Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What is the status of the U.S. nuclear industry?

"There are currently 104 commercial nuclear reactors at 65 nuclear power plants in 31 States. Since 1990, the share of the Nation’s total electricity supply provided by nuclear power generation has averaged about 20%, with the level of nuclear generation growing at roughly the same rate as overall electricity use. Between 1985 and 1996, 34 new reactors were placed in service. In addition, nuclear generation has increased as a result of higher utilization of existing capacity and from technical modifications to increase nuclear plant capacity (expressed in megawatts)."

"In 2008, the nuclear share of electricity generation at 20% nearly matched the natural gas share at 21%."

"Nuclear power generation itself does not contribute to airborne emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), a major greenhouse gas, although related activities such as the production of nuclear fuel for reactors do result in CO2 emissions. "

"By the end of February 2009, the NRC had received applications for a total of 26 newly designed reactors. It is uncertain how many of these reactors will eventually be built, but the NRC estimates 42 months to complete the review of all the applications prior to a final decision."

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