Finally! In the face of public anger over growing energy shortages and rising prices, falling real wages, and emptying shelves, there are government policy shifts underway in several nations. Regardless of COP26 lunacy and the socially required, woke “green-washing” of critical new initiatives afoot, some government leaders are being forced to recognize that they must do something real, or face consequences.
At the forefront is the newly re-discovered, existential importance of nuclear energy for nations. The thinking and actions being taken now include 3rd and 4th generation technologies, factory-built modular reactors, and simultaneous steps to cut through bureaucratic regulations deliberately used to stymie nuclear power for decades.
Here in our nation, it is time to kick the US nuclear program back into overdrive, where President Trump had our nation headed in his first term! If it is not done before then, the 2022 elections must kick the train wreck of the Biden collective over the embankment, as we must come through. This US must again lead the world!
- France: In a televised address to the nation on November 9th, President Emmanuel Macron made France the only country which now recognizes that nuclear energy must be the main power source beyond fossil fuels—not wind or solar. He reversed French policy and declared France would now build more nuclear power plants. Tellingly Macron stated, “Our economic situation still needs to be consolidated in a world where tensions over supplies and the costs of raw materials and energy generate shortages and inflation… I know many of you are going through it….” https://world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Macron-says-France-will-construct-new-reactors Seventy-five percent of France’s electricity is currently provided by nuclear power, but under former president Francois Hollande, it was insanely declared that France’s nuclear power capacity would be “capped,” and then reduced to 50%. Macron himself had previously supported this “green” policy, but now that is “yesterday’s news.” Macron is reported to be considering the build of 6-8 additional nuclear power plants. In October, Macron had announced the France 2030 Plan for Re-industrialization, declaring that that France would begin the development and production of modular nuclear reactors, particularly for export. These are vitally needed to provide electricity in underdeveloped countries.
- Japan: For many, this may be more of a surprise. Recall that Japan’s 54 nuclear power plants were shut down in the aftermath of the much-exaggerated Fukushima nuclear incident in 2011. Twenty-one have since been abandoned. But Japan now has a new Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, and his cabinet was sworn in this October. Thirty of Japan’s thirty-three remaining nuclear power plants must be brought back on, states Akira Amari, Secretary General of the ruling Liberal Party. Koichi Hagiuda, the new Minister of Economy, states that it is nuclear power that is “indispensable to ensure stable electricity supply” and meet net-zero carbon targets, ala COP26. Prime Minister Kishida, in his first address to the Diet, declared that the “digitalization” of Japan’s economy requires more electricity, and nuclear energy is now indispensable for Japan’s development, alongside hydrogen energy. Japan currently needs to import 90% of its energy requirements. Japan retains the heavy forging capacity and know-how (at Hitachi-GE) to build advanced nuclear power plants if it so chooses.
- China: With 51 nuclear power plants and 20 under construction, China policy- makers plan 110 nuclear power plants by 2030 and entertained the build of 550 nuclear power plants by 2050. https://world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-a-f/china-nuclear-power.aspx. China now can build the heavy forgings for more than ten 1+ gigawatt (1000 megawatts plus) reactors a year and is building out the capacity to produce heavy forging capacity for 20 nuclear power plants a year. https://world-nuclear.org/information-library/nuclear-fuel-cycle/nuclear-power-reactors/heavy-manufacturing-of-power-plants.aspx Coal: China’s energy blackouts in October have caused Premier Li Keqiang to also – again – prioritize coal production and new coal-fired plants. Wind and solar won’t do it. While the West has been shutting down coal, China added some 38 gigawatts of coal fired capacity in 2020, and about 40 gigawatts in 2019. COP26 virtue-signaling aside, China will not give up on coal, and is advancing its nuclear reactor program. China’s scientists and engineers have brought online advanced, 4th generation, pebble bed and thorium-fueled experimental reactors.
