Nuclear's long regulatory march

A U.S. nuclear renaissance faces many hurdles, not the least of which is the government:
On Wednesday, General Electric claimed a significant step toward getting one of its advanced reactor designs, the Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor, approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission — although the model has recently lost most of its customers.
G.E., along with its nuclear reactor partner, Hitachi, said on Wednesday that it was moving ahead. "Over the last five years, we have answered well over 6,000 questions from the N.R.C.," said Daniel L. Roderick, senior vice president of G.E.-Hitachi. "We have all of those answered; we have zero open right now."

But while Exelon, the Chicago-based utility, had planned to build two of G.E.’s new reactors in Victoria County, Tex., the utility dropped the idea last November, at least partly because of delays in design certification. It switched to an older Hitachi design.

Dominion, another large energy provider, still has plans on file for an E.S.B.W.R. in Virginia, but it says it is exploring alternatives.

Detroit Edison is the only company still on record as wanting to build an E.S.B.W.R.
Safety should be the top priority, of course, but bureaucratic inefficiency isn't doing the technology any favors in the race to reduce emissions from the nation's power generation.

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