Nuclear Technology In The United States
As of 2011, nuclear power in the United States is provided by 104 commercial reactors (69 pressurized water reactors and 35 boiling water reactors) licensed to operate at 65 nuclear power plants, producing a total of 806 TWh of electricity, which was 19.6% of the nation's total electric energy generation in 2008. The United States is the world's largest supplier of commercial nuclear power.
In terms of history, all US nuclear power plants, and almost all reactors,began to be built in 1974 or earlier; following the Three Mile Island accident in 1979 and changing economics, many planned projects were canceled. Of the 104 reactors now operating in the U.S., ground was broken on all of them in 1974 or earlier. There has been no new ground-breaking on nuclear plants in the United States since 1974, though a number of reactor units started before 1974 have been completed since then, and recently (2011 and 2012) construction has begun on new units at existing plants.
In recent developments, there has been some revival of interest in nuclear power in the 2000s, with talk of a "nuclear renaissance", supported particularly by the Nuclear Power 2010 Program (established 2002) – see prospective nuclear units in the United States. A number of applications was sought, and construction on a handful of new reactors began in the early 2010s – in late 2011 and early 2012, construction of four new nuclear reactor units at two exiting plants were approved, the first such in 34 years. Further, a reactor is currently under construction at the existing plant at Watts Bar, Tennessee, which was begun in 1973 and may be completed in 2012. However, facing economic challenges, and later in the wake of the 2011 Japanese nuclear accidents, most of these projects have been canceled, and as of 2012, "nuclear industry officials say they expect just five new reactors to enter service by 2020 – Southern's two Vogtle reactors, two at Summer in South Carolina and one at Watts Bar in Tennessee"; these are all at existing plants.
Read more about Nuclear Technology In The United States: History, Safety and Accidents, Water Use in Nuclear Power Production, Plant Decommissioning, Debate About Nuclear Power in The U.S., Recent Developments, See Also
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