March 01, 2016

Moving Targets: Nuclear Power as a Component of EPA’s Clean Power Plan

Jeffrey H. Wood, Millicent W. Ronnlund, and S. Michael Madison

Not long ago, many anticipated that regulatory dynamics and market factors would herald a nuclear renaissance in the United States. For its part, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) increased staffing levels to handle an influx of anticipated new license applications, and several states and utilities cooperated to make plans for building a fleet of new, state-of-the-art nuclear reactors. Despite signs of rapid growth in the last decade, the renaissance has been slower than anticipated due, at least in part, to market realities resulting from the natural gas boom, the cumulative costs of nuclear regulations, and lingering hurdles related to the disposal of used nuclear fuel.

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