2 January 2017

Can North America’s advanced nuclear reactor companies help save the planet?

Elisabeth Eaves

Before joining the Bulletin as columns editor in 2013, Eaves was a columnist at the tablet newspaper The Daily, where she also launched and edited the opinions page. From 2006 to 2010 she...

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The advanced nuclear reactor industry in North America includes more than 50 companies and labs, which collectively have attracted some $1.3 billion in private capital, as well as government grants and other assistance. Proponents of advanced nuclear reactors say that they are essential to help humans stop heating the planet with carbon dioxide emissions, and that they can do so without the safety, security, and cost concerns posed by older nuclear technology. Detractors say the advanced nuclear industry will never take off, and particularly not without government action that puts a price on carbon dioxide emissions, helping low- and no-carbon energy sources compete economically with fossil fuels. The author interviews company leaders, academics, scientists, and regulators to determine which companies are most likely to succeed.