Office of Nuclear Energy

DOE Summit on Improving the Economics of America’s Nuclear Power Plants

May 19, 2016

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WASHINGTON, D.C . – Today, the Energy Department convened a summit on Improving the Economics of America’s Nuclear Power Plants. Secretary Moniz, Members of Congress, stakeholders, and experts discussed potential solutions to address the unique challenges facing the nuclear industry in the United States, including early plant retirements.

Nuclear energy currently makes up 60 percent of the United States’ non-carbon emitting energy portfolio. The U.S. nuclear fleet is a key component of our nation’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28 percent below its 2005 level in 2025. 

As part of today’s event, the Department completed the first phase the Research, Development and Demonstration (RDD&D) Needs for Light Water Reactor Technologies report. This report identifies and prioritizes RD&D activities that will help increase the efficiency and extend the lifetime of current light water reactors.

DOE has invested millions of dollars to develop tools and capabilities to assess options for deploying hybrid nuclear energy systems, which take advantage of additional energy streams from nuclear reactors and can provide energy for additional markets beyond electricity. Through the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN), utilities now have the tools to assess these additional capabilities for their operating plants. Taking these steps can help improve the efficiency and economics of nuclear power plants for both existing and future nuclear reactors.

Nuclear power is an important component of the United States’ clean energy economy. The Administration remains committed to strong U.S leadership in the safe and secure use of nuclear power. Today’s half-day event on Capitol Hill follows the White House Summit on Nuclear Energy last November, which announced GAIN.