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.
By Kate Abnett 03/16/23
Seven EU states including Germany, Spain and Denmark have strengthened their resistance to efforts by France to count nuclear energy towards EU renewable energy targets, according to a letter seen by Reuters.
Clean hydrogen production is underway at the Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station in Oswego, New York. The facility is the first-of-its-kind in the United States to generate clean hydrogen using nuclear power.
By Will Lockett 03/05/23
I don’t know about you, but I quite like living on planet Earth. Nice, stable weather, plenty of food, and healthy ecosystems make it pretty pleasant. Unfortunately, all of that is set to change over…
By Stephen Singer 02/22/23
Public Service Enterprise Group will consider “small but important value-added investments” at its nuclear plants, capitalizing on production tax credits in the Inflation Reduction Act, President and CEO Ralph LaRossa said Tuesday
By Jonathan Rauch 02/07/23
Replacing fossil fuels is much easier with nuclear power in the equation. And yet the industry, in many respects, looks unready to step into a major role....
By Andrew Paul 01/24/23
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently announced its approval of the designs for a first-of-its-kind small modular reactor (SMR). This could signal a potential shift in the development and integration of next generation power plants…
By Molly Taft 01/24/23
The U.S. has just given the green light to its first-ever small modular nuclear design, a promising step forward for a power source that remains controversial among some climate advocates but is experiencing a popular…
By Stephen Singer 01/20/23
Nuclear energy is increasingly getting another look by federal and state officials seeking to cut greenhouse gas emissions and bolster energy security.
By Andrew Ross Sorkin et al. 01/18/23
At the World Economic Forum, the provocative filmmaker received a warm reception for his film promoting nuclear power.
By Ognjen Š. Miljanic 12/18/22
Earlier this week, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) announced a momentous breakthrough in harnessing controlled nuclear fusion. The LLNL’s National Ignition Facility (NIF) achieved “ignition” — a fusion experiment that produced more energy than…
By Alison Snyder 12/16/22
The path to powering the world with nuclear fusion energy involves solving key materials science and technology problems. The big picture: This week's announcement of a major fusion reaction advance was a demonstration of the…
By Kenneth Chang 12/13/22
Scientists studying fusion energy at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California announced on Tuesday that they had crossed a long-awaited milestone in reproducing the power of the sun in a laboratory.
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…
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…
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…
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.
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…
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…
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…
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…
"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
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…
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 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…
A Report to the president-1962
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 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.…
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…
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…
Guess what? You don’t have to be “pro-nuclear” or “anti-nuclear.”
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…
Democrat and Republican policy experts weigh in on how to value reliable and low-carbon energy resources.
By Joel Achenbach and Evan Halper 12/13/22
Federal scientists announced Tuesday that they have created the first nuclear fusion reaction that generated more energy than it took to produce, a major advancement in the worldwide quest for a new source of abundant,…
By Pranshu Verma 11/11/22
Homes built out of bamboo shoots. Zero-emission hydrogen fuels for cars and jets. Small nuclear reactors to power Africa. Restoring ocean mangroves to store carbon.
By Rod Kuckro 11/10/22
The U.S. Department of Energy on Wednesday highlighted plans to fund projects at four nuclear plants to demonstrate the clean production of hydrogen.
