In reaction to this post on the energy bill, astute reader markymark says:
One the issues that struck me with Duke Energy (and the US) is this: every single reactor was custom built.This buttresses my point that we've been incredibly lax in developing upgraded nuclear systems and pursuing ways to produce energy on our own. No new plants in 30 years, with the last license granted in 1995 (see graph).
In France there are two basic designs. Thats it. As an engineer I can walk into any French facility and understand the safety system layout within 10 mins. In the US: 2-3 weeks. In some cases 2 months.
Their entire nuclear energy system is close to a perfect model. Even their use of breeder reactors to process spent fuel rods is 10+ yrs ahead of anything used in the US.
France is way ahead of us as they derive over 75% of their electricity from nuclear energy, while we come in at around 20%. This is one time where I think we should use France as a model.
The federal government, in addressing a national problem, should at the least be encouraging uprates of existing plants - a much more cost-effective and immediate boost to energy production, according to the Energy Information Administration.
This article talks about these issues and sees a possible resurgence of nuclear power on the horizon.