Meltdown – can US nuclear compete with shale gas and subsidised renewables?
The US nuclear industry is struggling to survive in tough US electricity markets flooded with cheap natural gas and subsidised renewables. Industry insiders say action must be taken now to reverse this decline or the country will face dire consequences for climate change goals and energy security – but what needs to be done?
The US nuclear industry has seen five reactors shut down in two years; most recently, Entergy Nuclear’s Vermont Yankee power plant in Vernon closed at the end of 2014 due to low energy prices and flagging electricity demand.
Although costly to build, once online, nuclear is relatively cheap, has high efficiency, is reliable and, most significantly, is a low carbon energy source that currently provides 20% of America’s energy needs.