Alan at Neutron Economy has a nice slant on Paul Romer’s Charter Cities concept. Yes, a charter city could certainly benefit from compact, fast-to-deploy mass manufactured modular reactors. Investors in the new city’s electric infrastructure would find very appealing the concept of growing the capacity by adding modules as demand develops. And the high energy density of nuclear fuel means the new city does not require expensive development of natural gas pipelines or heavy shipping of enormous volumes of coal.
(…) But the idea is not without its problems. We all understand that cities are higher density and can be more eco-friendly because of that, but what about the invisible supply chain for a city? Where are you going to get all the materials, food, electricity, and all other inputs that must come from the land to supply the city? And when we consider the nations that prospered because they had good rules, life got better and people inevitably used far more electricity. Much more. Where will all that additional electricity come from? And how can we possibly get it without destroying more beautiful land like we had to set aside for the city itself? How do we keep a new city from destroying an environment 5 times its size?
Just imagine a dozen charter cities blooming around the world in the next 2 decades. Imagine the millions, maybe billions, of people they could lift out of poverty. Maybe we can even imagine powering these cities by a clean energy source that destroys no more land.
Nuclear Power + Rising Economies = The Way to Go