Brett Rampal is the director of nuclear and power strategy at Veriten, a Houston-based energy advisory firm. In this episode, Brett, a nuclear engineer, talks about the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s recent approval of NuScale Power’s reactor design, why the agency could soon be overwhelmed by the number of companies trying to get permits for their reactors, the emerging fuel-supply challenges, and why the “biggest opportunity for nuclear in the U.S. might be for thermal output, not electricity.” (Recorded January 25, 2023.)

Episode Transcript

Robert Bryce 0:04
Hi, everyone. Welcome to the power hungry Podcast. I’m Robert Bryce. On this podcast we talk about energy, power, innovation and politics. And I’m pleased to welcome Brett Rand Paul. He is the director of nuclear and power strategy at Veriton, a Houston based consulting firm. Brett, welcome to the power hungry podcast.

Brett Rampal 0:21
Thanks so much, Robert. A pleasure to be here. Now, we’re

Robert Bryce 0:24
newly acquainted, we met each other in person just a few months ago, in fact, in Houston at a Veriton event. We’ve known of each other I think for a while but as I warned you before we started recording guests on this podcast introduce themselves. So imagine you have about 60 seconds you’ve arrived somewhere and people don’t there don’t know you, please introduce yourself.

Brett Rampal 0:43
Sure. Absolutely. You know, so as you said before, I currently serve as the director of nuclear and power strategies for VeriSign prior to that, I spent about 1015 years in the established nuclear industry, I’ve worked for Westinghouse and General Electric, Hitachi, as well as previously working at New Scale power as a fuel engineer supporting their first of a kind licensing engagement. last five years prior to working at Veriton, where I just started last year, I worked at a climate and energy focus, environmental NGO called the Clean Air Task Force. And I helped lead their nuclear focus area. And now in addition to working for Veriton, I consult for deep borehole waste nuclear waste disposal company called Deep isolation. I also serve as a technical analyst for Sagra Capital Management, and do some consulting for the American Nuclear Society. So I’m a I’m a nuclear guy through and through, but trying to get out of out of my old sort of stomping grounds. And that’s how I met my wonderful friends in Houston.

Robert Bryce 1:52
Got it? Well, there’s plenty to talk about, and you have a long resume. Let’s talk about what the latest development here, which just has happened in the last few days, which is the NRC, giving design approval to new scales reactor, which I think is a remarkable, remarkable point in the history of nuclear in the US. I mean, I’m not going to overstate this, but this is a landmark decision, the first SMR. But here’s the part that I and I did a short video on this, because to me, yes, it’s great. And it’s super that we’re getting some traction on SMRs. But it took six years for the NRC to make it to approve this, even though the design of new scales reactor is almost identical to what the existing fleet, and they had to submit 2 million pages of documents, and it costs them $500 million in payments to the NRC. I mean, this is it boggles the mind how long this has taken how much it has cost. So can you am I often thinking that this is great, but what how do you read it?

Brett Rampal 2:53
Well, you know, you know, it’s certainly, you know, a milestone and I, you know, this, the design certification application that led to this approval design approval, this rule that was just issued, that’s what I worked on, when I was at New Scale. And we you know, I participated in that submittal in 2017. Now, yes, this took a long time, but also there were a lot of other factors at play here. You know, of course, as they said, This is the first design certification for a small modular reactor. You know, this design certification pathway is a great sort of opportunity for reducing regulatory burden. But we’ve had a lot of certified designs or several certified designs in this country. And that hasn’t necessarily led into deployment. So many knew that when you’re going into certification, it’s it’s, you know, it’s it’s a similar analogous, it’s an art, you know, it’s an opportunity to reduce your eventual licensing burden. But it can or it does have years on the road before you get there and everything. So yeah, this is definitely something we want to see happening more quickly. But also, we got to remember that the design that was certified for new scale is actually not the design they’re going to deploy, they’re actually going to deploy a larger upgraded version of this technology. And so to me, the more impactful or really cool news for new scale, actually, this month, not this rule that came out it would be when new scale submitted our earlier this month to the NRC, their standard design application for that larger upgraded reactor, the 77 megawatt one and that reactor is going to form the basis for the carbon free power project, which their first customers you amps want to deploy. So what that standard design application is just building on this DCA that this certified design that they just got so it’s they took the 50 they did the legwork there. And now they’re building upon it well,

Robert Bryce 5:03
okay, so I’m sorry, I need to interrupt. DCA Forgive me, what does that mean? So I

Brett Rampal 5:08
apologize, that’s design design certification application. Okay, that’s what they did six years ago, that kind of led to where we were earlier this month with this rule. Now, the review of that application did not take six years it took, I think it’s something like 44 or 48 months and everything, which of course, still a long time, I’m not defending the NRC. That’s a long time. But the NRC and new scale, were also aware at that time that this certification was going to be something they were going to build upon. So the NRC was not in being pushed by a customer or in a rush to issue this rule.

Robert Bryce 5:47
Okay. And also, and also, just to be clear, then, so the the design certification application that was for the 50 megawatt electric output reactor, but what you’re saying is that new scale is actually not they’re not going to deploy the 50 megawatt version, they’re going to go with a larger version, that’s 77 megawatts,

Brett Rampal 6:05
correct. And this new the state this, this new regulatory engagement that they began this month with the NRC, this SDA the standard design application, is allows them to build on an already approved design, essentially, their 50 megawatt one upgraded in, you know, reduce their regulatory burden in getting this new design. recertify essentially the same design, but just the higher, you know, power rating and everything, and also allows them a little bit more flexibility in terms of the site for these reactors. Because originally their license or excuse me, their certification application, assumed a 12 reactor pool and only that size will the new SDA I believe, assumes a four six or a 12 reactor pool size, larger reactor outputs. So it offers a different sort of product for this first project, this carbon free power project to come online in 2029. But again, it’s a it’s a step wise, iterative regulatory engagement. But really, honestly, that is all driven by the languished regulatory, right? If they if we had had more of this going on for the last several decades, than we would have the new scale wouldn’t have the burden and it wouldn’t have taken as long for them to engage with the NRC. But this rule is great for new scale. It’s great for other folks that want to build upon this rule as well. Perhaps use portions of it use methodologies in their applications. And so that’s the way we’ll hopefully see this all kind of speed up in the next couple of years.

Robert Bryce 7:46
And fair enough, but but the things that troubled me here are that this took so long, right one that the NRC would take six years all in right. And I take your point about it. Well, it’s only maybe four. Okay. But still, from an end, I did a short video on this. And I said it was 500 million. And Matt Wald, who is now working with breakthrough Institute said, well, actually, it was a billion dollars that it was 500 million, that new scale had to pay to the NRC to get them to do all their work. And there was another 500 million that new scale had to sit spent internally. So that in fact, it was the total tab for them, just to get their design approved was a billion dollars.

Brett Rampal 8:26
And and that includes, you know, over $200 million in federal support funding that was included in that process.

