35-year hiatus in orders is certainly possible, though not a sure bet. It would be easier this time, the experts say, because of technological progress over the intervening decades. But as with a project as large as a moon landing, there is another question: Would it be worthwhile?Characteristic of Wald's reporting, the article is even-handed and thorough. One small complaint? The online producers at SciAm.com did not include sidebar material from the print version. Two of the more interesting charts are below.
A variety of companies, including Wallace’s, say the answer may be yes. Manufacturers have submitted new designs to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s safety engineers, and that agency has already approved some as ready for construction, if they are built on a previously approved site. Utilities, reactor manufacturers and architecture/engineering firms have formed partnerships to build plants, pending final approvals. Swarms of students are enrolling in college-level nuclear engineering programs. And rosy projections from industry and government predict a surge in construction.