Nuclear energy is an important part of how America produces energy. Today, with new projects being built, states are looking to this sector to help spur economic opportunity and increased energy efficiency. Even the Obama Administration is talking more about nuclear energy as it promotes cleaner sources of fuel for generating electricity.
Last February, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission rendered a precedent-setting decision for future approvals of nuclear plants after accepting an Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguard’s review of safety concerns. And recently, the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant in Georgia and additional units at Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station in South Carolina were approved. These are the first nuclear plants in this country in three decades, and may open the door for more nuclear plant openings in other states.
As Americans contemplate our changing energy economy, policymakers are focused on the legislative and regulatory mechanisms impacting the costs and benefits to consumers associated with our new infrastructure needs.
In Florida, for example, laws in the state enable incentives for electric companies to construct and operate plants that use nuclear energy as a fuel source. As companies expand their infrastructure to provide consumers with more efficient, cleaner and greener electricity, Florida law – like the law in many states – enables them to recover costs associated with siting, designing, licensing, and constructing a nuclear plant.
After the electric company completes the construction of a nuclear plant, Florida law allows the company to recover costs only after the utility demonstrates need and value to the consumer. Florida law further protects consumers by preventing utilities from recovering any construction costs until the plant is online.
In addition to the thousands of jobs created during plant construction, nuclear electricity production offsets the need for fossil fuels – oil and natural gas – and yields cleaner air emissions.
At a time when Americans are looking for more efficient, reliable and affordable energy sources, and are seeking ways to spur the economy and increase job prospects, the nuclear industry is providing bold and exciting new opportunities.