For the last 30 years, nuclear power has consistently provided around 20 percent of annual electricity generation in the United States, and half of the country’s carbon-free energy. But while efficiency updates increase output, allowing fewer reactors to provide the same amount of electricity, the average nuclear reactor is almost 40 years old and more than a dozen have been shuttered. Just one new reactor has come online since 1996, though two more are expected in by 2022. For a host of reasons, the legacy of nuclear power in the United States includes years-long delays in construction, power plants abandoned before they were even completed, and massive cost overruns that are passed on to the public.

Early in 2020, though, the federal Department of Energy announced its Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program, which calls for construction of two new prototype nuclear reactors within seven years. It may or may not happen, depending on who one asks: as the cost of renewable energy continues to fall and natural gas remains abundant and inexpensive, new nuclear reactors simply may not be cost-competitive.

Additionally, in April 2020, the DOE announced its Strategy to Restore American Nuclear Energy Leadership, which includes a plan to increase domestic uranium mining and establish a national uranium reserve.

The coming decade will be pivotal to nuclear power’s future in the United States. Supporters cite climate change as one very important reason to ramp up construction of new reactors, as it is ever more critical to prevent the greenhouse gases which burning still more fossil fuels would produce. Opponents point to concern about the security of nuclear material in an age of terrorism, the very long-term storage of radioactive waste (thousands of years), and the fear of an accidental release of radiation, as happened in Japan in 2011, in the former Soviet Union in 1986, and in Pennsylvania in 1979.



Mapped: Nuclear Reactors in the U.S.

The United States is the world’s largest producer of nuclear power, representing more than 30% of the world’s nuclear power generation. America has 92 reactors in operation, providing about 20% of the country’s electricity. The…

Consent-Based Siting

Management of the nation’s spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste is the Department of Energy’s responsibility. This includes finding sites to store and dispose of the spent nuclear fuel. DOE is committed to a…

What is Nuclear Fusion?

Nuclear fusion is the process by which two light atomic nuclei combine to form a single heavier one while releasing massive amounts of energy. Fusion reactions take place in a state of matter called plasma…

Critique of NYSERDA’s Draft Plan

This document is a critique of the “New York State Climate Action Council’s Draft Scoping Plan” prepared by NYSERDA with the assistance of E3 and Abt Associates, herein called the NYSERDA Draft Plan.

Recycle Nuclear – “Waste to Energy Now” !

After 50 years of Earth Day efforts, let’s actually try something that works. If You Want Different Results, You Have to Try Different Approaches! If we are still trying to solve the clean air problem…

Backgrounder on the Three Mile Island Accident

The Three Mile Island Unit 2 reactor, near Middletown, Pa., partially melted down on March 28, 1979. This was the most serious accident in U.S. commercial nuclear power plant operating history, although its small radioactive…

What is nuclear waste, and what do we do with it?

Like all industries and energy-producing technologies, the use of nuclear energy results in some waste products. There are three types of nuclear waste, classified according to their radioactivity: low-, intermediate-, and high-level. The vast majority…

A Nuclear Innovation Company

With the growing demand for electricity, TerraPower entered the nuclear energy arena because its founders saw clean energy as the pathway to lift billions out of poverty. The company has since expanded that vision to…

Putting Nuclear Power In Perspective: An Interview with David Watson

"Beating climate change is hard enough without taking away one of the best low-carbon tools we have. It’s time to talk about nuclear." --David Watson

Storage and Disposal of Radioactive Waste

Most low-level radioactive waste (LLW) is typically sent to land-based disposal immediately following its packaging for long-term management. This means that for the majority (~90% by volume) of all of the waste types produced by…

How Advanced Nuclear Got on the Map

Advanced nuclear could play a critical role in getting the domestic and global electricity sector to net-zero emissions by 2050, decarbonizing industrial processes, and producing green hydrogen. These contributions from new nuclear technologies are possible,…

Nuclear Power is the Most Reliable Energy Source and It’s Not Even Close

Nuclear energy is America’s work horse. It’s been rolling up its sleeves for six decades now to provide constant, reliable, carbon-free power to millions of Americans. Just how reliable has nuclear energy been? It has…

Civilian Nuclear Power

A Report to the president-1962

Nuclear Energy Institute

What can get D.C. politicos and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, environmentalists and business leaders, conservatives and liberals, national security experts and celebrities to finally agree? Nuclear energy provides nearly 20 percent of America’s electricity, all without…

Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program

Advanced nuclear energy systems hold enormous potential to lower emissions, create new jobs, and build an even stronger economy. The Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP) will speed the demonstration of advanced reactors through cost-shared partnerships with U.S.…

The Health and Environmental Impact of Uranium Mining

Nuclear is an efficient and powerful energy source with life cycle carbon emissions that are as low as some renewable sources. While not as popular as liquid and coal, nuclear power plants still generate a…

Three Mile Island Accident

In 1979 at Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in USA a cooling malfunction caused part of the core to melt in the #2 reactor. The TMI-2 reactor was destroyed. Some radioactive gas was released…

We are a group of nuclear engineers hoping to help the world learn some interesting and important information about nuclear energy. We find ourselves explaining things like waste recycling and passive safety over and over…

A beginner’s guide to the debate over nuclear power and climate change

Guess what? You don’t have to be “pro-nuclear” or “anti-nuclear.”

