Full Title: Nuclear Energy as a Keystone Clean Energy Resource
Author(s): Phillip Graeter and Deeksha Anand, Energy Ventures Analysis, Inc.
Publisher(s): National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC)
Publication Date: August 20, 2022
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Over the decades of operation, nuclear energy has proven to be one of the lowest-cost and most reliable energy resources integrated into the U.S. electric grid. According to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), nuclear reactors have the lowest forced outage rates among major fuel and technology types, making them one of the most reliable sources of electricity in the country. Additionally, due to their low cost of fuel, nuclear power plants are also one of the cheapest non-renewable generating resources currently operating in the U.S., providing steady around-the-clock (baseload) electricity to countless customers across the country.
In summary, over the last 50 years, nuclear energy has proven to be a reliable and low-cost electricity generating resource. To achieve ambitious decarbonization goals, retaining the existing and expanding the new nuclear energy resource base will be of critical importance. However, some roadblocks hindering a faster and more significant deployment of new nuclear energy resources persist. Reducing or removing these hurdles is the responsibility of many agencies and legislatures on the federal, state, and local levels. Going forward, establishing a more favorable financial and regulatory environment will allow nuclear energy to remain a keystone clean energy resource in a decarbonized U.S. electric grid.