A Better Reactor

Alexis reads up on advances in nuclear power:

With the Fukushima plant's problems putting safety back at the forefront of Americans' minds, these new reactors could be the only real way forward for nuclear power, if the globe's citizens decide they want that future. Many engineers think they're safer. For example, they incorporate "passive" safety features instead of the active pumping systems that failed at Fukushima.

As importantly, some new reactor designs are made to be smaller than the one-gigawatt behemoths we built for decades. That could assuage some critics' contention that nuclear power exacerbates the centralization of an energy system that's already too centralized. Because they're smaller and may be safer, the plants may cost less too. That's important considering that a new standard reactor may cost up to $10 billion, which is more than the market value of all but a handful of the largest utilities.