Southern Company’s Vogtle units 3 and 4 moved closer to commercial operation in 2022 while existing nuclear plants are receiving a boost from the Inflation Reduction Act and bipartisan infrastructure law.
Nuclear power is increasingly viewed as an important component to achieving ambitious decarbonization goals and in some areas, maintaining grid reliability. But the sector has been buffeted in recent years by competition from renewables and natural gas.
PG&E’s Diablo Canyon units 1 and 2, scheduled to be decommissioned in 2024 and 2025, respectively, are in line to receive $1.1 billion from the Department of Energy to stay in operation, part of the agency’s $6 billion Civil Nuclear Credit Program.
Meanwhile, small modular reactor developers NuScale and X-energy moved to go public while the Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced in July that it had directed its staff to issue a final rule certifying NuScale’s small modular reactor design in the United States – the first SMR design to receive such approval in the U.S.
But rising material prices and interest rates are spurring questions about the cost of NuScale’s planned 462-MW SMR project in Utah.
The following stories highlight significant U.S. nuclear developments from the past year, along with the challenges that remain.