Red Tape Chokes Path to Next-Gen Nukes
Government must get out of the way of cheap, clean energy sources
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2009 9:05 AM CDT
The inside of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. Yes, the plant is this old.   (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)
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(Newser) – A handful of startups are designing an exciting new generation of modular nuclear reactors that could solve our energy woes, writes legendary tech investor Bob Metcalfe in the Wall Street Journal. Small enough to fit on a kitchen table, they’re cheap and safe and use non-weapons-grade fuel. “As an Internet guy, these reactors seem to me like the microprocessors that took over from huge air-conditioned mainframe computers,” Metcalfe writes.

But when Metcalfe’s venture capital firm took a look at funding these startups, it had to pass. It would have cost each company about $100 million over 5 years to get regulatory approval for the designs. That's one big reason no new reactor has been approved and built in the US in 30 years. We’re stuck with lumbering, old-fashioned plants, “which nobody but the utility companies likes much.”