By Maxine Joselow and Vanessa Montalbano 11/08/22
House Republicans heading to the United Nations climate conference in Egypt plan to argue that nuclear power and natural gas are essential to meeting global climate goals, the head of the delegation said Monday, even…
By James Osborne 10/26/22
Top officials from nations around the world said Wednesday they were rethinking their decadeslong skepticism toward nuclear power, amid global spikes in oil and natural gas prices following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and a…
By Jeff McMahon 10/11/22
In 2023 the Department of Energy will begin transforming the toxic soup stored in tanks at the Hanford, Wash. nuclear waste site into a more storable glass form, according to the head of DOE’s Office…
By Shannon Osaka 09/30/22
The typical “nuclear bro” is lurking in the comments section of a clean energy YouTube video, wondering why the creator didn’t mention #nuclear. He is marching in Central California to oppose the closing of the…
By Farhad Manjoo 09/16/22
Whenever I write about the plummeting costs and growing capabilities of wind power, solar power and batteries, I’m usually met with a barrage of radioactive responses from the internet’s overheated nuclear reactors — social-media-savvy environmental…
By World Nuclear News 09/14/22
Hundreds of coal power plant sites across the USA could be converted to nuclear plant sites, providing huge decarbonisation gains as well as bringing tangible economic, employment and environmental benefits to the communities where those…
By Menelaos Hadjicostis 09/11/22
A global search for alternative sources to Russian energy during the war in Ukraine has refocused attention on smaller, easier-to-build nuclear power stations, which proponents say could provide a cheaper, more efficient alternative to older…
By Molly Taft 08/31/22
The crisis in Ukraine may be rushing in a new golden age for nuclear power. Recent announcements from Germany, California, and Japan—three places where early retirement of nuclear plants has been a heated policy debate—signal…
By Uri Berliner 08/30/22
Resistance to nuclear power is starting to ebb around the world with support from a surprising group: environmentalists. This change of heart spans the globe, and is being prompted by climate change, unreliable electrical grids…
By Kavya Balaraman 08/29/22
California policymakers and other stakeholders remain split on a proposal from Gov. Gavin Newsom, D, to extend the operations of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant’s two units beyond their scheduled retirement in 2024 and 2025.
By Lisa Cohn 08/19/22
The federal Department of Energy (DOE) is studying small nuclear generators as a carbon-free, resilient and potentially affordable component of microgrids, but some microgrid industry members say it’s unlikely their nonmilitary customers will soon embrace…
By Elizabeth McCarthy 08/18/22
The push for carbon-free energy will drive the growth of small modular reactors, or SMRs, with 300 of them expected to be online by 2050 supplying 731 TWh of power, according to the results of…
By Michael R. Blood 08/12/22
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday proposed extending the life of the state’s last operating nuclear power plant by at least five to 10 years to maintain reliable power supplies in the climate change era.
By Ycc Team 08/12/22
Nuclear disasters can release widespread, dangerous radioactive fallout. Research facilities and nuclear weapons tests can also leave behind varying levels of radioactive particles in soil and plants. Christine Eriksen of ETH Zürich warns that at…
By Will Lockett 08/09/22
Nuclear power is key to our fight against climate change. Despite its potential dangers, it actually has the lowest death rate per gigawatt of power produced by any energy source and is one of the…
By Will Lockett 08/03/22
Fusion energy has the potential to revolutionise human society. In theory, it can create copious amounts of energy from a minuscule amount of fuel and generate on-demand power with no carbon emissions or high-level nuclear…
By Will Lockett 07/31/22
Nuclear power is incredible when you think about it. We can harness the power of atomic degradation and utilise Einstein’s theory of special relativity (E=MC²) to create powerful on-demand low carbon energy. Such technology has…
By Kavya Balaraman 07/29/22
Pacific Gas & Electric is exploring the possibility of keeping the 2.2 GW Diablo Canyon nuclear plant open beyond its currently scheduled retirement in 2024 and 2025 to support the reliability of California’s electricity system,…
By Gregory Barber 07/21/22
FROM ITS HUMBLE start as a glacial trickle in the Swiss Alps, the Rhône River quickly transforms into one of the world’s most industrialized waterways. As it winds through the south of France toward the…
By Anne C. Mulkern 07/19/22
California political leaders are debating whether to keep the state’s final nuclear power plant open beyond 2025, a decision with repercussions for the state’s emissions, electricity mix and ability to prevent blackouts amid high demand…
By Melanie Windridge 07/14/22
Investment in private fusion companies has more than doubled in the past year and eight new companies have been founded, bringing the total to around 33.
By Mack DeGeurin 07/13/22
Experts and lawmakers attended a hearing to discuss significant funding and staff issues hindering the DOE’s waste containment efforts.
By Will Lockett 06/26/22
Nuclear power is incredibly tempting. On one hand, it can deliver enormous amounts of low carbon energy and could be a crucial part of our transition to environmental net zero. Yet on the other hand,…
By Robert Walton 06/09/22
The U.S. Department of Defense has selected Virginia-based BWX Technologies to construct the nation’s first advanced nuclear microreactor, the company said in a Thursday statement.
