Energy

Experts Admit US Nuclear Power Program Way Behind Russia’s

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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Russia’s nuclear power program is rocketing past the U.S., according to experts.

Some of the world’s first floating nuclear power plants are being developed in Russia, and it’s pioneering fast reactors, according to experts. Russia plans to complete an average of one new large reactor per year until at least 2028. Nuclear technology and the services required to run it are a “major Russian policy and economic objective,” according to the World Nuclear Association.

The country’s nuclear bureaucracy works fast, authorizing the construction of new reactors in as little as two years. Getting regulatory approval to build a new reactor from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) can take up to 25 years, while a reactor can be built in 10. It took an incredible 43 years to build America’s newest nuclear reactor due to scandals, red tape and environmental concerns.

Russia is operating 36 nuclear reactors and building another 20 for sale abroad.

Saudi Arabia is planning to purchase 16 nuclear power plants from Russia for $100 billion, despite terrorism concerns. The stated purpose of these reactors is to generate electricity, power desalination plants and reduce domestic oil consumption so Saudi Arabia can sell the oil abroad. The reactors will be built by the Russian government-controlled Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Cooperation.

Other unstable Islamic countries with terrorism problems — including Algeria, Iran, Pakistan and Egypt — are on their way to constructing new nuclear reactors with technical assistance and funding from Russia or China, which is also rapidly developing its nuclear power program.

Meanwhile, the American nuclear industry is being held back and hampered by regulations. The average U.S. nuclear power plant spends about $22 million a year simply complying with government mandates.

As a result, global installed nuclear capacity is expected to grow 60 percent by 2040,  while American capacity will likely only grow by 16 percent over the same time period, according to the International Energy Agency. Of the 59 new nuclear reactors under construction worldwide to help meet increasing demand for electricity, four of them are being built in the America — just enough to compensate for shutting down aging nuclear reactors.

The average age for American nuclear reactors is 35, nearly obsolete by modern design standards and near the end of 40-year operating licenses. Sixteen American nuclear reactors are more than 42 years old, according to government data compiled and mapped by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

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