Expectations of a nuclear energy renaissance are particularly high in the United States, which hasn’t had a new reactor order in 30 years. Government programs to jump start new reactor construction have contributed to the optimism, but these are not likely enough to spark more than a handful of reactors by 2015. Aggressive government support would be needed, including subsidies, a carbon pricing mechanism, and an acceptable waste management solution. This paper discusses the history, current status and prospects for US nuclear power under the Obama administration.

Part of Series

CIGI's Nuclear Energy Futures Papers present research commissioned by the Nuclear Energy Futures Project, which is examining the scope of the purported nuclear energy revival over the coming two decades and its implications for global governance. The papers are written by experts in nuclear energy or nuclear global governance.
  • Sharon Squassoni is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in the nonproliferation program.