Nuclear power plants in the United States currently produce about 20 percent of the nation’s electricity. This nuclear-generated electricity is safe, clean and economical, and does not emit greenhouse gases. Continued and expanded reliance on nuclear energy is one key to meeting future demand for electricity in the U.S. and is called for in the National Energy Policy. Nevertheless, no new nuclear plants have been built in the U.S. in many years, and none are currently slated for construction.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has been working with the nuclear industry to establish a technical and regulatory foundation for the next generation of nuclear plants. The DOE Generation IV (Gen IV) Program is assembling a 30-year road map for advanced plant and fuel cycle research and development. To complement Gen IV, DOE also organized a Near-Term Deployment Group (NTDG) to examine prospects for the deployment of new nuclear plants in the U.S. during this decade, and to identify obstacles to deployment and actions for resolution.
The NTDG membership includes senior and experienced personnel from nuclear utilities, reactor vendors, national laboratories, and academia. It is co-chaired by executives from Duke Engineering & Services and Southern Nuclear Operating Company.
Since commencing its work in February 2001, the NTDG has evaluated a wide spectrum of factors that could affect prospects for near term deployment of new nuclear plants as well as the readiness and technical suitability of various new plant designs identified as candidates for deployment in that time frame.
This report consists of two volumes: Volume I, this Summary Report, is a synopsis of the NTDG evaluations, conclusions and recommendations. Volume II, the Near-Term Deployment Roadmap, is a comprehensive report of the group’s work, including descriptions of the candidate designs that have been evaluated, the methods of evaluation, and the institutional, regulatory, technical and economic factors considered.