Shuttered Nuclear Plants Means U.S. Will Miss Climate Targets

Source: Thinkstock

The floundering U.S. nuclear industry just got a bit of good news: Utah is considering building two new nuclear reactors.

Blue Castle Holdings Inc. has signed a memorandum of understanding with Westinghouse that could eventually lead to the construction of two AP1000 nuclear reactors. The two reactors have an estimated cost of $10 billion and an estimated operational date of 2024.

If constructed, Blue Castle says the reactors will increase Utah’s electricity generation capacity by 50 percent, which would replace the power lost with the retirement of a few coal plants in the state.

The announcement is important because building new nuclear reactors in the United States has been a struggle, to say the least. There are five other reactors under construction — two in South Carolina, two in Georgia, and one in Tennessee. All have suffered delays and unexpected cost increases.

Demonstrating the ability to build new, advanced nuclear reactors like the AP1000 is critical for the industry’s long-term health. But it is also important for the U.S. as a whole because nuclear power is the largest source of carbon-free electricity in the country.