Why Aren't We Building a Traveling Wave Reactor in the U.S.?

A bipartisan group of twenty senators, including twelve Republicans and eight Democrats, are currently sponsoring the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act. Its stated goals:

“Putting America back in first place on nuclear energy by establishing robust public-private partnerships between our leading research institutions and our best industry innovators. NELA will facilitate the path to market for advanced reactors by allowing the federal government to be an early adopter of commercialized technologies; demonstrating innovative concepts in partnership with the private sector; providing for needed scientific research facilities; breaking down fuel availability barriers when the market cannot; and training the next generation of nuclear scientists who will lead the U.S. to a brighter energy future.”

This is exactly the sort of legislatory breakthrough needed to spur nuclear power innovation in the United States.


Anything we can do to reduce the haphazard stockpiles of depleted fuel we have now seem like a pretty good idea. The current situation is simply waiting for disaster to happen.