Testimony on Small Nuclear Reactors

June 7, 2011
David Wright
Former contributor

Ed Lyman testified to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources this morning as part of a hearing on two bills related to nuclear power.

The first, The Nuclear Power 2021 Act (S. 512), would support the development and licensing of small modular reactors. The second, The Nuclear Energy Research Initiative Improvement Act of 2011 (S. 1067), would direct the Secretary of Energy to conduct a research program to determine how to reduce nuclear power plant construction costs.

In his testimony Ed explains why small modular reactors at best offer only modest advantages over larger reactors, and unless they are carefully designed, licensed, deployed, and inspected, they could pose greater safety, security, and proliferation risks. He also argues that any research on cutting construction costs also should investigate how to increase reactor safety and security.

Panel 1:

  • John E. Kelly, deputy assistant secretary for nuclear reactor technologies, Department of Energy
  • Steven G. Chalk, deputy assistant secretary, Department of Energy

Panel 2:

  • Edwin Lyman, senior scientist, Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Joe Colvin, president, American Nuclear Society
  • James T. Bartis, senior policy researcher, RAND Corporation
  • Brian Siu, policy analyst, Natural Resources Defense Council