Tuesday, April 09, 2013

NEI's Paul Genoa Hits 10 Markets in Radio Media Tour on Small Modular Reactors

This morning Paul Genoa, NEI’s senior director of policy development, completed a tour of 10 radio outlets – including three state networks covering Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee – discussing small reactor technology in the context of the administration’s release of the FY 14 budget tomorrow. The president has supported SMR technology in his budgets each of the past three years. Paul characterized SMRs as an “elegant evolution” relative to large light water reactor technology, one whose development over the next decade will “kickstart an entire industry.”

You'd be right in believing that today in industry there is a good deal of excitement about the frontier of SMR technology, and for good reason.

B&W's mPower SMR.
The four current SMR designs, Paul told his radio audiences, possess “an economy of scaleability,” affording them the versatility to respond to load growth, and are likely to be situated on sites of about 30 acres, or “the size of a relatively small shopping center.” They are being designed in a post 9/11, post-Fukushima environment, with safety advances incorporated from the ground up.

On the radio today Paul was particularly effective I thought in conveying safety messaging. His segments in Virginia (Richmond, Roanoke) aroused discussion of nuclear technology relative to the August 2011 earthquake there, and Paul noted that while that earthquake delivered some significant damage to the Washington Monument, our National Cathedral, and even Union Station, “at the North Anna nuclear plant the earthquake didn’t even damage a lightbulb” on site.

More effective messaging: While America today has seen an erosion of some aspects of its manufacturing leadership, Paul pointed out, it remains a world leader in aerospace, technology, and defense, and the skills and expertise in these realms are directly relatable and transferable to SMR development.

Paul’s radio tour took him to the aforementioned Midwest states as well as the municipalities of Raleigh-Durham, Richmond, Roanoke, Washington, DC, and St. Louis. Paul appeared on two separate stations in St. Louis this morning, and one host there told him on the air that he’d be happy to have an SMR in his backyard!

Paul very effectively evoked third part support for SMR technology, from Energy Secretary Steven Chu to the President’s top climate advisor, James Hansen, to Bill Gates, who is putting his own money into new reactor deisgns. Gates is driven by a vision to address our planet’s more than 2 billion inhabitants who today have no access to clean drinking water or electricity. “The world would be a better place with Gates’ SMR vision deployed,” Paul said over the airwaves. “We can influence the safety and security of the planet with this technology,” added.

Here's a clip of Genoa from this morning appearing on WJMA-FM in Central Virginia.

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