People’s Summary of Roadmap to Nowhere: The Myth of Powering the Nation with Renewable Energy

Climate change activists seeking alternatives to the burning of fossil fuels have been buoyed by the studies of Mark Jacobson and his colleagues at Stanford University, who have developed what they believe are feasible carbon-free…

How the US Nuclear Debate Transcends Traditional Party Lines

Democrat and Republican policy experts weigh in on how to value reliable and low-carbon energy resources.



Last Look: Nuclear Energy in America

By Fareed Zakaria   04/25/21  
Fareed takes a look at plans to drastically reduce nuclear energy's role in powering America's grid, and why they are misguided.

Should America Go Nuclear

President Biden has set an ambitious goal for the United States to be carbon-neutral by 2050. Achieving it means weaning the country off fossil fuels and using more alternative energy sources like solar and wind.…

This Is the End of Nuclear Energy in New York

By Patrick McGeehan   04/21/21  
The nuclear age in the New York City area will end Friday night with the push of a button.

Indian Point Is Shutting Down. That Means More Fossil Fuel

By Patrick McGeehan   04/13/21  
For most of his long political career, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo railed against the dangers of having a nuclear power plant operating just 25 miles away from New York City, saying its proximity to such…

Nuclear power can help raise climate ambitions

By World Nuclear News   04/12/21  
Policymakers who ignore nuclear energy are not serious about meeting climate goals, delegates said at an Atlantic Council webinar last week. The first in the Raising Ambitions series, the event highlighted the attributes of this…

Former NRC chair questions economic feasibility of new nuclear in US

By Lulia Gheorghiu   04/12/21  
Without further aid from Congress and the White House, the prospects for the U.S. nuclear industry will dwindle in the face of cheaper resources that are getting built faster than new nuclear generators, according to a…

Will Nuclear Energy’s No-Carbon Quality Outweigh The Fukushima Accident?

By Ken Silverstein   04/11/21  
The global community has witnessed Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima — nuclear accidents that have left many skeptical. But energy experts and climate hawks say those events are rare, noting that hundreds of reactors have…

How long can a nuclear plant run? Regulators consider 100 years

By Matthew Bandyk   03/29/21  
This fall, Exelon plans to retire the Dresden nuclear power plant in Illinois after more than 51 years in operation, one of the longest life spans any commercial nuclear power reactor has ever achieved. The…

EU experts to say nuclear power qualifies for green investment label -document

By Kate Abnett   03/27/21  
Experts tasked with assessing whether the European Union should label nuclear power as a green investment will say that the fuel qualifies as sustainable, according to a document reviewed by Reuters. The European Commission is…

Nuclear industry calls for state policy focus as resource outstrips coal generation in US

By Lulia Gheorghiu   03/25/21  
NEI's presentation came as federal regulators kicked off a technical conference to evaluate wholesale market competition in states that have clean energy subsidies intended to subsidize nuclear and other zero-emission resources. States that offer zero…

Maria Korsnick’s Remarks at the State of the Nuclear Energy Industry Event

By Maria Korsnick   03/23/21  
NEI President and Chief Executive Officer Maria Korsnick delivered the following remarks on the critical role nuclear energy will play in meeting the Biden administration’s aggressive climate goals at NEI’s annual State of the Nuclear…

California’s last nuclear plant is poised to shut down. What happens next?

By Kavya Balaraman   03/23/21  
As California's last nuclear facility — the 2.2 GW Diablo Canyon power plant — approaches its scheduled retirement date, some energy experts worry that the state hasn't fully prepared for what comes next.

