Economic and Employment Impacts of Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

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Global energy demand is growing and, while fossil fuels will continue to play an important role in supplying future energy requirements, the role of nuclear power may increase significantly as rising energy demand is balanced with the need to effectively address issues such as climate change, domestic energy security, and electricity access and utilization by developing economies. While nuclear power is likely to be a major provider of future energy needs, the structure of the commercial nuclear power industry may change. In the U.S., the commercial development of nuclear energy during the 1970s was characterized by large power plants designed to generate electricity. Although the construction of new nuclear power plants experienced a hiatus in the U.S. over recent decades, the continued development of large nuclear plants of approximately 1,000 megawatts (MW)1 and higher continued elsewhere and demonstrated advances in safety, performance, and efficiency. While advances in large nuclear power facilities continue, the recent resurgence of interest in nuclear power in the U.S. has also led to increased attention and statements of Administration support for the development and licensing of new technologies such as smaller-scale reactor systems, including the creation of an office within the Department of Energy to aid in these activities (Chu, 2010; Black, 2010).


Economic and Employment Impacts of Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, Center for Advanced Energy Studies, 2010.

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