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Going Nuclear
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National Review Online

January 20, 2011

Carl schockley

Can small reactors rescue the nuclear-power movement?

EXCERPT:

With the arrival of the Tea Party in Washington, a huge rift may be opening up over the future of nuclear power.

On the one hand, the Tea Party and new Republicans are foursquare in favor of energy development. “Pass an All of the Above Energy Policy” was item No. 8 in the Contract from America. “This would include off-shore oil drilling, clean coal, nuclear, renewable, and everything else,” says Ryan Hecker, the Houston attorney who organized the document. “The important thing is to develop domestic resources.”

Yet virtually everyone in the nuclear industry says that it will be impossible to build any new reactors without loan guarantees from the federal government. “We had all the output from our new uranium-enrichment plant in Idaho sold in advance, and we still couldn’t get any investment money without a federal loan guarantee,” says Mike Rencheck, COO of Areva, the French nuclear giant. “That was only a $2 billion facility. You’re never going to be able to build an $8 billion reactor without federal help.”

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It is our attitude toward free thought and free expression that will determine our fate. There must be no limit on the range of temperate discussion, no limits on thought. No subject must be taboo. No censor must preside at our assemblies.

–William O. Douglas, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, 1952
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