Maria Korsnick’s Remarks at the State of the Nuclear Energy Industry Event

NEI President and Chief Executive Officer Maria Korsnick delivered the following remarks on the critical role nuclear energy will play in meeting the Biden administration’s aggressive climate goals at NEI’s annual State of the Nuclear…

Board was right to allow $300M nuclear subsidy, appeals court rules

By Tom Johnson   03/19/21  
A state appeals court upheld the decision by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to give hundreds of millions of dollars, paid by utility customers, to the owners of three nuclear power plants in…

Nuclear Power Looks to Regain Its Footing 10 Years after Fukushima

By Jeremy Hsu   03/09/21  
Nuclear power faces a wobbly future 10 years after an earthquake and tsunami triggered a triple reactor meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan. But the industry’s unstable footing has less to do with…

Radioactive Water Dilemma at Fukushima

By Peter Dykstra   03/05/21  
Ten years after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster, millions of gallons of radioactive cooling water are about to overflow storage tanks. Japanese authorities are looking at the option of releasing it into the…

Nuclear on the radar: Part I

By Amanda Eggert   03/02/21  
Nuclear energy is having a moment in the Montana Legislature. With uncertainty surrounding the future of the state’s coal-fired power plants and the Biden administration’s aggressive targets for reducing fossil-fuel emissions to combat climate change,…

The Activists Who Embrace Nuclear Power

By Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow   02/19/21  
In 2004, Heather Hoff was working at a clothing store and living with her husband in San Luis Obispo, a small, laid-back city in the Central Coast region of California. A few years earlier, she…

Mini nuclear reactors offer promise of cheaper, clean power

By Daniel Michaels   02/11/21  
Reactor makers are pitching smaller, modular systems that produce limitless emissions-free energy—but they may not be an easy sell

Biden Names Democrats to Lead Nuclear, Pipeline Agencies

By Matthew Daly   01/25/21  
Moving quickly to assert influence over energy issues, President Joe Biden has named two Democrats to lead regulatory agencies that oversee nuclear power, natural gas and other energy infrastructure.

5 Nuclear Energy Storylines to Watch in 2021

By Office of Nucelar Energy   01/01/21  
Despite all the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. nuclear energy industry pulled out some big wins in 2020, and this year could be even bigger. From deep space exploration on Mars to a…

Is nuclear fusion the answer to the climate crisis?

By Oscar Schwartz   12/28/20  
Promising new studies suggest the long elusive technology may be capable of producing electricity for the grid by the end of the decade.

Several U.S. utilities back out of deal to build novel nuclear power plant

By Adrian Cho   11/04/20  
Plans to build an innovative new nuclear power plant—and thus revitalize the struggling U.S. nuclear industry—have taken a hit as in recent weeks: Eight of the 36 public utilities that had signed on to help build the…

Small Nuclear Reactors Would Provide Carbon-Free Energy, but Would They Be Safe?

By Jonathan Moens   10/21/20  
Regulators have approved designs for 12 small reactors to be built in Idaho, but opponents say the project is dangerous and too late to fight climate change.

Utah coop gets $1.4B to build mini-nuclear power plants

By Keith Ridler   10/19/20  
The U.S. Department of Energy on Friday awarded a Utah energy cooperative about $1.4 billion to help build a dozen small nuclear reactors in eastern Idaho. The money spread over 10 years will pay for…

U.S. awards $1.4 billion to help build small reactors in Idaho

By Associated Press   10/16/20  
The U.S. Department of Energy on Friday awarded a Utah energy cooperative about $1.4 billion to help build a dozen small nuclear reactors in eastern Idaho. The money spread over 10 years will pay for…

Department of Energy picks two advanced nuclear reactors for demonstration projects

By Adrian Cho   10/16/20  
Hoping to revive the moribund U.S. nuclear power industry, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced this week it will help build two radically new nuclear reactors within 7 years. Funded by DOE’s new Advanced Reactor…

U.S. Department of Energy Announces $160 Million in First Awards

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced it has selected two U.S.-based teams to receive $160 million in initial funding under the new Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP). ARDP, announced in May, is designed…

Revival of renewables sought in debate over nuclear bailout

By Jim Provance   10/01/20  
EDP Renewables North America, the world’s fourth-largest wind developer, invested more than $700 million into projects in Paulding and Hardin counties when Ohio first rolled out the red carpet. But more recent signals from the…

Dominion files to keep Virginia’s North Anna nuclear plant operating 80 years

By Robert Walton   09/08/20  
North Anna Units 1 and 2 are currently licensed to operate through 2038 and 2040, having received original licenses in 1978 and 1980, respectively. If renewed, the combined 1.9 GW units would be able to generate carbon-free…

World’s nuclear fusion dream takes a leap forward

By Paul Brown   07/29/20  
Nuclear fusion is the most ambitious project in the world, recreating on Earth the complex heat-producing reactions of the sun in the hope of making unlimited carbon-free electric power.

New York Negates All Wind & Solar Deployed Statewide by Closing Indian Point Reactor 2.