By Nicholas K. Geranios and Ted Warren 06/03/22
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who has recently criticized the slow pace of cleaning up the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, toured the former nuclear weapons production site on Thursday and said more federal money is needed to…
By Catherine Clifford 06/02/22
The technology to turn nuclear waste into energy, known as a nuclear fast reactor, has existed for decades. It was proven out by a United States government research lab pilot plant that operated from the…
By Bostjan Videmsek 05/30/22
From a small hill in the southern French region of Provence, you can see two suns. One has been blazing for four-and-a-half billion years and is setting. The other is being built by thousands of…
By Evan Halper 05/24/22
Charles Komanoff was for decades an expert witness for groups working against nuclear plants, delivering blistering critiques so effective that he earned a spot at the podium when tens of thousands of protesters descended on…
By Joanna Gill 05/05/22
Christophe Collignon, mayor of Huy - whose skyline and history are dominated by the Tihange nuclear plant - said most people in the medieval city in eastern Belgium welcomed the decision to extend the ageing…
By Ben Lefebvre 05/05/22
The actual purchases would be for deliveries after fiscal year 2023, in “future years when prices are anticipated to be significantly lower than they are today, and will represent a first tranche of purchases to…
By Carol Thompson 05/04/22
The dozens of nuclear power reactors situated along the Great Lakes shoreline have produced a sizeable amount of electricity for Canada's Ontario province and the midwestern United States since they first came online in 1963.
By Sammy Roth 04/29/22
Newsom told the L.A. Times editorial board Thursday that the state would seek out a share of $6 billion in federal funds meant to rescue nuclear reactors facing closure, money the Biden administration announced this…
By Elizabeth McCarthy 04/28/22
The growing number of large solar and wind energy projects resulted in renewable generation beating out nuclear energy last year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Tuesday.
By Peter Behr and Hannah Northey 04/28/22
A top energy executive yesterday confirmed that one of the first plants poised to qualify for financial support under the Energy Department’s newly unveiled lifeline — Michigan’s Palisades plant — remains on schedule to close…
By Charlie Campbell 04/21/22
In early March, the world looked on in horror as a fire broke out at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in southeast Ukraine. The blaze at the Zaporizhzhia facility following shelling by invading Russian forces…
By Jennifer McDermott 04/21/22
Michigan’s Democratic governor wants a nuclear power plant on Lake Michigan to stay open and she’s asking the federal government to pay for it. But the owner of the Palisades Power Plant says it’s too…
By Evan Halper 04/20/22
The Biden administration moved Tuesday to revive America’s troubled nuclear power industry with $6 billion in spending aimed at keeping open financially strapped plants.
By Zack Budryk 04/19/22
The Biden administration will put $6 billion toward saving distressed nuclear power plants from closure, viewing the power source as another carbon-free alternative to fossil fuels.
By Steven Mufson and Claire Parker 04/15/22
European nations are weighing climate benefits against the perils of putting nuclear power plants in harm’s way.
By Amory B. Lovins 04/12/22
The following is a contributed article by Amory B. Lovins, adjunct professor of civil and environmental engineering and scholar at the Precourt Institute for Energy, Stanford University.
By David Donovan and Livia Casali 04/04/22
Scientists at a laboratory in England have shattered the record for the amount of energy produced during a controlled, sustained fusion reaction. The production of 59 megajoules of energy over five seconds at the Joint…
By Rowena Mason 04/02/22
Boris Johnson wants his promised energy security strategy to “bet big” on nuclear despite Rishi Sunak’s reservations – but he has cooled on more onshore wind turbines in England amid a Conservative backlash.
he Russian invasion of Ukraine has also prompted some European nations to take a fresh look at nuclear power as a more secure and carbon-free source of energy. The Belgian government has just announced it…
By Mark Nelson and Ralph Cavanagh 03/20/22
An important function of informed debate is indeed to narrow disagreement, so I begin by noting a conspicuous lack of rebuttal to several of my opening points, including:
By Jurica Dujmovic 03/19/22
The Ukrainian State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate warned that “the loss of the possibility to cool down nuclear fuel will lead to significant radioactive releases into the environment,” which could “exceed all previous accidents at nuclear…
By Christoph Steitz and Markus Wacket 02/28/22
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and economy minister Robert Habeck on Sunday mapped out potentially radical changes to the country’s energy system, going as far as floating the possibility to keep nuclear power plants running for…
By Alan Neuhauser 02/17/22
An analysis released Thursday by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) drops the hammer on NuScale's small modular reactor (SMR), which is arguably the most prominent next-generation nuclear reactor project currently planned…