Nuclear Goldilocks: Combatting the Cumulative Effects of Non-Regulation

Bookmark and Share

The U.S. nuclear power industry has been raising concerns about what is being called “the cumulative effects of regulation.” The industry sees NRC regulatory demands as an ever growing burden that it doesn’t believe adds significantly to public safety.

In August 2012, the NRC approved a plan to evaluate the cumulative effects of its regulations on the nuclear industry, with the goal of seeing what regulations should be “modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed” because of their regulatory burden.

Dave Lochbaum wrote a post about this issue at the time in which he concluded:

Whatever burden exists on plant owners from the cumulative effects of regulation, it almost certainly pales in comparison to the burden placed on innocent Americans from the cumulative effects of non-regulation.

Yesterday Dave was part of an NRC panel on “Agency Efforts to Address the Cumulative Effects of Regulation,” at the 26th annual Regulatory Information Conference. He presented a short paper, “Nuclear Goldilocks,” that discusses the importance of looking at both sides of this issue, and not neglecting potential safety issues resulting from a lack of effective regulation by the NRC.


Posted in: Nuclear Power Safety Tags: , ,

About the author: Dr. Wright received his PhD in physics from Cornell University in 1983, and worked for five years as a research physicist. He was an SSRC-MacArthur Foundation Fellow in International Peace and Security in the Center for Science and International Affairs in the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, and a Senior Analyst at the Federation of American Scientists. He is a Fellow of the American Physics Society (APS) and a recipient of APS Joseph A. Burton Forum Award in 2001. He has been at UCS since 1992. Areas of expertise: Space weapons and security, ballistic missile proliferation, ballistic missile defense, U.S. nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons policy. David also blogs on the Equation.

Support from UCS members make work like this possible. Will you join us? Help UCS advance independent science for a healthy environment and a safer world.

  • fireofenergy

    Everybody should know by now that molten fuels type reactor designs are inherently safe. This would entail far less danger to the public and therefore MUST be developed in a manner consistent with the urgency of climate change. Regulation should be focused on its development as well as proper regulation procedure (for the new and better type of reactor design). The meltdown proof closed cycles such as MSR and PRISM would provide humanity with unlimited power without all the wastes from today’s inherently dangerous light water (and similar) designs. Furthermore, These designs should be built “around” the common gas turbines, to completely replace coal baseload and to accomplish load following due to the expected increase of wind and solar without inefficient “cold starting” of required natural gas back up!
    Please write back if you believe you have any valid arguments against this perfectly awesome “solar, wind, NG and closed cycle nuclear option.
    Thank you.