Robert Bryce 8:36
And then and then 2 million pages. I mean, it’s what can you possibly, I mean, that number more than even the others to me stands out in thinking, well, Bjorn Lomborg had a point the other day he was talking about the Millennium Development Goals, I think that the UN had in there 169 of them are some of the 170 and he said well if you have 170 of them it’s it’s useless. You know, you can have five you might have 10 but 100 and said you know, there’s no way you can pay attention to all of those right? 2 million pages what isn’t what you worked at New Scale, what in the name of Jesus Mary and Joseph is in 2 million pages of documents and how could any regulator ever get around 2 million pages of what is in there?

Brett Rampal 9:18
Well, I mean, it’s it’s basically what they put in there in this in this DCA and this certification application these these millions of pages. It might I don’t think it’s 2 million pages I think was more like 12,000 pages. It might have been 2 million man hours

Robert Bryce 9:33
No, no, no, no, I read 2 million pages I’m certain of it.

Brett Rampal 9:37
To my to my original recollection, the original DCA things might have spiraled and gone more but the original DCA was a submittal of around 12,000 pages or the original, you know six years ago. Yeah, probably tons more paper interaction between there. That’s only the submittal so that does not include all the pages 1000s of pages that Myself and other colleagues produced internally at New Scale, you know, in everything. So yeah, what they looked at was 12,000 pages originally, and even in that, and, you know, the work that new scale did was great, the engineers that I worked with, you know, all stellar, you know, very, very talented nuclear engineers embracing, you know, the principles of nuclear culture. You know, the NRC found issues in that application. And there were there are actually open items in this rule that a license applicant, a future license applicant would have to resolve, but I believe and thankfully, reducing that burden for a license application applicant, I believe new scale is pursuing resolution of those issues in this larger SDI, the upgraded version for this new, larger reactor that they’re doing right now. But yeah, I mean, it’s the entire safety case for a new reactor technology. And I, you know, you’re not to say it, it’s not necessarily new, right, because it’s a light water reactor technology. We have light water reactors around the world operating everywhere and every and all that and everything. I totally agree with that. But you know, when you shrink this thing down, and you want to do an integral module, and you want to put everything that we used to have a lot more space above these reactors for you want to have it all in a line and a smaller sort of configuration that does introduce new operational intricacies new regulatory intricacies. How does so that’s a lot of what was in there. Now, again,

Robert Bryce 11:46
so good. Okay, so let me let me stop. Yeah, just found. Here’s the Washington Post. They reported five days ago, the first small modular reactor design application package included over 2 million pages of supporting materials, according to Hughes, Hughes was the press person at New Scale, this was the source of it. And the yes, the 12,000 page application, but 2 million pages. I mean, you know, I was thinking about this before I did the video, I was thinking, Okay, what’s the fattest book I have? And then how tall would that be? And then, but it just seems absurd. On a certain level, though, Brett, that? It would it will 12,000 pages a lot to write, you know, I mean, this. Here’s my latest book, this is 300 pages, right? 12,000. I mean, how many, you know, but but the point there that just to revisit this, this is a light water design, this is just a smaller version. And I take your point that, yes, there are technical issues that have to be resolved because of the way the plant is configured. But still, the basic chemistry of this plant is no different than the fleet of 99 reactors, or however many reactors we have in existence today. So I guess the big the big, the big question, it seems to me that that is really the the hinge around which US nuclear future is going to unfold? is can the NRC be a reliable regulator to make this happen on anything like a realistic timescale? I think that’s the key question, is that my off?

Brett Rampal 13:14
You’re right, you’re you hit the key question. It’s going to be a challenge. But I, you know, I, I used to support those existing reactors that we were just talking about, you know, the light water reactor fleet, the 92, I think it’s 92 might be 93. I’m sorry, you know, with Palisades J 92. You know, commercial reactors currently generating 19% of the US electricity around this country and everything. And just to reload, one of those things, take out the fuel, put in the new fuel, do the outage, all that stuff, is hundreds of 1000s of pages of supporting documentation to the NRC every 18 months, done on a basis where I would walk into the office for my plant and be like, I know what the answers to these analyses are going to be, we would guess, and gamble to the decimal point on who could get it right, who, you know, three significant figures who’s gonna get it down to that, you know, because that’s how, you know, in a lot of ways, repetitive these reload things got. But we still had to do the regulatory engagement, because that was the way the NRC and that’s the way the 5059 process for restarting these the 10 CFR 5059 process for restarting these reactors all work. So yes, the regulatory burden here is large and the NRC is, you know, facing a serious challenge. I believe I saw some of my colleagues from the nuclear Innovation Alliance and breakthrough Institute and some other organizations talking about how and you know, I’ve seen I’ve also looked into these numbers myself, that I believe, by the end of this year, the beginning of next year, the On into the following year, the NRC is going to be looking at 10 Plus individual regulatory engagements, like new scales, design certification that were just NS and standard design application that we’re just discussing right now. And these things are, you know, the, excuse me, the, the licensing applications and regulatory applications for the fuel manufacturing facilities that try so X, the X energy and Terra power endeavors are building. These are the licensing and certification applications for those projects as well, we should see an Oklo ri application this year as well for their, you know, micro reactor project and at the Idaho National Laboratory. So, yes, the NRC is looking down, you know, pardon, you know, this analogy is looking down the barrel of a large, large, you know, pipeline of regulatory engagements. And in a lot of ways, they themselves have been saying for years, we need more resources, we’re not the best prepared for this, you know, they’re a government agency. So they’re gonna tote the tune as much as they can. We’re capable of being an independent regulator. We’re capable of doing our job. And they do a great job of interrogating safety cases, as we say, but they they need they the processes, their structures, they just had to go through a whole education program to get ready for advanced reactors and everything in that education program is ongoing. So yes, there are challenges at the NRC. The NRC, in many cases, recognizes some of those challenges, but does not recognize the other challenges, and in some ways is shooting themselves in their own foot.

Robert Bryce 16:51
Well, let me let me I’m gonna come back to that. But I’m just I want to know you introduce yourself. And I just want to make sure that I understand a little bit better who you are, if you don’t mind. So I saw you. You got your undergraduate degree and your graduate degree Master’s in nuclear engineering from University of Florida and I see your Florida pillows on your couch there behind you Go Gators. You’re required to do that. Why nuclear? Why did you get into nuclear? And are you tell me about your Are you from Florida? You’re a native Florida guy.

