- This story reports in very good detail how the South Texas Project appears to be winding down. For a nuclear engineer, this is kind of a sad day. I can't tell you how many hopes and dreams were pinned on the South Texas Project. People actually started building new nuclear reactors, well before the "nuclear renaissance" even became popular. And now it's pretty much toast. I'm sad to see it go.
- And then AREVA kills its plans to develop a manufacturing plant in Newport News, VA, back in May. This was to be a major, major manufacturing hub for a lot of domestic manufacturing capability that was not otherwise available in the domestic US. It would have dovetailed well with the naval shipyard in the area, and with Newport News Shipyard just down the road. That would have been the nuclear manufacturing Trifecta for the world. But, no, it just didn't make sense for Areva to do it.
- Just recently, Areva has announced a $1.95 billion write-down and a severe slow down to its uranium enrichment plant in Eagle Rock, Idaho -- a project near and dear to my heart, but that's water over the dam now.
- Lastly, the scandal erupting at the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission is just awful. The other four NRC Commissioners have taken the unprecedented step of complaining in a letter to the White House Chief of Staff that the NRC Chairman is abusing his powers, abusing staff, and withholding information from the other Commissioners. Even the nuclear industry is chiming in to get the matter taken care of quickly. The House of Representative's Official Report is pretty damning.
If you read the letter that Jaczko sent back to the White House Chief of Staff, it really reads like a megalomaniac trying to plead his case. Throw the bum out. Or at least, put Ostendorff in as the new Chairman.
Anyhow. The above incidents are pretty detrimental to the nuclear industry, that was trying to make a go of it again in the US. And it certainly makes the road a little rougher for the Small Modular Reactor crowd.
Which is unfortunate. SMR's are a promising way to create domestic jobs and power our future.