Impacts of the Changing Regulatory Landscape on New Nuclear in the United States

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2020-04-24

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Abstract

Nuclear generation currently provides over fifty percent of the carbon-free energy on the United States electricity grid. Despite an increasing emphasis on carbon-free generation, operating nuclear plants are being retired early and the construction of new plants has crawled to a halt. Through primary interviews with industry experts and a secondary literature review, this study aims to outline key historic U.S. nuclear regulation changes, international regulatory structures that lead to new builds, and environmental stakeholders’ views of nuclear. Though there was a federal policy push in the 2000s to encourage new builds through financial incentives, research support, and a simplified licensing process, this initiative largely failed due to the failed adherence to the intended licensing process and the external economic impact of declining natural gas prices. The nuclear generation industry is hesitant to build new plants due to fears of continued reactionary regulation changes, increased opportunities for public participation, lack of technical construction personnel and supply chains, unfavorable operating economics, and the risky, large-scale nature of traditional nuclear.

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Vondracek, Sarah (2020). Impacts of the Changing Regulatory Landscape on New Nuclear in the United States. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/20540.


Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.