Nuclear Power Primed for Comeback

Emissions concerns, government incentives may spur new growth
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2007 9:40 AM CDT
Lights from a passing tractor trailer streak in the foreground, as wispy puffs of steam rise from the cooling towers at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Middletown, Pa., in this time exposure...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – As natural gas prices fluctuate, concern over greenhouse gas emissions mounts, and demand for electricity increases, nuclear power may be making a comeback. Although no new plant has been completed since 1996, the NRC expects applications for as many as 32 new reactors in the next 2 years. The Washington Post looks at an unexpected comeback.

To encourage construction, the federal government is offering guarantees and incentives. Plants seeking NRC approval by the end of 2008 would be eligible for up to $125 million in tax credits, loan guarantees for up to 80% of the plant's cost, and insurance to cover costs of regulatory delay. However, the skyrocketing price of uranium, high building costs, and nuclear waste disposal issues may deter potential investors.