Brett Rampal 17:21
Yeah, no, I was. I was born and raised in South Florida. I actually went to that Parkland High School where they had the unfortunate shooting a few years ago and everything. The but that high school that I went to was when I was there, the number one public school in Florida, and it was a stem powerhouse. We had, you know, that lots of schools. You know, I knew of growing up other high schools I would visit would have all the banners of their football and soccer and basketball teams in the gym, while we had banners for our math team and this to you know, you know, state national championships and all that stuff and everything. So a very sort of STEM oriented, you know, high school education. My father is an immigrant. He’s from India. He’s a doctor, by training and everything. But he always was more interested in science and math. And his father, you know, pushed him into medical, because that’s where that’s what he, you know, his background was. And so science and math was always really big in my house. Growing up, I knew I always wanted to do something science and math related and engineering became more and more of that thing when I was in high school and moving into college and everything. But I had no idea. And I went to University of Florida, because, you know, we couldn’t afford a lot of great colleges around there.

Robert Bryce 18:50
I couldn’t get an rip show at Parkland was there. I mean, the way you’re talking about it’s like how animated you are when you talk about it. Was there a teacher at Parkland, who said, Hey, Brett, and you took you aside and said, hey, you need to do this? Or was this? You said your family was already oriented that way? But was there someone who said go nuclear is someone that took you aside and said, Hey, man, you got potential here go this way? No,

Brett Rampal 19:11
it was really, you know, like, I mean, I think probably even before I came to high school, and my first, you know, math classes and everything, and my teachers and physics classes, were like, Oh, that kid looks like he’s going to be an engineer already. You know, I was the, the kid that my parents used to scream at, because I would take apart the television, in the house and everything, how it worked, or I would be wandering around on trash day and seeing what electronics people would be throwing out so I could take them home in my Radio Flyer wagon and take them apart in the garage and every you know, the the cockroach infestations I’ll share I’ll spare you the stories. My mother, you know, was crazy, you know, but a nuclear was not really anything that I had been around or been exposed to. If you did well enough on your SATs at in growing up, when I grew up in South Florida, you got a free ride to a public, Florida School and the University of Florida at that time was a spectacular public engineering institute and had to top 10 engineers in the in the country engineering programs. One was materials, and one was nuclear. And my older brother, who was two years old, you know, was already at the university had already started materials, and you needed two semesters of chemistry for nuclear and seven semesters of chemistry for materials and I hated chemistry. And the nuclear building was three steps closer to the football stadium. So those were literally I was looking in preview and flipping through the book. And that’s how we I decided and my mother was like, so angry. She’s like, you can’t decide your major this way. How can you do this? And it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Robert Bryce 21:02
So if so there wasn’t we’ll start with you’re an accidental some ways accidental nuclear engineer. And so But now, when you think about back, and I’m just curious, because, you know, I’m fascinated been pro nuclear for a long time. If we’re serious about reducing emissions, there’s no other way forward at scale than nuclear, if we’re serious about, you know, preserving the natural environment, reducing material intensity, there’s no other way forward than nuclear is so obvious, even Ray Charles could see it. But how do you see the broadly when you think about nuclear now, given your experience, you’ve been in the in the business in the industry for a long time now, you’ve been in power plants and seen it from the industry side? And you’re talking about policy regulation? How do you see the big picture? What if I said to you will, why nuclear? Why now, how would you answer that?

Brett Rampal 21:51
Well, I think, you know, one of the broadest big picture, amazing factors about nuclear right now that I think I can point to, is, you know, it’s, it’s inclusive, right, and every or, you know, the commute the sort of inclusivity that it’s getting, right now. Now, for decades. For years, you know, advocates have been asking for an even playing field not even asking for, you know, hey, we want the same leg up that others got when they were trying to deploy at the bottom of the learning curve, and trying to, you know, really, really get that repetitive economic advantage and everything. We nuclear industry, in many ways, was not saying that they were saying, just just stop bootstrapping us. And let’s all get to the same level at playing fields. And in a lot of ways, the inflation Reduction Act, the infrastructure and Jobs Act, I think I’ve forgotten a letter there. sigh ja, that’s an investment was the other jobs act, these bills that came together, along with a bunch of other nuclear legislation that has happened, you know, specific nuclear specific legislation that has happened in several years have really sort of opened the floodgates to pave the way to say, Hey, this is a middle ground issue. This is a bipartisan issue. This is an issue that should be included in the broader discussion on clean energy on, you know, our energy goals, and it shouldn’t be treated as a pariah because as you said, we you know, any, any analysis, any modeling, anything we look at, says we need it now, are we so

Robert Bryce 23:37
let me ask you about that. Because, look, I can tell you’re passionate, and I interrupt my guests a lot. And I can keep going. But when you talk about inclusivity I mean, where you frame that was in the context of US politics. Right, and that there has been more Democratic support for nuclear finally, thankfully. Right. But I was thinking, you know, as you said, the word inclusivity, I was thinking you might take a more global view, because this is one of the things that in Washington at the IAEA meeting, we interviewed the Director General of the IAEA, Raphael Grossie. And he talked about this, that there’s been a bit of a change now that that view that nuclear should be for everyone, not just the wealthy countries, and so we

Brett Rampal 24:19
need to you beat me to it, you’d be I mean, immediately following the IRA passage in this country, Canada started considering similar tax incentives and support for their future nuclear technologies and everything they’re right prior to the IRA, the European Union and European states spent longer than 12 months arguing over its clean, green bond investment framework called Green taxonomy, and the largest sticking points where they are where the inclusion of natural gas and nuclear interact framework which resulted positively For both of those things, now for both of these technologies,

Robert Bryce 25:04
right, so, so that’s the US, that’s Europe, but then I would also think that the I mean, your your your family comes from India that the Indians are pushing very, very fast on on nuclear, Pakistan, Bangladesh, you know, you know, all the, it just seems that there will I’ll ask it this way, just how is it different this time? Is it is it different is the nuclear renaissance and the nuclear comeback? And is it different now, and if so, why?

Brett Rampal 25:28
I want it to be different, and it feels different. But to me, it’s, it’s any of these Renaissance, any of these opportunities. I’ve never been about the technology or about sort of, you know, the larger social Zeitgeist or even in a lot of ways about the regulatory environment. It’s been about the business models and the deployment models. And everything now, looking at some of these recent deployments of nuclear technologies, and you know, don’t get me wrong, I love Vogel, I live in North Carolina, I want to drive down to Georgia, in a couple of months, when that thing’s online and climb the towers and everything like that, you know, I’m very confident I used to work at Westinghouse, I’m very confident that plan is going to work, stellar, really, you know, up to, you know, it’s sort of, you know, operational targets and performance targets, if not exceeding them, and everything. But we cannot have a repeat of that, and the French EPR process, we cannot have a repeat of that.

Robert Bryce 26:32
And the repeat is that it took them 15 years or

Brett Rampal 26:37
but even looking at Vogel and looking at it sisters VC summer, which, you know, God rested soul, unfortunately, you know, there’s a lot more that went into that than just sort of the regulatory or because, you know, there were lawsuits that were poor business practices, there was, you know, design changes, and, you know, in a on the, you know, while you were doing your regulatory engagement and everything. So, we’ve learned a lot from these projects, we’ve learned a lot for him. In many ways. We’ve seen everything you should not do, don’t all of this, if you and it was also the preponderance of the things that they shouldn’t do. That is the issue, right? Of this. Vogel and the VC summer project might have been a lot more successful Signs of the Times of nuclear had they not been burdened with, you know, 57 landmines had it only been 10, or, you know, six of these challenges that they had to unfortunately, step through. But again, that’s what you face when you’re doing a language industry and language challenge. But we love that.

