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Could Climate Change Save the United States’ Nuclear Energy Industry?

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The Three Mile Island partial meltdown led the U.S. away from nuclear. Global warming might bring it back.

The Trump administration has repeatedly vowed to help revitalize the nation’s nuclear power industry, which has struggled to compete with cheap renewables and natural gas in the United States since the fracking boom of the last decade. More than a year after the administration announced plans for a “complete review” to bolster the country’s nuclear-energy program both at home and abroad, it has yet to deliver a formal plan to do so.

But just last week, the U.S. inked a deal to build six nuclear reactors in India, which has plans to massively scale up its nuclear-power program to meet the country’s growing energy demands as it reduces emissions. Though only a small deal from a climate perspective, it’s a good sign for a U.S. industry that has struggled in recent years to maintain its dominance in international markets.

The U.S. has been a nuclear leader since the earliest days of the atomic age. In the post-World War II era, America’s national labs began churning out reactor designs. “There was a period of time when we were gung ho for nuclear power plants, especially after the 1970s energy crisis,” says Richard Nephew, a senior research scholar at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy. More than 100 nuclear power plants were built across the U.S., and in the second half of the 20th century, U.S. companies exported reactor designs, parts, and safety standards all over the world.

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Thanks !

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