CREATORJoskow, Paul
TITLEThe Future of Nuclear Power in the United States: Economic and Regulatory Challenges
DATE ACCESSED11 September 2017

This paper investigates economic and regulatory conditions affecting investment in new U.S. nuclear power plants through 2050. The author offers a brief history of the development of existing plants, looking at their ongoing functioning as well as issues surrounding their re-licensing and how that will likely affect the power plant fleet’s future electricity supply. The paper then evaluates the economic competitiveness of investments in nuclear energy as well as U.S. federal government attempts to incentivize investment, such as the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct). The author finds that such federal attempts improve the prospects for nuclear energy investment, particularly by easing initial costs. The author predicts that by the time federal incentives subside, the cost of carbon emissions will be higher and the operating costs for nuclear energy will be lower, making nuclear energy a viable option. However, the paper notes that investment could still be hindered by unresolved problems surrounding nuclear waste disposal, construction costs, and, sometimes, local opposition to nuclear power plants. The paper includes comparative cost tables and graphs.

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