Hope, Hype, Hubris and Deep Decarbonisation Feat: Nick Touran

Nick Touran is a Ph.D. nuclear engineer and advanced reactor designer who runs the science education website Advanced and Small Modular Reactors have become the only politically safe nuclear power that western politicians are willing to touch with a 10 foot pole. Meanwhile existing plants doing much of the heavy lifting of decarbonisation are facing politically motivated premature closures and new builds of existing designs are seen as politically and financially unfeasible. There is a lot of hype around thorium, molten salt reactors, breeders and burners. There are also a lot of unanswered questions these designs will face if and when they are exposed to the challenges of existing in real life. Banking the West’s nuclear future and our climate response on potential paper tigers is a high risk move given the stakes and timeline of climate change.