Laser enrichment — cost breakthrough?

GE seems to have made serious progress toward commercial deployment of laser uranium enrichment. This should be cause for celebration – especially amongst the green community concerned about GHG emissions and climate change. Instead we get the usual “proliferation concerns” from the NY Times et al. See Steve Packard for science-based analysis.

It seems every time there is any development in nuclear technology, the media immediately starts equating it with weapons and assumes that it will be used for such. Not only that, but it also seems that the prevailing belief is that the only way to keep the world safe is to assure the United States does not engage in the new technology, because, if we don’t, well then obviously nobody else will, right?

{read Steve for the analysis}

And I was pleased to see the first comment on Steve’s piece from the knowledgeable DV82XL:

It’s becoming clear that when the phrase “proliferation concerns” is used the it is the proliferation of new power reactors that is the real concern, not proliferation of nuclear weapons. It is crystal-clear that nuclear energy is seen as a market threat to coal and gas interests and they engaged in an all out campaign to convince the public that any new development in nuclear technology must be seen as an existential threat of some kind by leveraging “proliferation concerns” or the specter of radiation induced cancer. The scope of these attacks and the thoroughness in which they are prosecuted speaks to focused intent and deep organization.

Always ask yourself “who benefits?” when you read anti-nuclear FUD like the NYT piece. My guess is that GE will choose to implement their technology outside the US where the regulatory/political framework is more sensible. E.g., China, India, South Korea, or Russia. That is also how I expect Bill Gates’ Terrapower to launch their innovative Gen IV Terrapower reactor.