Full Title: Can Advanced Nuclear Repower Coal Country?
Author(s): John Jacobs and Lesley Jantarasami
Publisher(s): Bipartisan Policy Center
Publication Date: March 20, 2023
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With nearly a quarter of the U.S. coal-fired fleet scheduled to retire by 2029, replacing retiring coal power plants with advanced nuclear, specifically small modular reactors (SMR), has been put forth as a strategy to maintain local employment and economic opportunities for existing energy workers and communities, while simultaneously pursuing national climate goals. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) recent and groundbreaking certification of the country’s first SMR design pushes the technology closer to maturity. As SMRs shift toward commercial deployment, identifying the existing opportunities and hurdles is vital to create a pathway for future coal-to-nuclear transition projects. This report analyzes the benefits and challenges of a coal-to-nuclear transition and highlights recent legislation that may hasten such a transition.