Robert Bryce 27:46
And I think that’s it, you know, that language, that’s a good word languished industry, and that they’re coming back with first of a kind, right? And that you’re going to have problems with first of a kind. And I talked with some of the some of the consultants on Vogel who said, you know, they drove they had these designs that are the, you know, these plans and the rebar was so close together, they couldn’t get the concrete into the form. And I thought, Well, who do you know, how could that possibly be? Right? So there were a lot of mistakes. But, but so just handicap then let’s leave the US aside, and the ERC aside for a few minutes. You look around the world, right? And where do you see nuclear succeeding now? I mean, Abu Dhabi, you’ve got the albaraka plants are coming online, that Koreans that built those plants, the Chinese are going full speed ahead. We’ve had the recent announcement from Samsung about nuclear power chips, which to me is incredibly interesting. And I wrote about that, and my substack. Just recently, look around the world and leave the US out of this. Where do you see nuclear gaining the most traction?

Brett Rampal 28:50
Sure. I think you named a lot of them, you know, China, you know, of course, number one, I think they just announced that they’re going to do 150 plants over the next 10 or 20 years or something like that. And, you know, Eastern Europe is extremely exciting. We’ve seen, you know, the Polish announcements, it’s tender for, you know, new plants, his announcement of splitting the new plant deal between Westinghouse and South Korean vendors. We’ve seen a bunch of announcements from a nation on underwater time circumstances, Ukraine, say talking about its expansion of nuclear and it’s wanting to build more nuclear power plants and relying on potentially Western vendors for that. But then also, if you look at a lot of these other projects that are happening are being discussed around the world. They’re unfortunately being vented or supported through procurement by Russia or China. You know, some of these actors that we don’t necessarily want to be the largest exporters are Developers of global nuclear technology so I’m really, really excited by, you know, hey, an opportunity for, say Westinghouse or the South Koreans to build, you know, 610 of their reactors in Eastern Europe, a few and more perhaps in Southeast Asian nations that are considering it like Vietnam and you know, the Philippines and other nations like that. And then use that learning expertise to really be a player in this larger global fields, and compete with a nation like Russia that can offer things that a vendor like Westinghouse, or South Korea cannot like fuel take back, which is a huge deal. You’re trying to sell a multi generational deal on energy technology to a developing nation that is desperate for energy.

Robert Bryce 30:54
Well, let’s ask about let me ask you that about Ross atom because they are the leading player, I would argue in terms of commercialization of nuclear right, they have the deal in in Iran with Bushehr. I believe it’s in Turkey. They they’re developing reactors there. And it’s a one stop shop. Right that they are a government agency, government sponsored entity, they are owned by the government, they can provide the financing, they can provide all the personnel, the technology, the fuel that fuel take back. These are all fairly obvious, I think. But is is it going to require that like, or South Korea or in China’s CNPC? Is it going to require that? Or does the success of nuclear in the global marketplace require a company to have the backing of a government do? Or is it going to be government government champion companies that are going to win

Brett Rampal 31:47
as a dirty American capitalist pig? I want to say, you know, right, I want

Robert Bryce 31:54
to couch it. Quite that roughly, but you can just say, as an American dude or market, if

Brett Rampal 32:02
that’s the way you know, this thinking is kind of demonize these in my opinion. No, it should not require state intervention or state involvement in these

Robert Bryce 32:15
processes. Okay, but shouldn’t should not okay, should not. But it

Brett Rampal 32:18
does require it should not, but it does require state support. Okay.

Robert Bryce 32:24
And sustained and sustained. And that’s the key. Right? This has been the problem with the United States is right. There was a friend of mine long time ago that Nick Nick Reese was, I think there was no problem with the US that Republicans are pro nuclear and anti government. The Democrats are, are anti nuclear and pro government, we need politicians who are pro nuclear and pro government. And this is the this has been still, it seems to me the key sticking point, right. But anyway, I interrupted, but I think I should be is the key question

Brett Rampal 32:50
here. I’ll just say, I think, at least in my five years that I spent a lot of time in DC, the arguments that we would have between Democrats and Republicans and everything would be less on the nuclear issue and more on the broader issue. So yeah, I think that part of it is changing, because I think a lot more Democrats are becoming pro nuclear, and this is becoming a bipartisan issue and everything. But you know, getting back to the larger concept of, you know, state support, you know, how can, you know, sort of these non, you know, sort of totalitarian or, you know, these non fully driven sort of state organizations really compete on the broader scale. I think, again, it’s a little bit of support, and then a leadership from that nation. Now. In a lot of ways, it’s very hard for a Westinghouse or another US vendor to say, we want to export you our technology. And don’t worry, you know, our designs plan for, you know, 80 years of spent fuel storage, on site and everything. And the and the, you know, I we talked about fuel takeback, you know, many places are storing fuel. Fuel storage is extremely safe. It’s a great, you know, it’s a well done, we have lots of expertise in it. But new nations or nations developing new nuclear or new technology resources, in many ways, either don’t want to get into the storage game or don’t want to expand their storage needs, and rightfully so. So they look at a nation like the US, which unfortunately, is still trying to figure out what the hell we’re doing with these laws around nuclear waste management, and you know, Yucca Mountain, which is never going to happen now. But it’s the law of the land and everything. And that’s very difficult for a vendor to answer questions from a state, you know, utility

Robert Bryce 34:52
because there’s not that long history of government backing, there’s uncertainty about when the regimes will change. engine then whether that is going to change the regulation. We’ve already seen this that the NRC, with the NRC rescinding the license extensions for Peach Bottom and Turkey point. I’m thinking if I got those, right, right.

Brett Rampal 35:12
Yeah, it was the petition, unfortunately, that asked them to redo a generic environmental evaluation, which, thankfully, has just been resolved to the satisfaction of the utilities and those plants will get their subsequent license. Okay, that’s interesting. Yeah. It just happened recently. So,

Robert Bryce 35:31
so but let me follow up in on that, because the, we talked earlier about the NRC and about the need there. And I know we’re hopping around a little bit. But we’re all around this very similar theme about regulation, state support. Ray Rothrock, was on the podcast a few weeks ago, and I brought this up on other podcasts. But he made the point that the NRC is not going to be able to be reformed unless you change the organizational structure there in his point is there’s no CEO and if there’s no CEO, there’s nobody at the top that can crackheads Kick Butts, however you want to put it to get a chain to change, change the culture. And I’ve never heard anyone analyze the agency this way. So you got the commissioners, and then you have the bureaucracy underneath them. But that anyway, the point was that he was saying was that there’s going to have to Congress is going to have to act. So that’s the question I’m I’m getting to here is will there is there the political will in Congress, by that it has to be bipartisan to pass a bill in this congressional session, which we have a divided Congress to force to force through a bill that is going to result in significant reform at the NRC that will make it move faster, that will change the organizational structure that will allow this pipeline you said 10 Different applications coming down the pipe? Is there something that’s going to make this happen in this congressional session? Yes, or no?

