Today, it makes more sense to put plans for storing military waste on a separate, faster track, since that process is less daunting than coming up with a solution to civilian waste. One promising scheme to keep fissile material out of the hands of would-be proliferators involves returning nuclear waste to the fuel-supplying country (or a third country). If the benefits of nuclear power are to be realized in the United States, each of these hurdles must be overcome. Hydropower, meanwhile, has very limited prospects for expansion in the United States because of environmental concerns and the small number of potential sites. [21][22] During his career, Moniz has served on the advisory boards for BP, one of the largest oil and gas companies, and General Electric. And assuming a defense waste repository were established first, the experience gained operating it would be highly valuable when it comes time to establish a civilian one. He began serving in June 2017. In an attempt to realize economies of scale, some utilities have turned to building even larger reactors, building ones that produce as much as 1,600 megawatts, instead of the typical 1,000 megawatts. This is a time- consuming process for any new nuclear technology, and it will be especially so for those SMR designs that represent significant departures from the NRC’s experience. Ernest Jeffrey Moniz, GCIH[1] (/moʊniːz/;[2] born December 22, 1944) is an American nuclear physicist and government official. The country must also replace its broken nuclear waste management system with a more adaptive one that safely disposes of waste and stores it for centuries. “Ernest Moniz's ‘all of the above’ energy policies might be good for his friends in the coal, oil, and gas industries, but they're a death sentence for us and our planet,” the website reads. Putting together a coherent waste management program would give the United States a leg to stand on when it comes to setting up a proliferation-resistant international fuel-cycle program. But now, it looks as though it will be many years before a large-scale repository opens. No SMR design has yet been licensed by the NRC. Some observers are also concerned that the spread of civilian nuclear energy infrastructure could lead to the proliferation of nuclear weapons—a problem exemplified by Iran’s uranium-enrichment program. When it comes to safety, the design requirements for nuclear reactors must be reexamined in light of up-to-date analyses of plausible accidents. [11], Moniz worked in the United States Department of Energy, serving as Under Secretary of Energy from 1997 to 2001. It issued other recommendations addressing issues such as the removal of combustible gas and the monitoring of spent-fuel storage pools. But each is needed to reduce uncertainty for the public, the energy companies, and investors. Former Obama administration Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz now heads the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), a group… The additional cooling time would provide the Department of Energy, or some other organization, with more flexibility in designing a geological repository. Join Professor Ernest Moniz, former Secretary of Energy, Dan Poneman, Former Deputy Secretary of Energy, and Professor Meghan O’Sullivan, Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School for a discussion on whether it is possible to expand the use of carbon-free nuclear power to combat global warming without unleashing the terrors of Some countries reversed their phaseouts of nuclear power, some extended the lifetimes of existing reactors, and many developed plans for new ones. Low natural gas prices, mostly the result of newly accessible shale gas, have brightened the prospects that efficient gas-burning power plants could cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants relatively quickly by displacing old, inefficient coal plants, but the historical volatility of natural gas prices has made utility companies wary of putting all their eggs in that basket. Ernest Moniz, Secretary of Energy, Renewable Energy, Breakthrough, Solyndra, Nuclear Power, Energy Efficiency Author: Ernest J. Moniz | Jan. 11, 2018 Transcript of Speech at Center for Strategic and International Studies. The event caused widespread public doubts about the safety of nuclear power to resurface. In order for that to happen, the U.S. government will have to figure out how to incubate early movers while not locking in one technology prematurely. January 11, 2018 Nuclear Threats. The catch, however, is that the economies of manufacturing can be realized and understood only if there is a reliable stream of orders to keep the manufacturing lines busy turning out the same design. It would be a mistake, however, to let Fukushima cause governments to abandon nuclear power and its benefits. Published on October 23, 2017 by Kevin Randolph. The United States already runs a similar program on a smaller scale, having provided fuel, often highly enriched uranium, to about 30 countries for small research reactors. If nuclear energy is to enjoy a sustained renaissance, the challenge of managing nuclear waste for thousands of years must be met. [8][9], After graduating from Stanford, Moniz joined the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1973, serving as head of the Department of Physics from 1991 to 1995 and as director of the Bates Linear Accelerator Center. What is not disputed is that most nuclear waste needs to be isolated deep underground. This made sense at the time, since the planners assumed that Yucca Mountain would be available for storing both types. At the same time, new reactors under construction in Finland and France have gone billions of dollars over budget, casting doubt on the affordability of nuclear power plants. What these countries care about most is an assured supply of reactor fuel and a way to alleviate the burden of waste management. [23] Prior to his appointment as Secretary of Energy, Moniz served as a trustee of the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center in Saudi Arabia. Numerous U.S. energy experts, including former Energy Secretaries Ernest Moniz and Rick Perry, have said that nuclear is key to power grid resiliency and meeting carbon reduction goals. With few exceptions, the needed upgrades are likely to be modest, but such a step would help ensure that the designs of plants reflect up-to-date information. The feasibility of SMRs needs to be demonstrated, and the government will almost certainly need to share some of the risk to get this done. [3] Before his appointment as Secretary of Energy, Moniz served in a variety of advisory capacities, including at BP,[4] General Electric,[5] and the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Secretary Moniz played a crucial role in negotiations toward a comprehensive agreement on the Iranian nuclear program, directly negotiating technical details with the Iranian atomic energy minister Ali Akbar Salehi, an MIT graduate, and reassuring President Obama that concessions important to the Iranians would not pose a major threat. He served as Undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Energy … At the same time, Washington must