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The Need for Nuclear Now

States will play a significant role in the resurgence of nuclear power plants in America.

Fortnightly Magazine - February 2005

reviewing capital costs, ratepayers are protected from cost overruns.

These state actions are evidence of how cooperative engagement by public officials on such vital public policy issues can serve the national interest. The NEI hopes other states can work with the industry to develop similar approaches suited to their particular needs.

Someone once wrote that "ill-fortune is the failure to anticipate." In too many circumstances throughout history, the failure to take responsibility for confronting serious issues when they're most manageable proves far more costly in the long run. As we look ahead to the next two decades, it's clear that America must take decisive action now to secure our energy future.

Essential Asset

Over the next two decades, it's going to take a concerted effort to make sure America has the electricity it needs from a diverse group of energy sources to support a growing economy and meet its environmental goals.

The nuclear energy sector has a strong foundation on which to build. Our 103 nuclear power plants supply electricity to one in every five U.S. homes and businesses. These plants are a strategic national asset because nuclear power is the only expandable, large-scale energy source that is emission-free and can meet the baseload electricity demands of our growing population and economy. Emission-free nuclear plants play a vital role in meeting our clean air goals and the president's commitment toward reducing the greenhouse gas intensity of the U.S. economy.

Nuclear plants are operating safely at extremely high levels of efficiency, with industry-wide annual capacity factors in the 90-percent range. Nuclear power plants are low-cost producers, running on average between $20/MWh and $25/MWh, and they contribute to the fuel and technology diversity that is the strength of the U.S. electric supply system.

Nuclear power plants are a strategic national asset that justifies a systematic, disciplined program to build new nuclear power plants in the years ahead. It would be impossible for the United States to have a coherent, forward-looking energy policy without nuclear energy, and state regulators have a vital role to play as the industry considers building new nuclear power plants.