Brett Rampal 36:55
Yes or No, is a tough question. Right? Maybe, maybe, maybe I say, maybe it made me you know, when I started doing policy work at Clean Air Task Force, and really learning about this, you know, five or six years ago, we were negotiating and, you know, having discussions with bipartisan groups in Congress on NEMA and Nika, the nuclear energy innovation and Modernization Act and the nuclear energy innovation, and capabilities Act, which drove a lot of these new regulatory sort of reforms and changes that we’re sort of living in and experiencing right now. But we always knew back then, they were just the start discussion. Okay. And even when I let you know, I think it was 2021. I think it was 2021 when one of my one of my old boss had cleaner taskforce was testifying for some nuclear bills, or maybe it was early 2022. And we were prepping and having a bunch of discussions with the staff and everything. All of this came up because following from Nima and Nika, you know, there were changes made to the NRC fee structures and what the NRC can recover as fees in terms of advanced reactor engagement and everything, if you can imagine we’ve reduced some of the burden on the developers already, and it’s still this much of burdensome and everything. And a lot of what came back from the NRC, following those changes was, hey, we those changes didn’t work. We can’t do this, we need more money. This isn’t working, here are suggestions either rolling all the way back, or just, you know, give just give us more money. And those discussions were on not, I’m not talking about like, large wine items for doing like large amounts of work at the NRC. These were arguments over percentages around the administrative budget. See, so their overall, top line, fixed costs administration’s and everything. And even in that case, in negotiations in Congress and having discussions where I myself, many of my colleagues thought, well, the direct solution to this is give the NRC some more flexibility in their budget, and give them a little bit more money. So either you lock in, you gotta do, you gotta move one of these levers, you can either block them or give them more money, you know, so, but there was a, it just became a bit of a log jam because appropriations are a tough discussion, right? on anything, right. So what we really need and there’s been many bills, there’s been numerous, the nuclear Innovation Alliance was working with some representatives. I believe it was, I think I don’t want to represent it Donald’s I don’t want to call it somebody wrongly. But the or miss calling out the right person on fee reform at the NRA. See, we’re probably going to Seaton see, you know, I’ll just be frank, we’re probably going to see some oversight in terms of NEMA and mica related activities, whether that’s direct and real committee oversight, or that’s, you know, informal backroom oversight. But I definitely think we’re gonna see some oversight from Congress because the rulemaking for, you know, to be the new rule for licensing advanced reactors, a court, which was NEMA and Nika mandated, according to those future applicants is not going very well. And according to most anybody is not going very well.

Robert Bryce 40:36
And then that rule was, what 9000 pages or something I mean,

Brett Rampal 40:40
it’s longer than the previous rules. It’s now but but that is a function. I think I said before that, you know, the road to hell, I apologize. I think I’ve cursed a couple of times on your on your podcast,

Robert Bryce 40:52
it’s okay. We have no sensors, no sensors involved here. Go ahead. The road to

Brett Rampal 40:56
hell is paved with best intentions. I believe that and the NRC was mandated to develop this new risk informed performance based rule by Congress by 2027. But to be really ambitious, and to give themselves some space between their congressional mandate, and when they would be issuing the rule, when those laws were passed in 2019, and 2020. And all became, you know, signed into law and everything, the NRC had to start planning, they said, no, no, we’re gonna make this rule by 2024 instead of 2027. So they pushed it back three years, they said they had for, you know, three years, three and a half, four years to get this all done. And in many ways, when the NRC said that the staff came back to them and said, Well, if you tell us to do it this way, in this kind of timeframe, with these resources, all we’re going to be able to do is take from what we’ve done previously, and try to combine it together and put it all together, we’re not really going to be able to innovate, right. And so, the NRC said, it’s more important for us to meet the congressional mandate than it is to kind of risk it in terms of doing this real work, which we might need more funding for, and be more challenged about and everything. So it’s all interconnected and tied together. And they were hamstrung from themselves, but then cut their own Achilles, the tendon in their own foot, because they were hamstrung To begin with

Robert Bryce 42:25
well, so if I read this back to you, Brett, what I hear and you know, as we’ve talked about these different parts of this is that we’re facing a really intractable bureaucracy that is, for all of this, the things that need to be addressed that this is the key roadblock, and we talked about that before. So if you don’t mind, let’s set this aside for just a second and talk about well, what about Europe then? So there are there’s the possibility the British are talking about permitting Rolls Royce Rolls Royce has an SMR. That looks interesting. Rolls Royce is an old line industrial company, they know how to build heat engines, very sophisticated outfit, they’re talking about putting up an SMR that could be deployed by 2027, if I’m not mistaken, or is the US going to lose the race to deploy the first SMR? Well,

Brett Rampal 43:15
so number one, the SMR in the UK, that Rolls Royce is developing would not meet the US federal definition of an SMR. Because it’s too large. It’s essentially, I think it was

Robert Bryce 43:31
was it 400 megawatts? Was it 140

Brett Rampal 43:33
megawatts, right. And the requirement in the United States is or the definition the United States is 300 or less. The the, the Rolls Royce product looks very much like a three loop light water reactor that we’ve deployed in this country or in other countries in years before. So the innovation sort of learning curve climb on that Rolls Royce technology is a lot less so will that probably be easier for them to deploy also with a I hate to say it a a multi somewhat century long relationship with a government that has always been super supportive of your activities and everything. I think Rolls Royce is in a very good situation in the UK.

Robert Bryce 44:25
And further and further than I mean, they this is the other part that it seems to me that other people on the podcast have said well nuclear has to succeed overseas before it succeeds here and as part of that, in fact, Mark Nelson made this point he said the US is not under the kind of same pressure that European countries are so Britain could then in theory, you bring up the point about Rolls Royce having strong government backing they you know, their ships, their their submarines, they’re there a lot of their aircraft engines etc. Closely tied with government contracts, that the Brits could have their own regulator they can have their own fuel supply says They could do all of this. They don’t worry, they won’t face the same kind of friction with the NRC. So if you look at the Europe as the as the just the European countries, would Britain then have potential to make this happen sooner than other European countries because of the things we’ve just mentioned?