By Dietmar Detering   06/08/20  
Last July, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). The CLCPA requires that 100% of New York’s electricity be carbon free by 2040, with the aim of economy-wide…

The Misguided Exile of Nuclear Power: How Banishment of a Safe Technology Will Keep Fossil Fuels in the Driver’s Seat

By Dan Lennon   05/26/20  
Due to media hype surrounding three major nuclear accidents, the risk of nuclear power has been greatly overstated and therefore public opinion is against it. As a result, this very valuable tool in our arsenal…

U.S. Department of Energy rushes to build advanced new nuclear reactors

By Adrian Cho   05/20/20  
“This can be a game changer,” says Jacopo Buongiorno, a nuclear engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “It’s time for the community to go from designing paper reactors to building demonstrations.”

Opening Up The Mountain West To Uranium Production For Nuclear Energy Is The ‘Third Rail’ Of American Politics

By Ken Silverstein   04/24/20  
A fallout of the coronavirus may be more uranium mining in the West and outside of the Grand Canyon. At least that is the proposed policy of the Trump administration, which is arguing that more…

Trump administration unveils plan to rescue US uranium mining

By Jackson Chen   04/23/20  
The Trump administration released a report on Thursday outlining its plan to revitalize the US nuclear energy industry and support domestic uranium mining amid concerns that the nation has lost its spotlight on the global…

Secretary Brouillette Announces The Nuclear Fuel Working Group’s Strategy To Restore American Nuclear Energy Leadership

Today, U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette announced the Nuclear Fuel Working Group’s Strategy to Restore American Nuclear Energy Leadership, a direct outcome from the efforts of the United States Nuclear Fuel Working Group, established…

Is Cuomo Serious About Addressing Climate Change? Indian Point Decision Says No

By Leonard Rodberg & Herschel Specter   03/02/20  
Governor Andrew Cuomo claims that New York is a leader in addressing the dangers of climate change. So far, the facts fail to support this.

Carbon-free nuclear power in a crisis just when it’s most needed

By Benjamin J. Hulac   02/26/20  
It will be one of more than 100 new nuclear plants being built around the world, including many “small modular reactors” capable of powering cities, campuses or rural areas without producing any carbon emissions. More…

The Energy 202: Trump backs down from building nuclear waste site in Nevada

By Dino Grandoni   02/07/20  
President Trump with one single tweet appeared to reverse his administration’s support of entombing dangerous radioactive material under the Yucca mountain. Just nine months away from the 2020 election, Trump tweeted that he opposed the…

Is Nuclear Power Worth the Risk?

By Carolyn Kormann   12/22/19  
The Fukushima disaster sparked a worldwide phaseout of nuclear reactors. As climate change worsens, it may be time to reconsider.

Nuclear Power Does Slow Climate Change

By James Conca   11/25/19  
Indeed it does. Contrary to claims by those who just don’t like nuclear, every time nuclear plants close, carbon emissions go up. Using opaque financial jargon, grandiose claims for renewables, and political spin, doesn’t change…

How the U.S. betrayed the Marshall Islands, kindling the next nuclear disaster

By SUSANNE RUST   11/10/19  
The Fukushima disaster sparked a worldwide phaseout of nuclear reactors. As climate change worsens, it may be time to reconsider.

How the U.S. betrayed the Marshall Islands, kindling the next nuclear disaster

By Susanne Rust   11/10/19  
Five thousand miles west of Los Angeles and 500 miles north of the equator, on a far-flung spit of white coral sand in the central Pacific, a massive, aging and weathered concrete dome bobs up…

Poll: Ohio voters support renewable energy and oppose the state’s recent nuclear subsidy

The post Poll: Ohio voters support renewable energy and oppose the state’s recent nuclear subsidy appeared first on Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

Joseph Mangano: Nuclear needs to focus on health, not money

The recent shutdown should improve public health in the area around Three Mile Island and should serve as a reminder that future energy policies rely on truly "clean" sources, and not harmful ones like nuclear…

How supercomputers could help crack the code for advanced nuclear reactors

A Chicago-area nuclear engineer is among those using supercomputers to test possible advanced reactor designs.

Nuclear cannot help against climate crisis

With new plants costing from five to ten times more than renewable options, and taking far longer to build, nuclear cannot help against global warming. The post Nuclear cannot help against climate crisis appeared first…

Cory Booker Compares Anti-Nuclear Democrats To Republican Climate Deniers

The New Jersey senator says the “data speaks for itself.” Experts say he’s right, and “the math is unforgiving.” ...

Why Bill Gates’ China Nuclear Project Failed

Above per NBC news. Popular Mechanics: At least for now, Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates is pulling back on nuclear power. He hasnt changed his mind on the science—he puts his blame on the…