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Investors Pour Money into Nuclear Energy

Venture capitalists from Silicon Valley and elsewhere are ramping up their investments in nuclear energy as the push by political leaders for a clean, secure energy future intensifies, according to The Washington Times (subscription).

What’s going on: “The value of investments in nuclear technology has skyrocketed by more than 9,000% since 2015, going from less than $12 million that year to north of $1.1 billion in 2022, according to private capital market research firm Pitchbook that compiled data for CNBC.”

Why it’s important: The increases arrive “as nuclear energy is becoming the go-to source of power” to complement other energy sources—but the number of U.S. nuclear plants is on the decline.  

  • Recent legislation apportioned billions of federal dollars in funding opportunities and tax incentives for nuclear power.
  • But as of July 2022, the U.S. had 54 nuclear plants with a total of 92 reactors operating in 28 states, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That is a decrease from 2012, when the U.S. had 104 reactors.

Cut the red tape: A “remaining obstacle for the industry, advocates say, is the inability of lawmakers in Washington to reconcile their differences to overhaul the country’s permitting process, which proponents say would expedite new energy projects, including for nuclear power.”

  • More streamlined permitting could help pave the way for new reactor construction, according to The Washington Times.

The NAM’s view: “Nuclear power plays a critical role and must be a part of our nation’s all-of-the-above approach to energy policy and security,” said NAM Director of Energy and Resources Policy Chris Morris.

  • “But current permitting, licensing and siting hurdles present delays in deploying new nuclear technologies. If projects are unable to break ground, the U.S. will continue to fall behind international competitors in the nuclear energy space. The NAM looks forward to continuing to work with policymakers to streamline permitting processes to bring new nuclear projects online.”
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