Brett Rampal 45:16
Well, you know, we talked about regulatory, but we also briefly touched on it. But, you know, I don’t think the regulatory piece is certainly a big part of it. But there’s larger pieces, or there’s as large pieces as the regulatory piece. And for Europe, that’s going to be waste. and the EU taxonomy calls for the deployments of any projects that are gonna get financed through that project, to have a clear line of sight to a waste management program or solution for those nations deploying that technology. I think it’s a 2050. Horizon. So it’s an incredibly you know, it’s a long ways out, but still all of these nations and the loan sort of officers and the you know, the loan officers around these programs are going to sit there and be going to be deeply interrogating these projects and say, Rolls Royce, this is great. But you can’t just store the fuel in the parking lot like you do at like this design calls for a

Robert Bryce 46:15
little bit. But fair enough. But doesn’t Brexit take the EU out of the equation for Britain, then I mean, you know, they’re not, they’re not part of the EU now. So in theory, they could say, well, you know, that was the old school, that’s old stuff that doesn’t apply to us anymore. and Britain, you know, depending on who you believe they are, of all the European countries under the biggest pressure, because their North Sea gas production is plummeting. They, you know, they’re not, they can’t rely on the French for their electricity, they can’t rely, they’ve got to do something, and they’ve got to do it pretty quickly.

Brett Rampal 46:45
I think I mean, I think those plans in the UK for Rolls Royce, to build a bunch of reactors are number one good plans, you know, I like those plans. And number two, will, you know, potentially have a very good chance of coming to fruition? You know, more so I was talking about the export opportunities in terms of that, you know, we

Robert Bryce 47:07
see Yeah, right. So rolls could do it in Britain, but then they will, if they’re going to do it in Europe or elsewhere, they’re going to have to deal with, they’re going to have to deal with the issues you just brought up about the EU and the wasted IC Okay, yeah, they’re gonna

Brett Rampal 47:18
do interesting. And if they’re gonna export to Africa, or to other nations, you know, Southeast Asia, a lot of those nations have very, very different sort of energy demand and energy growth needs than Europe or the Western world. And so in SMR, quote, unquote, a Rolls Royce SMR, that looks very much like a small 1960s 1970s reactor, but in and the nation that you’re providing it from doesn’t bring all the rest of the things that say, a nation like Russia or China offers, then it becomes a difficult challenge for Rolls Royce to compete for that energy demand, and all everything else that comes with it. Hey, I’m Ross, Adam, I’ll come in, I’ll build three DVRs for, you know, 4000 megawatts, we’ll take the fuel back, we’ll finance the project for 100 years, we’ll do we’ll even send your workers if you really wanted to write? Yeah, so a lot of that is the bigger challenges here. Now, let’s talk about like SMRs and micro reactors and the ways that those can really kind of help change this paradigm, right. And everything. You know, I just got back, I just went in September to my old employer, Westinghouse and saw their might, you know, micro reactor model on their electrically heated model on the, the lab desk and everything. And because of this is a small micro thing it would fit that like, you know, I can’t fit it in the camera view right here, but it would fit on your coffee table, or on your dining room table.

Robert Bryce 49:02
How many how many kilowatts or output

Brett Rampal 49:03
it’s, it’s, I believe, they say it’s eight kilowatts or 25 kilowatts of electricity, eight kilowatts of heat can be both at the same time, or scale it in different ways and everything. They want to send them install them for nine to 11 years. And then the whole thing is shipped back to Westinghouse back to their factory, they ship you a new one. And you just plug it back into the piping or whatever you have on site that you need for so it becomes the product as a service. And they don’t have to do waste storage. And it also offers Westinghouse now, you know, the opportunity to think about what what what do we need to really be thinking about if we want to look at the back end of the fuel cycle because we’re now going to be talking about storing this stuff. Should we be recycling it? Should we be doing different stuff? with it in everything. And that’s it was

Robert Bryce 50:01
so I’m sorry to interrupt. But at this fascinate, I haven’t heard anything about this, as you’re saying this five kilowatts, you almost like

Brett Rampal 50:08
nuclear battery or even cheap, it’s called the event sheet.

Robert Bryce 50:11
But as you’re saying something well as a nuclear battery, or a nuclear cartridge, almost like you’d like you’d get a cartridge job. Well, I got this little package, and it’s in the mail. And, but 5000 Watts, I mean, I could run that in my house, right? I mean, this would be great. I mean, my demand,

Brett Rampal 50:26
which might be a little rich for your, you know, maybe, you know, if you live in a cul de sac, maybe you, you know, there are models like that they’re probably not going to happen into the future and everything. But thinking about some of the people that I work with now, in Veritas, at Veritas and thinking about like, some of these people in the traditional energy communities, they have large, large, existing electrical and energy, broad energy needs heat, other forms of energy. There’s, I’ve seen estimates the same me electricity, apology, electricity demand, just in the Permian Basin, is going to double or triple the next 36 months, just from the new mines. And excuse me, the new drill drill, not just when you start talking about electrification or you know, you know, electrifying compressors, or changing, reducing the amount of diesel in these operations and everything. So when these operators are looking at the challenges that they’re facing, and they say, Hey, I need electricity, I need heat, I need both, I need all of that. And you look at these micro reactors, and the small modular reactors that are offering higher temperatures are offering, you know, energy and heat as a service more than what we’ve seen previously, and everything, it starts to open a whole new world, and it opened up a lot of different opportunities. So you know, I hate to say it, perhaps the best biggest movers because I know this is, you know, your, your bailiwick near and dear to your heart, this is where I started my career, you know, power in the United States in the next, you know, 1015 years might not be the biggest opportunity for nuclear in in the US, you know, we would definitely see some power deployments. But you know, all of this heat, all of these, you know, that NASA just announced nuclear thermal propulsion rocket cooperation with the Department of excuse me on the dark DARPA, the Defense Research projects, agencies on Draco for nuclear rocket to, to Mars, we have, you know, developers that are talking about pairing with chemical developers like x energy and Dow to provide heat in chemical operations in the US and everything. So I think it could be a lot of different things, the chips, the marine applications that you talked about, and it might not be the regulatory challenges that people are really trying to, like jump over, it really is, hey, do these things different. And do it for these new, more novel sort of applications that have probably no other competition, and a large, large sort of backlog of opportunities, and you could really see a log jam break up.

