Carper and Schmid 11 Ross Carper (firstname.lastname@example.org), a writer based in Washington state, is the founding editor of the creative nonfiction project BeyondtheBracelet.com. Sonja Schmid (email@example.com) is an assistant professor in Science and Technology Studies at Virginia Tech. “The Little Reactor That Could?” Issues in Science and Technology, http://www.issues.org/27.4/carper.html
Historically, nuclear energy has beenentangled in one of the most polarizing debates in this country. Promoters and adversaries of nuclear power alike have accused the other side of oversimplification and exaggeration. For today’s industry, reassuring awary public and nervous government regulators thatsmall reactors are completely safemight not be the most promisingstrategy. People may not remember much history, but they usually do remember who let them down before. It would make more sense to admit that nuclear power is an inherently risky technology, with enormous benefits that might justify taking these risks. So instead of framing small reactors as qualitatively different and “passively safe,” why not address the risks involved head-on? This would require that the industry not only invite the public to ask questions, but also that they respond, even—or perhaps especially—when these questions cross preestablished boundaries. Relevant historical experience with small compact reactors in military submarines, for example, should not be off limits, just because information about them has traditionally been classified.