Posted on December 15, 2023 by Rich Powell
This op-ed was originally published by The Daily Caller on December 13, 2023. Click here to read the entire piece.
The strongest development coming from the annual United Nations climate conference this year was the ambitious call to triple nuclear energy capacity by 2050.
The U.S., UK and Canada, along with more than 20 other countries, launched this initiative at the United Nations Climate Change Conference’s (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP28), an annual event that has often shunned or ignored nuclear energy as a climate solution.
To triple nuclear capacity from now until 2050, the world will have to build around 30 large reactors each year, even more, if replacing retiring capacity is necessary or if smaller reactors take off.
This goal is achievable if the U.S. gets its federal policy right. Despite the anti-nuclear crowd’s best efforts in recent decades, the U.S. is still, in fact, the global leader in nuclear technology and, with the right policies, could see a booming U.S. industry with global reach.
To capitalize on this opportunity, policymakers should focus on three things: fixing how we license new nuclear reactors, ensuring we get innovative designs to market and developing a robust domestic fuel supply chain.
Congress has been grappling with how best to modernize permitting and make the 1970s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) work for energy projects of the 2020s, streamlining litigation backlogs and providing pre-clearance for projects regulators know will have no environmental problems. These reforms are needed across the energy spectrum, including nuclear.
American entrepreneurs are also up to the challenge of meeting demand. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) anticipates at least 13 applications for advanced reactors by 2027. The projects in the pipeline today employ thousands of Americans, and these are just the tip of the spear.
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.
Click here to read the full article