October 9, 2019

We Need To Stop America’s Nuclear Brain Drain

By Jacqueline Isaacs

Three Mile Island, the well-known nuclear power plant, stopped operations last month. It marked the end of decades of reliable nuclear power for customers across the state of Pennsylvania. It also is symbolic of the decline of the United States' leadership in nuclear power, which our CEO, Sarah Hunt, explains in a new article for Bloomberg Environment. Hunt explains,

American scientists first ushered in the atomic age more than 70 years ago, but in more recent years we have begun to lose our past dominance in nuclear engineering. Right now, there are only two new reactor units under construction, both part of the Vogtle project in Georgia. This project is over budget and behind schedule, something that will undoubtedly make other utilities wary of embarking on similar projects.

Without better technology and legislative action, utilities are unlikely to invest in nuclear power. It is past time for Congress to take action to stop America’s nuclear brain drain.

The answer, Hunt argues, may lie in a bipartisan bill currently working its way through the legislative process, called the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (NELA), sponsored by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) in the Senate with a House companion by Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Virginia). Hunt says,

This legislation addresses the short, middle, and long-term needs of the nuclear generation industry over the next decade. It would establish goals that align federal lab and private-sector efforts to help accelerate nuclear power generation, while also supporting research and development to ensure the safety and reliability necessary to license new, state-of-the-art concepts.

The proposal also provides a minimum amount of reactor fuel for developers until a long-term supply is produced and support scholarships for nuclear engineering students.

Learn more about NELA and read the whole article here: INSIGHT: NELA—A Big, Bipartisan Opportunity for Nuclear Power

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