August This essay is derived from a talk at Defcon Suppose you wanted to get rid of economic inequality. There are two ways to do it: But they amount to the same thing, because if you want to give money to the poor, you have to get it from somewhere.
Here is a proposed roadmap for innovation over the next few decades. The future role of nuclear energy is attracting new attention.
But if nuclear energy is indeed to play such a role, the United States seems unlikely to be much of a factor at this point. Once the undisputed global leader, the U. Five operating reactors have recently closed, and several more will be retired in the next few years.
As the rest of the nuclear fleet ages, Power of innovation essay more reactors seem likely to be shuttered over the next couple of decades. The outlook for new reactors is also grim. Four reactors are under construction in the Southeast, and a fifth is being completed after a long delay.
There are no firm plans to build more. Without a more serious federal policy this may be a vain hope, and it is certainly a strategic weakness.
And yet, mostly below the radar, a new wave of nuclear energy innovation is building. More than 30 advanced reactor development projects have been launched since the s.
Most of this activity has been funded privately. But public funding and risk-sharing will also be needed if new nuclear technologies are to be brought to market successfully. Today, though, the federal government has no strategy for nuclear innovation, and there is resistance to developing one on both sides of the political aisle.
Some influential Democratic lawmakers believe that a combination of renewables and increased energy efficiency will be sufficient to achieve global emission reduction goals. Some also fear that the safety and security risks of an increased nuclear commitment would more than offset the climate benefits it would bring.
Among Republicans, many assign far greater importance to reducing government spending than to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Against this picture, I envision a new roadmap for nuclear innovation in the United States. This roadmap identifies three successive waves of advances: New work on all three waves will need to begin immediately.
The roadmap also calls for significant reform of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission NRCa new and unfamiliar role for the national laboratories, and a supporting, rather than directive, role for federal nuclear managers in the Department of Energy, including support for international collaborations in which U.
This nuclear agenda is ambitious, but attainable. It draws on the deep strengths of the U. But implementing this innovation agenda will require a new political coalition capable of neutralizing the longstanding opposition of people for whom the biggest dragons to be slain are nuclear energy or the federal government itself.
A failure to act will undermine U. It will also compromise important national security objectives. Uncertain outlook for innovation The most visible of the new wave of nuclear innovators is TerraPower, an 8-year-old company co-founded by Bill Gates. A similar combination of old ideas and forefront science and engineering also characterizes several new ventures in the field of molten-salt-cooled reactors where TerraPower is also active.
The industry that supplies and operates light-water reactors LWRsthe dominant nuclear reactor technology around the world, has been slower to adopt new technology.
But even here, there are important innovations. NuScale, an early-stage U. Fluor, a major engineering and construction company with decades of experience in nuclear power, is the majority investor in NuScale. Other developers are pursuing different systems, using different kinds of nuclear fuel and coolant.
NuScale was spun out of Oregon State University. And at my own department of nuclear science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology MITone group of faculty and students is developing a new concept for a floating nuclear plant, a second has co-invented and is advancing a new kind of molten-salt-cooled reactor, a third has proposed a new fusion reactor design that it believes has promise of early commercialization, and two new reactor development companies have recently been formed by graduate students.
It is premature at this stage to attempt to identify a winner among all these innovations, or even whether there will be one. What their developers have in common is the conviction that nuclear energy has a key role to play worldwide, but to realize its full potential, a technology that is already much safer than it was when the first LWRs were built a half-century ago will need to be made safer still.
New reactors will also need to be less expensive, easier and faster to build, less vulnerable to security threats, better suited to the needs of developing countries, and more compatible with the rapidly changing characteristics of electric power grids, which are being transformed by the introduction of advanced grid technologies as well as growing amounts of intermittent wind and solar generating capacity.
The federal government, whose role in the nuclear energy field has long been atypically dirigiste, or centrally controlling, has been taken by surprise by these developments and is scrambling to catch up.
In recent years, its support for nuclear innovation has zigzagged from one priority to another. A program to develop improvements to large LWRs was the main priority for a while, but has since been dropped.
Another program to build a prototype high temperature gas-cooled reactor jointly with industry failed to attract sufficient industry interest and has also ended. The government then launched a program to assist in the commercialization of small, modular LWRs, but one of the two horses it backed has since dropped out of the race.Jun 07, · People focus too much on the 1 to n of globalization and not enough on ashio-midori.com to be great, you have to do something new and important.
All great companies solved the 0 to 1 problem in. A variety of timely forces are inspiring a renewed push for nuclear energy. Here is a proposed roadmap for innovation over the next few decades. August (This essay is derived from a talk at Defcon ) Suppose you wanted to get rid of economic inequality.
There are two ways to do it: give money to the poor, or take it away from the rich. Why Power Corrupts New research digs deeper into the social science behind why power brings out the best in some people and the worst in others.
On monopolies, we can again look to trust-busting Progressives and New Deal Democrats for inspiration. Today, decades of laissez-faire antitrust policies have rendered concentration of corporate power as urgent a problem as ever. An essay by Chris Hofstader about the complete lack of innovation in the screen reader field in nearly a decade.
“In the general course of human nature, a power over a man’s subsistence amounts to a power over his will.” —Alexander Hamilton, Federalist 79 Libertarianism is a philosophy of individual freedom. Or so its adherents claim. But with their single-minded defense of the rights of property and. We mostly take the ready availability of electricity for granted, turning off the radio alarm in the morning, switching on the bedside lamp, pouring a cup of coffee from the machine that automatically started brewing it a few minutes before the alarm went off, tuning in to the morning news show on TV. Jun 07, · People focus too much on the 1 to n of globalization and not enough on ashio-midori.com to be great, you have to do something new and important. All great companies solved the 0 to 1 problem in.