Energy Department Goes Nuclear To Solve Global Warming

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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America’s nuclear industry will receive support from two new Department of Energy programs designed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sector.

The DOE’s Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear program aims to increase investment in nuclear energy research, while providing more data about government reactors to private companies. A second DOE program, called the Advanced Nuclear Energy Projects Solicitation, will expand existing financial support for building and upgrading nuclear reactors. This program requires nuclear plants to calculate the amount of carbon dioxide emissions they will prevent in the future by operating in place of a fossil fuel-fired power plant. The Environmental Protection Agency will then use these programs to produce a “social cost of carbon” estimate.

“Taken together, these two announcement [sic] represent measurable progress in the Department’s nuclear energy mission to advance nuclear power as a resource capable of meeting the Nation’s energy, environmental, and national security needs.” according to a DOE press release emailed to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Nuclear power is making a small comeback in America. The first nuclear reactor to come online in 20 years will begin commercial operations as soon as 2016, and four new nuclear reactors are expected to enter service by the end of the decade. New nuclear reactor designs are much safer, and actually emit less radiation than coal plants. But those new plants that won’t offset reactors shutting down due to competition from cheap natural gas.

America still isn’t building as many nuclear reactors as the rest of the world. Global installed nuclear capacity is expected to grow 60 percent by 2040, according to the International Energy Agency, while American capacity will only grow by 16 percent over the same time period.

Of the 59 new nuclear reactors under construction worldwide, only 4 of them are being built in the U.S. — just enough to compensate for retiring older reactors.

Chinese nuclear capacity, on the other hand, is expected to increase 46 percent by 2030. Over that time, American nuclear power capacity will stagnate with only a small increase in capacity scheduled in spite of DOE’s new programs.

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