Posted on March 3, 2023 by Jeremy Harrell
This op-ed was originally published by Power Magazine on March 1, 2023. Click here to read the entire piece.
Nuclear energy is making a comeback—at home in America and worldwide. The 118th Congress presents new opportunities to make sure America leads the world on this crucial clean energy technology. The drumbeat for urgent climate action on the global stage is as loud as ever, but we’re also in the midst of a global energy crisis. Both themes exemplify the importance and necessity of new nuclear power on the grid.
Adding Advanced Nuclear Technology to the U.S. Power System
In the U.S., nuclear utilities are calling for 90 GW of new nuclear power by 2050, nearly doubling our nuclear energy capacity in the next 30 years—and American entrepreneurs are up to the challenge. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) anticipates at least 13 applications for advanced reactors by 2027, which puts a dent in the big goal.
The projects in the pipeline today employ thousands of Americans, and they are just the tip of the spear. If Republicans and Democrats in the new Congress are ready to double down on the immense nuclear support in the big energy bills enacted in the past four years—the Energy Act of 2020, the bipartisan infrastructure bill, the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) and Science Act, and the recent tax package—a new generation of American advanced reactors will make immense contributions to global security, U.S. economic growth, and climate action.
The momentum so far has been awe-inspiring. Last year, Southern Nuclear loaded fuel in the first Westinghouse AP1000 reactor at the Vogtle site in Waynesboro, Georgia. When all units are operational, the entire Vogtle Plant will be the largest producer of clean energy in the U.S., powering more than one million homes and businesses, and employing more than 800 highly paid professionals.
GE Hitachi (GEH), meanwhile, is preparing to build its BWRX-300 small modular reactor (SMR) in Clinch River, Tennessee, with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). GEH is hiring 400 employees in Wilmington, North Carolina, to support that project, a fuel facility in partnership with TerraPower, and the construction of its SMR at the Darlington site in Canada, which is on track to operate by 2028.
Click here to read the full article