How Long is an Era?

By Richard McPherson

This past weekend reviewing my life since the September 11, 2001 attack on America, I thought, “How Long is an Era”?  I looked it up.  An “Era” is a Noun and has four definitions:

  • “A long and distinct period of history with a particular feature or characteristic.”
  • “A system of chronology dating from a particular noteworthy event.”
  • “A major division of time that is a subdivision of an eon and is itself subdivided into periods.”
  • “A date or event marking the beginning of a new and distinct period of time.”

Pondering these definitions, September 11, 2001, pretty much fit into the definition of the beginning or start of an Era.  But, what about the end of that Era?  The events of September 11, 2001, starting a new Era in my mind by no scope of the imagination has ended.  In fact, those events to me are like discovering the first stage of a cancer and then just watching it grow – not treating it, just let it grow.

On Saturday, I received a note that Toshiba was going to stop “…taking orders related to building…its AP1000 reactor”, and instead pursue decommissioning business.  It struck me that this was the end of an Era.  It was the end of an Era after people involved in United States commercial nuclear power had realized the need for a standardized commercial nuclear power plant four decades ago.

  • Four decades ago, I was in the US Navy wondering why civilians including politicians did not understand the importance of nuclear power to the economy and security for America.
  • Four decades ago, I took leave from the US Navy and attended the Sun Desert Nuclear Power Plant hearings in California, where I heard the newly formed California Energy Commission bring forth liars about nuclear power and ridiculed experienced people with many years of nuclear power experience.
  • Four decades ago, Westinghouse was designing the AP600 as a standardized design for the United States.  A design concept Westinghouse understood well after designing and building nuclear power plants for the US Navy since its first contract in 1948. 
  • Four decades ago, I thought, “Nothing beats learning from the experience of doing” – I was wrong!
  • Four decades ago, Jimmy Carter as President, taught me he did not learn from experience by doing.
  • Four decades ago, the Governor of California, Jerry Brown and President of the United States, Jimmy Carter did all they could to stop commercial nuclear power from making America energy independent and economically secure.                         

In 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower put forth the idea America could be energy independent and economically secure in his talk “Atoms for Peace” after the 1951 success of EBR1 and the US Navy’s success in 1953 of the first submarine nuclear power plant, both on the 890-square mile National Reactor Testing Station (NRTS) in Idaho.  Just 14-years later, it took Jimmy Carter and Jerry Brown to deny 219 million Americans being energy independent and economically secure up to 324 million on Monday, January 30, 2017.

What if America had been enjoying being energy independent and economically secure over the past few decades?

  • Would the first Gulf War have occurred?
  • Would the September 11, 2001 attack on America have occurred?
  • Would America’s infrastructure suffer so badly by differed maintenance?
  • Would America have cured cancer?
  • World America be overrun by illegal aliens, drug dealers, human traffickers, international gangs? 

What would have been accomplished if America had been energy independent and economically secure – over the past four decades?  Will President Donald Trump be the person to help Americans learn from experience by doing?

Richard McPherson is a US Navy veteran.  He has been involved in energy and national security for over 53-years.