Robert Bryce 53:29
That’s interesting. And I’m glad you brought that up. Quick station break. My guest is Brett Rand Paul. He is the director of nuclear and power strategy at Veriton. You can learn more about him and ve r i t e n. And well, I’m glad you mentioned the X energy Tao announcement because that is I look at the landscape that and I’ve talked about this before. It’s one of the most intriguing of the different announcements that have been made around nuclear new scale, of course, has made an announcement that they have they’re in talks with the Jordanians, the polls, a bunch of other customers internationally, you’ve got the Terra power with an atrium talking about the their project at kymriah, Wyoming. But Dow and X energy to me was fascinating because here’s dow a very old line industrial company very, very conservative one saying oh, we see the value in X energy, which is a different breed of cat and what we’ve been talking about it’s a gas cooled reactor. But doubt what I the way I read it. And what I’ve heard the people that Tao say is we’re interested in this because of the opportunity for thermal, the process heat and that they’ve said they are targeting, potentially deploying one of x energies reactors at a gulf coast Petro Chem plant that they have, and they have a lot of of production capacity in the Gulf Coast. But that to me is interesting that goes to your point about thermal in that that is another opportunity that is separate and apart from connecting to the grid and that maybe x energy does this deal and they never sell any power into ERCOT or into the SPP or wherever instead, they either use all the power themselves or they just concentrate on the thermal thermal output. But I read it as, hey, we don’t want to burn natural gas molecules to produce power. We want to save those molecules and turn them into plastics or whatever else. So I’m glad. So what are those other opportunities that would be refining petrochemicals? Wouldn’t be mining, though they’re in mining, there isn’t that much of a need for thermal? It’s more of an electric load. There’s I

Brett Rampal 55:20
mean, there is there is a need for remote power in it cogeneration and everything, you know, there could be heat based operations at some mining operations, whether it’s, you know, hot water or heat. You know, heat rock fracturing, I believe that use and heat processes in Southern rock fracture. That’s right. Yeah. So there, there are opportunities. You know, people don’t really realize how much fossil fuels and heat goes into making everything, right. You mentioned plastics and petrochemicals, you know, one of the big markets around the world that is kind of low temperature, low grade heat that people don’t really talk about, but it’s fundamental to life, textiles, textiles is 160 or something like that Giga gigawatt, goo, goo, global heat market. And it’s I believe most of the heat in those systems could be satisfied by heat coming that that could come from existing light water reactors. And so what you know, that sort of temperature, not just the higher temperatures coming from the higher temperature advanced reactors, our friends at the Nuclear Energy Institute, just recently had the Adidas global brand, and fashio I don’t really get their title wrong, but I believe it’s their global brand and frapp fashion director, who said at the at Fashion Week this year, they want to have a demonstration about how nuclear could play a huge role in decarbonizing and revolutionising and making the full fashion industry clean. And so that’s a fundamentally crazy way to think about. And so

Robert Bryce 57:07
there’s that so their heat would be in the need in dyeing of the fabrics, or just

Brett Rampal 57:13
in making fabrics and making a lot of lots of times all of these factories that are cutting fabrics and sewing fabrics, and dyeing and doing everything are in poor nations, and they’re not run on electricity, they’re run on Steam or heat based systems in in a factory and everything. And so, you know, what does that look like? It might be giant steam fabric presses, or it might be giant, steam powered sewing machine. I don’t really know I haven’t really dug into it that deeply because but I do know that there are all of these markets out there where we use a lot of heat and the majority of that heat is comes from from hydrocarbons. Yeah, hydrocarbons and it’s unabated hydrocarbons right now and everything and so that’s a great opportunity for nuclear heat to play a you know, a role and the electricity challenge. People think about electricity usually first, right? Never your electricity is a third of the challenge. Transportation is a third of the challenge and industry and manufacturing is a third of the challenge. And if we go back 1020 years, and we say not electricity, because electricity has seen those trends and a lot of renewable penetration on the global scale, you know, at the last 20 years, but if we go back 20 years, and we say just global primary energy usage, okay 20 years ago 80% unabated fossil fuel yet use you based and everything. Today, global primary energy usage is 80%, automated fossil fuels, we’ve just changed the gas and the coal percentages, and we’ve shut down some nuclear and allowed that to be replaced with a bunch of renewables on the grid on the grand scale of things, right. So

Robert Bryce 59:06
that’s an interesting point because then renewables are not going to be able to find a fill that process heat niche, they just can’t do it, right, because they’re gonna have to go through it. Well, you can create the electricity and then turn that into process heat, but it’s what make the hydrogen and then burn that naturally less efficient, and you got all the conversion problems. So let’s talk about fuel a little bit because we’re we’ve been talking for nearly an hour and I want to talk about the fuel issue. Terra power announced they were delaying their project in the atrium project in Wyoming by two years because of lack of Halo high assay low enriched uranium, talking about the fuel cycle as to what extent is the US going to be able to be to ramp up its own fuel production capacity both from uranium or uranium mining and the enrichment what I this is an area I know very little about and I know that center synergy they were they are a publicly traded company that Take a stock tickers Leu, bring me up to date on that it’s an area I know very little about honestly. And are we going to see a resurgence of uranium production in the US? Are we going to depend on the Canadians? And then how are we going to get the enriched fuel it for reactors in the US and around the world that it doesn’t come from Russia?

Brett Rampal 1:00:17
Sure, sure. So for your listeners and viewers and everything, uranium fuel cycle, lifetime lifecycle, and chain and everything, we mined the rocks out of the ground, and then we are essentially converting it into a great gas. And then we are enriching using that gas to enrich it to increase the amount of the the isotope that we like heavier, stuff goes up, lighter stuff goes down, or heavier stuff spins around, and you separate things out and everything. That’s why you might have heard of centrifuges in enrichment before, and then we need to, then after we enrich it, we need to de convert it. So we need to get it out of the gas, and then we can then manufacture it into fuel, which we then load into a reactor and there’s a whole lifecycle. And the largest actual challenge on that lifecycle right now, for us, looking into the future is actually unfortunately, conversion on that. Now, the conversion market and the enrichment market right now on a global basis is dominated by Russia, unfortunately, they between 40 and 50% of enrichment and conversion global capacity, then, you know, the numbers are different between the two, but they’re both between 40 and 50%. And last year, or I think it was 2021, which is the year we have the most recent numbers for 20% of the uranium in you, in operating existing reactors came from Russian mines, or Russian uranium services, or, you know, conversion services, enrichment opportunities as well. So it’s a challenge. Now, if you look back to when I was selling or making fuel for my customers, when I was at Westinghouse, and everything, we would have pointed to Russian fuel and uranium relations as a great shining beacon, of you know, globalization and trade opportunities. You know, up until 2013, we were down blending Russian weapons into US nuclear reactors. And so we were decreasing, we were, you know, increasing our nonproliferation goals around the world, as well as getting cheap, very, very cheap uranium in US reactors. And when, as soon as they could the Russians got out of that program in 2013. And that ended, but that still left reliance on Russian supplies, and their market was able to jump in and say, Hey, we can provide this not as cheap as you were getting it do that treaty in that law, but we’ll still give it to you cheaper than you could manufacture it in your country, and you can do not manufacture, and then you can mine it, and that you can enrich it and convert it to your own country. And so that’s how they started to build this wedge in the market. And that’s how we ended up seeing us players decline. So we don’t no longer have a strong mining, copper, you know, all this.

Robert Bryce 1:03:19
But just Just one quick point. So that was that what was it megatons to megawatts, this was the the nuclear weaponry in the fuel for nuclear weapons that the Russians had that a lot of that fuel that was or thought about material that was in those nuclear weapons was then taken and put into civilian use. So I just wanted to make that quick point for two decades. But that’s but that’s set the debt but that set the stage then for at once that ended for then the continued reliance on Russia, except Except instead of the old weaponry that was providing that fuel, it then became Russian industry that became the big provider.

