[ RadSafe ] Too much regulation? ( Was something about Academic Pursuits)

Thompson, Dewey L DThompson3 at ameren.com
Tue Mar 22 07:55:38 CDT 2011

All right, I'll bite.  I think you got it wrong Howie.

The impediment to new nuclear power is NOT regulation.  It's economics.

The cost to build a new Nuc means that in most cases you are "betting the company" simply to buy it, never mind the risk exposure to the company if the operators break it.  We could likely have a discussion that TMI didn't really affect the public, and therefore was a vindication of the safe design.  Anyone want to argue that TMI wasn't a really-really bad business outcome?  

I think most of us right now would agree that the effect upon the public from the Fukushima accident is unacceptable.  Anyone want to argue the fact that this won't be a really-really bad business outcome?  

The energy policy act of 2005 said basically "You build a new nuke, we will give you a billion dollars".  And the economic issues STILL made a couple of the mid sized utilities blink when it came down to "put up or shut up" time.   They shut up and did not pursue a construction/operation license.  There will be some of the big boys get their billion by building a new unit, but most utilities simply can't afford it.  

My point?  Most members on a board of directors are loathe to bet the company on a single asset.  

As to the over regulatory part, the NRC is chartered to protect the public.  I don't have a problem with that.  Frankly, compared to the business risk issues, the regulations are not that onerous.  (Of course there are specific regulations that are probably not really needed, but those are mostly minor in nature.  And of course some individual regulators can display freakazoid logic at times, but again, it isn't a widespread problem.  

Nuclear plants NEED to be designed, built, and operated at a higher standard than is seen in much of industry.  The public demands it, of course, and the regulators primary charter is NOT the business interest.  And if you protect the business interests, the public won't have a worry.

T 314.225.1061
F 573.676.4484
E DThompson3 at ameren.com

so excessive regulation impedes nuclear energy
(see Rockwell, Creating the New world).

Why not discuss on Radsafe how much regulation is good (or bad) 
just like how much radiation itself is good (or bad)?

Howard Long

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