How can U.S. best promote nuclear?

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) has an Ideas piece in Politico today plugging nuclear power; he runs through the standard arguments in favor (I generally agree) and then identifies two catalysts for the nuclear revolution: the NRC issuing "the first new license for a reactor before the end of 2011," and Obama's unambiguous support.

Inhofe was a long-time climate change skeptic who recently made a surprising U-turn; I find nothing objectionable in what he proposes here. Reducing regulatory uncertainty is certainly a necessary condition for such massive investments. And Obama hasn't exactly been leading the environmental charge lately.

What I'd add is that Inhofe's suggestions are necessary, but not sufficient. Jay Yarow points out that nuclear plants are expensive (not to mention the dicey project economics and poor financial state of nuclear manufacturers). And new technologies (whether reprocessing waste or new reactor designs) hold much promise on both the economics and waste issues. I believe it's only with a combined push on all five of these fronts - political leadership, regulation, economics, reactor technology, and waste disposal - that the U.S. can bring the nuclear revolution from rhetoric to reality.

Update: Especially the economics.

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