Current Role of Nuclear Power
We took a look at our energy landscape and saw a way to make it better. To make it smarter, cleaner, safer and cost competitive.
In the U.S. today there are 98 operating nuclear power reactors with a total installed capacity of about 100 GWe. This represents about 10 percent of U.S. electrical generating resources. However, the high reliability and base load status of these plants results in a contribution of about 20 percent of the actual U.S. electricity generation.
More importantly, these 98 nuclear power reactors are the source of 63.3 percent of our clean-air electricity. Other sources include hydro at 21.2 percent, wind at 13 percent, geothermal at 1.3 percent and solar at 0.7 percent.
The contribution of nuclear to clean, reliable electricity is threatened by the approaching, inevitable retirement of existing reactors. NRC licenses expire and reactor retirements begin in 2029. All currently operating plants will retire by 2050.
Despite the advantages of high reliability, competitive generating costs, and low environmental impact, the potential, in the U.S., for new large scale nuclear plant builds is not very promising, especially for utilities in unregulated markets. This hesitance is due to uncertainty in licensing, construction costs and durations, as well as perceived environmental risks.
The NuScale SMR has key characteristics that answer many of the concerns raised by communities as utilities consider new nuclear for their future generation portfolio. A 720 MWe, 12-module NuScale plant could power 540,000 US homes with carbon-free electricity. This would reduce over 6 million tons of CO2 emissions per year (as compared to coal) – that's like taking 1.3 million cars off the road.
We’re here to help usher in a better power—smarter, cleaner, and safer—for all humankind. We’re leading the next generation of nuclear.