Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: Can North America’s advanced nuclear reactor companies help save the planet?
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The companies involved in the new nuclear wave say that they will be able to deploy advanced reactors in the 2030s or even, in some cases, the 2020s. “If you can deploy reactors in the 2020s, you are absolutely responding to the policy needs for clean energy within a critical response horizon,” said Simon Irish, chief executive of the advanced reactor company Terrestrial Energy. “The jackpot is awesome: Let’s save the planet,” said Michel Laberge, a plasma physicist who founded the advanced nuclear company General Fusion.
Their sense of urgency is palpable and understandable. Certainly, the energy race is more urgent than the space race, which was a case of one country trying to get to the moon before another. This time, a rising sea doesn’t stop at national borders. But can the passionate advanced nuclear reactor industry actually help forestall the effects of global warming?