The American government just committed $82 million towards nuclear energy research, unveiled by energy secretary Ernest Moniz. The AP reports:
Moniz said Tuesday that the 93 research projects will help scientists innovate with nuclear technologies that can eventually enter the commercial market. He made the announcement while visiting the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory in eastern Idaho.
“Nuclear energy remains very important,” he said. “It remains by far the biggest source of carbon-free electricity.” […]
Much of the money announced Tuesday is heading for universities, about $36 million for 49 university-led projects. Fifteen universities also will receive nearly $6 million for research reactor and infrastructure improvements.
Moniz gets it, even if clueless greens don’t. The environmental movement can trace its origins back to a deep distrust of nuclear technologies, but for a group of people that profess to care about runaway greenhouse gas emissions more than just about any other problem facing the world today, it has shown a remarkable ability to ignore the most important zero-emissions energy source we have at hand: nuclear power. Any news of new nuclear projects or increased funding for its research and development is, therefore, an eco-friendly development.
But as positive a step as this is, we need to see a lot more money being spent on nuclear R&D. A whole host of new technologies await with the promise of a new generation of reactors that are safer, smaller, more modular, and less wasteful. So while Germany shutters its fleet of reactors as part of an energy transition it promises will help save the planet, here in the U.S. we’re acknowledging nuclear power for what it really is: the world’s green power workhorse.