find an alternative to Yucca Mountain for storing nuclear waste in the long run. He … With the nomination of Ernest Moniz to be the next U.S. secretary of energy, President Barack Obama has selected a man who is not only a booster of nuclear power but a big proponent of fracking, too. At each site, the aging fuel would be monitored, so that any problems that arose could be addressed. He served as U.S. Secretary of Energy from 2013 to 2017. But such an incremental step should not substitute for a comprehensive approach to waste management. This approach has several advantages. In most cases, the amount of additional waste would be small in comparison to what that country is already handling. The waste is now mostly held at power plants in dry cask storage or in spent fuel pools, said Moniz, a nuclear physicist who has run the department since 2013. And because they are factory-assembled, the on-site construction time is shorter. Reproduced for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with permission from Foreign Affairs (Nov/Dec 2011). I appreciate the invitation to join you at CSIS, an extraordinarily effective and respected organization here in Washington and around the world. Wind and solar power are becoming increasingly widespread, but their intermittent and variable supply make them poorly suited for large-scale use in the absence of an affordable way to store electricity. Sweden upgraded its waste disposal program with just such a consensus-based process, and for a dozen years the U.S. Department of Energy has operated a geological repository for trans- uranic waste near Carlsbad, New Mexico, with strong community support. [15] The comprehensive agreement between Iran and the so-called "P5+1" (which includes the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany and a representative from the European Union) was finalized on July 14, 2015, to much fanfare and criticism. The downside, however, is that this process is complex and expensive, and it poses a proliferation risk since plutonium can be used in nuclear weapons. But if the United States takes a hiatus from creating new clean-energy options—be it SMRs, renewable energy, advanced batteries, or carbon capture and sequestration—Americans will look back in ten years with regret. [4], Moniz was born in 1944 in Fall River, Massachusetts, the son of Georgina (Pavão) Moniz and Ernest Perry Moniz, both of whom were Portuguese immigrants from São Miguel Island, Azores. Still, nuclear power faces a number of challenges in terms of safety, construction costs, waste management, and weapons proliferation. Nevertheless, the incident at Fukushima clearly calls for additional regulatory requirements, and the NRC’s recommendations should be put in place as soon as is feasible. Such natural disasters, although infrequent, should have been planned for in the reactor’s design: the Pacific Ring of Fire has seen a dozen earth- quakes in the 8.5 to 9.5 range in the last hundred years, and Japan has the most recorded tsunamis in the world, with waves sometimes reaching 30 meters high. Ernest Moniz, Secretary of Energy, Renewable Energy, Breakthrough, Solyndra, Nuclear Power, Energy Efficiency The assembly-line-like production of SMRs should lower their cost, too. But the movement lost momentum in March, when a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the massive tsunami it triggered devastated Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant. The NRC also proposed regulations that would require nuclear power stations to have systems in place to allow them to remain safe if cut off from outside power and access for up to three days. Former U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest J. Moniz was named co-chair and chief executive officer by the Board of Directors of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) in March 2017. If you haven’t heard of Ernest “Ernie” Moniz, there’s still a good chance you’ve seen a picture of him. All this can make nuclear power plants seem like risky investments, which in turn raises investors’ demands on return and the cost of borrowing money to finance the projects. Only then can the public’s trust be earned. In effect, nuclear fuel could be leased to produce electricity. [17] In 2018, Moniz was hired by the government of Saudi Arabia to serve as member of the global advisory board of the Neom project, a $500 billion planned megacity in the Tabuk Region. Ernest J. Moniz is co-chair and CEO of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a nonprofit, nonpartisan global security organization focused on reducing nuclear and … Again, and we all know nuclear power is 60 percent of our – roughly speaking – zero-carbon generation. “If we have a viable pathway at building nuclear power in smaller bites, the whole financing structure can change and make it much more affordable,” Moniz said. [12] Moniz was one of the founding members of The Cyprus Institute in 2005, where he and other scholars undertook the coordination, research and planning of the project. The President and his first-term Administration have encumbered American energy policy with subsidies, mandates, and micromanagement. Even after Fukushima, Congress and the White House appear to still be committed to this assistance program. The utility company can build up its nuclear power capacity step by step, adding additional reactors as needed, which means that it can generate revenue from electricity sales sooner. ", "Ernest Moniz, Ministro de Energía de EE.UU., nuevo doctor honoris causa por Comillas", "Ernest Moniz confirmed as Energy secretary", "An Iran Nuclear Deal Built on Coffee, All-Nighters and Compromise", "Iran nuclear deal shifts tectonic plates in the Middle East", "Ernest J. Moniz Named New CEO of NTI | NTI News", "Saudi Arabia reveals big tech names as part of NEOM global advisory board", "Who Are Contenders for Biden's Cabinet? In the United States, Congress adopted a prescriptive approach, legislating both a single site, at Yucca Mountain, in Nevada, and a specific schedule for burying spent fuel underground. Nuclear power is not a silver bullet, but it is a partial solution that has proved workable on a large scale. He placed energy science and technology innovation at the center of the global response to It offers nuclear products and services to utilities internationally, including nuclear fuel, service and maintenance, instrumentation, control and design of nuclear power plants. There is an alternative to disposing of transuranic elements: they can be separated from the reactor fuel every few years and then recycled into new nuclear reactor fuel as an additional energy source. Ernest J. Moniz served as the thirteenth United States Secretary of Energy from 2013 to January 2017. [20], Moniz has been criticized by environmentalists for his ties to the oil and gas industries. The government would no longer have to pay utilities for not meeting the mandated schedule, and communities near reactors would be reassured that spent fuel has a place to go. The government should also investigate new approaches to disposal. ", "Who Is Ernest Moniz, Obama's Likely Pick for Energy Secretary? 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