U.S. nuclear regulators do not recognize real danger of dirty bombs, watchdog says. Besides killing people with radiation, a dirty bomb would spread panic, prompt evacuations, require cleanup and undermine the economy, says a new report.
NBC News 4th April 2019 read more »
GAO 4th April 2019 read more »
The flagship of the Trump administration’s advanced nuclear power research program could cost about 40 percent more than a government official estimated earlier this year, a U.S. Department of Energy document shows. Energy Secretary Rick Perry has tried to breathe life into the country’s nuclear power industry, which is suffering in the face of competition from plants burning cheap natural gas as well as falling costs for wind and solar power. Perry announced the versatile test reactor, or VTR, in late February, saying it was a “key step to implementing President (Donald) Trump’s direction to revitalize and expand the U.S. nuclear industry,” and critical for national security. The VTR would let U.S. companies conduct advanced technology and fuels tests without having to go to competitors in Russia and China, Perry said. Meant to be built by late 2025, it would be the first new nuclear test reactor built by the Energy Department, or DOE, in many decades. Perry did not put a price on the reactor, which would be led by the department’s Idaho National Laboratory. But an internal DOE document dated Jan. 22, obtained by public policy group the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) through a freedom of information request, puts the estimated cost for construction and starting the VTR at $3.9 billion to $6 billion. The document, seen by Reuters on Thursday, had not been reported previously. The high end of that range is about 40 percent more than an estimate by Kemal Pasamehmetoglu, the head of the Idaho National Laboratory’s VTR program, who was quoted in the Morning Consult news outlet in February saying it would cost up to $3.5 billion in today’s dollars. The calculation of the jump in the cost is affected by the Energy Department’s estimate which included cost escalations of up to 3.8 percent annually.
Reuters 4th April 2019 read more »