Brett Rampal 1:03:56
Correct. And I think it’s about two decades, maybe longer ending their team 10% of Americans got their electricity from down blended Russian weapons, right. So and the US so that’s, again, that’s a great success of global, you know, relations and trade. But now we’re in a whole different worlds,

Robert Bryce 1:04:18
right? And that set the dependencies set the stage for the dependency on the Russian supply chain then.

Brett Rampal 1:04:23
And you can even look at, you know, we get uranium from a lot of sources that are non Russian, you know, the some of the three, like sometimes some of our largest suppliers of uranium for the US are Australian Canada, which are nations that we should have no problem with having long term, you know, uranium relations with and everything. But then our other nations like Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and you look at nations like that, that have great uranium resources, but are landlocked, and all of their resources used to travel through St. Petersburg and now discussions are Chinese swaps are, how can you get it by, you know, without doing rushing financing. So it’s a very, very difficult and challenging opportunity, or see challenging space right now for both the existing fleet and for these future advanced reactors, if we had to get off of Russian uranium services and supplies right now, the entire world meaning India and Japan and everybody else, the US others would experience challenges in keeping our nuclear reactor or existing fleet online. Probably not this year, probably not next year, maybe the following year, maybe the year after that, that sort of timeframe and everything. So yes, this is a very tight market right now. But, you know, maybe if India and Japan kept buying the uranium, we could get out, you know, but so that, you know, there’s lots of different opportunities here and lots of different challenges. We, you mentioned centrists, we have a hundreds of millions of dollars in funding coming from both the IRA and from previous funding sources through the Department of Energy’s nuclear fuel availability program to kind of revitalize this sort of enrichment and conversion capabilities in the United States as well as sort of build and create new sort of capacity that we never had the advanced reactors need fuel that is slightly more enriched than the existing reactors, and we’ve never provided that commercially in this country.

Robert Bryce 1:06:33
Now you’re talking about hey, Lou there, okay, right. And then atrium reactor requires Hey, Lou X energy requires Hey, Lou as well. Yep, yep. And the moat and the molten salt or the Molten Salt Reactors they’re going to require Hey, Lou as well, I’m this isn’t

Brett Rampal 1:06:48
the only Molten Salt Reactor company that I know of right now, that is not pursuing Halo is Terrestrial Energy. And they are pursuing. They’re pursuing a low enriched uranium Molten Salt Reactor.

Robert Bryce 1:07:01
And terrestrial is the Canadian company. Their CEO, Simon Irish has been on the podcast, right. But they’re based in Ontario and they have an interesting but they domiciled in Canada purposely because

Brett Rampal 1:07:12
they also have a US operation. Now they’re engaged with the NRC, you know, right. It’s called Terrestrial Energy USA.

Robert Bryce 1:07:20
Right. And they’re producing they’re, they’re pursuing dual licensing in the US and Canada and trying to bridge that divide. Well, so Brett, we’ve been talking for about an hour now. And I like to keep the podcasts at about an hour and I’m glad we were able to cover we’ve covered a lot of things. So I asked my guests always ask, you know, they introduce themselves, what are you reading? What’s on your bookshelf or book the top of your book list book pile?

Brett Rampal 1:07:44
Right now I’m reading bomber boys. And I’m sorry that I’m gonna forget the author. Because it’s a fantastic book. It’s actually being turned into a mini series by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, for apple plus TV, whatever the streaming service is supposed to be the next band of brothers. It’s the story of the brave and you know courageous men that flew the strategic bombing missions during World War Two in the beat 20 nines over Europe. It’s a fascinating and sometimes heartbreaking book

Robert Bryce 1:08:24
set by Travis Ayers. Is that the is that what? Maybe Maybe I think I thought it was a bummer boys the heroes who flew B seven teams in World War Two is that I see several different

Brett Rampal 1:08:38
Let me see. Bomber boy’s name was Daniel something with a D bomber boys. I don’t get it from my I’m sorry. I should have I should have been prepared. No, that’s

Robert Bryce 1:08:52
that’s fine.

Brett Rampal 1:08:53
eulberg Hanks. Now I’m sorry. It’s not called bomber boys. That was a different book. Oh, okay. It’s called masters of the air.

Robert Bryce 1:09:03
Okay. of the air. And the

Brett Rampal 1:09:07
masters of the air America’s bombers boys.

Robert Bryce 1:09:12
Uh huh. Okay, sorry. Sorry. And who’s the author?

Brett Rampal 1:09:16
The author of that is oh goodness. Now it’s giving me everything about the series. No.

Robert Bryce 1:09:25
Okay. No problem. I’m sorry. Good. Okay. Anything else you want to mention there and Donald L. Miller. It says here Master.

Brett Rampal 1:09:37
Yes. There you go. So ya know, the only other thing I’ve mentioned is you know, it’s been an absolute pleasure thanks so much for having me and I really we

Robert Bryce 1:09:45
don’t know any other books we go don’t go go any other books you’re reading besides masters of the air?

Brett Rampal 1:09:51
I’m not right now. I have your book on my stack to pick up next and Adam Attaboy.

Robert Bryce 1:09:57
Question a question of power like Christie in the Wealth of Nations you everyone needs to read that you don’t have to actually you know, read it you just have to buy it. That’s my Okay, good. So then my last question then Brett what gives you hope

Brett Rampal 1:10:12
well I you know, like I said I think this sort of trend that we’ve seen you know, I mean if I look at last year and I look at the video look at 2022 versus 2017 The first year I started doing policy and research and advocacy work as full time job versus the last year I was doing that now you know the new life I’ve moved into and everything the changes for you know nuclear and for the broader world as a whole on on the back of that have just been fantastic. I never would have thought we would have seen that Diablo Canyon debate and see Diablo canyons life extended you know when when they first had those discussions you know, this this inclusivity in the IRA is fantastic. I think these trends set a playing ground that gives me a lot of hope that maybe we can make these deployments happen and maybe we can meet these commitments because we’re not going to do it any other way without this without these technologies without without without nuclear without nuclear and it’s important that that this this head waves continue these chat these these changes continue

Robert Bryce 1:11:24
well, we’ll leave it there then. That’s a good summary. My guest has been Brett Rand Paul He’s the director of nuclear and power strategies at Vintage at Veriton is where you can find out more about him Brett thanks a million for coming on the power hungry podcasts been a great I learned a lot here and I’m always happy guests who can you know explain things that I’m it’s one of the reasons why I do the podcast so it was great fun to chat with you.

Brett Rampal 1:11:48
My pleasure anytime.

Robert Bryce 1:11:50
And thanks to all you in podcast land for tuning in to this episode of the power hungry podcast tune in again for the next one. It might be as good as this one. Until then. See you


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