- “United” Kingdom: Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s failing government, in the face of dire energy shortages and the failure of North Sea wind power to deliver, has been forced to announce that nuclear energy will now be “at the heart” of Britain’s efforts to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
There are currently 51 nuclear power plants under construction worldwide, most of them in Asia, but the numbers and global dimensions of construction could rapidly increase, as can already be seen, if and as the financial oligarchy’s Malthusian green/brown fascist policies are overturned, placing sovereign nations once more at the helm of their respective nations and peoples. South Korea and Russia are continuing their nuclear power industry strategies including continued exports, as with China. France, Japan, South Korea, Russia, and China all have the robust, heavy forging capacity to produce the pressure vessels and steam generators for advanced light-water nuclear reactors, both for domestic builds and for export.
Here At Home
What can we surmise? The US must Build Nuclear and Build Big! This while we take the lid off domestic natural gas and oil, and coal capital investment and production. We are headed into a potential “winter of discontent,” with fuel oil prices up 59% for this year, and 12.3% in the last month. Natural gas prices have tripled, and coal is in short supply with growing export demand. All of this is the consequence of British monetarist “green” deindustrialization and the Biden collective’s Green New Deal.
The United States built the TVA, Hoover, and Grand Coulee Dams in the 1930s, and we can build our own way out again today. Build For Tomorrow! For example, our own forging companies declare that the US can – again – build the heavy forging capacity which it currently lacks. Owners of these leading heavy manufacturing firms state that the only thing they require is a sustained demand to make the capital investment required again feasible. A national program to meet our real energy crisis in electricity with a national nuclear power plant construction plan would create such a sustained demand.
The Trump Presidency began that process of rebuilding leading US nuclear capacities. The Trump administration saved the two Vogtle (pronounced Vo-gull) nuclear power plants under construction in Georgia, the first US nuclear plants built in three decades! Plants 3 and 4 are nearing completion now, with Plant 3 receiving its first fuel and Plant 4 not far behind. However, virtually every single major component of the plants had to be imported. With 7,000 workers and management on the site, many trained up to nuclear construction methods and skills for the first time, this cadre is now our potential core, with which to jump-start the rebuild our nation’s entire nuclear industry
Modular Nuclear Reactors Go Global
The Trump Presidency and Energy Secretary Rick Perry also drove forward the development of factory-built, scalable, small modular reactor (SMR) efforts. NuScale became the first modular reactor to receive SMR design approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Dozens of companies are now engaged in SMR development, including X-energy, TerraPower, General Atomic, and BWX Technologies. SMR’s are a breakthrough element in any worldwide nuclear resurgence, with flexibility to generate electricity, pump water heating systems and carry out desalination.
There are major developments on this front. In the United Kingdom, the Rolls Royce Consortium officially announced Nov 8th the establishment of its Rolls-Royce Small Modular Reactor business, that will utilize “factory-built” components. What makes it possible is a £210 million grant through the UK prime minister’s “Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.” As already referenced, France committed itself in October to build modular reactors (SMR’s) for export, as part of French “reindustrialization.” Rosatom of Russia has deployed an SMR on a barge to power the city of Yakutia, 280 miles south of the Arctic. Rosatom is developing their technology for export. China is building its own floating state funded SMR design. South Korea has licensed the SMART SMR being built by the KAERI. Japan, Argentina, Canada, Denmark, Indonesia, and Sweden are other countries reported to be now constructing their first SMR’s or in the design stage, utilizing a variety of approaches.
The Trump administration’s 2019 Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization ACT (NEIMA) directed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to develop licensing processes which enable the timely development of advanced nuclear reactors. That process is proceeding and can be advanced further, to hasten the process. However, capital investment, prompted at the national level, is also critical, and that means a fundamental change in direction
It is past time to kick the US nuclear program back into overdrive, where President Trump had our nation headed in his first term. If it is not done before, it must be the 2022 elections that kick the train wreck of the Biden collective completely off the tracks, as we are coming through. This can be done with a committed and informed citizenry. This US can and must again lead the world!