The End of the Nuclear Industry as We Know It

Toward a 21st-Century Model of Nuclear Innovation

News last month that Westinghouse is facing crippling losses due to cost overruns and delays at four new nuclear reactors under construction in the US are but the latest evidence that the nuclear power industry in developed economies is in deep trouble. China, South Korea, and Russia continue to build new nuclear plants. But in the United States, Western Europe, and Japan, the nuclear industry, as we have known it for over a half-century, is coming to an end.

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How to Make Nuclear Innovative

Lessons from Other Advanced Industries

What will it take to bring 21st-century innovation to the nuclear industry?

How to Make Nuclear Innovative, a new Breakthrough report, makes the case for an entirely new model of nuclear innovation. Instead of conventional light-water reactors financed and constructed by large incumbent firms, the advanced nuclear industry will be characterized by innovative reactor and plant designs, new business models, and smaller entrepreneurial start-ups.

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Another Record Year for Nuclear Power

2016 Adds 9.5 GW of Global Capacity

Last April, Will Boisvert noted that 2015 was a record year for new nuclear power around the world, with more reactors added than in any year since 1990. But 2016 proved to be an even bigger year for nuclear power, with ten reactors coming online around the world, adding 9.5 gigawatts (GW) of capacity. This was the largest annual addition of nuclear power since 1990, and the largest two-year addition of nuclear power since 1989-90.

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Less Than Meets the Eye?

State-Level Decarbonization Led by Energy Intensity Declines

While the recent election has many environmentalists worried that federal action on climate change has hit a dead end, others are finding silver linings in the actions of states and municipalities. Such is the case with this sharp report from Brookings, “Growth, carbon, and Trump: State progress and drift on economic growth and emissions ‘decoupling’” by Mark Muro and Devashree Saha.

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Does Climate Policy Matter?

Evaluating the Efficacy of Emissions Caps and Targets Around The World

The election of Donald Trump has raised deep concern about the future of international efforts to address climate change. President-elect Trump has called climate change a hoax, and has vowed to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, rescind the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan, and end the so-called “War on Coal.” It is not yet clear, however, what impact these actions would have upon US or global emissions.

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Energy

Access to affordable and reliable energy is absolutely essential for human development; but energy production takes a heavy toll on the environment. With demand for energy expected to grow for decades to come as developing nations emerge from poverty, substantial innovation into clean energy technologies will be necessary to achieve our ambitious goals for greenhouse gas emissions reductions. 

PUBLICATIONS

 


 

ANALYSES
 

Carbon Taxes and Energy Subsidies
 

The History of the Shale Revolution
 

Nuclear Energy
 

Historic Paths to Decarbonization
 

Energy Efficiency and Rebound

 

BREAKTHROUGH IN THE NEWS
 


Loren King and Alex Trembath, "Shale revolution defies Left and Right orthodoxies," August 19, 2015
 


Loren King, "From Shale to Solar: What Today’s Energy R&D Can Learn From Fracking’s Success," August 10, 2015



Eduardo Porter, "Federal Role in Recent Drop in Oil Prices," January 20, 2015


Amy Harder, "Can the US Government Revive Nuclear Power?" November 23, 2014


Tim McDonnell, "Obama's Deal with China Is a Big Win for Solar, Nuclear, and Clean Coal," November 12, 2014


Andrew Revkin, "Another Round on Energy Rebound," October 24, 2014


Brad Plumer, "There are 620 million people in Africa without electricity. Here's where they live," October 13, 2014

Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, "The Problem With Energy Efficiency," October 8, 2014

Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, "Allay or Adapt? The Real Climate Change Debate is About Technology," October 2, 2014

Russel Gold, "Why Peak-Oil Predictions Haven’t Come True," September 29, 2014



Walter Russell Mead, "Fuzzy Math Can't Hide Shale Boom's Green Credentials," August 21, 2014


Fred Pearce, "World's poor need grid power, not just solar panels," August 5, 2014


Brad Plumer, "There's a big gap between Obama's climate ambitions and his actual policies," June 9, 2014


Jim Manzi, "Energy in the Executive," June 4, 2014


Justin Gillis and Henry Fountain, "Trying to Reclaim Leadership on Climate Change," June 1, 2014


Robert Bryce, "A Nuclear Option for Energy," May 9, 2014


Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, "Global Warming Scare Tactics," April 8, 2014


David Rose, "The Real Cost of Climate McCarthyism," April 5, 2014



Jim Manzi, "The New American System," April 2014


Jennifer Dhouly, "Some Say Keystone Fight Distracts From Broader Climate Aims," February 16, 2014


Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, "Environmentalists Made a Big Mistake By Focusing All Their Attention on Keystone," February 6, 2014


Ben Geman, "Greens Still See Red On Nuclear," February 2, 2014


Max Luke and Jenna Mukuno, "Boldly Going Where No Greens Have Gone Before," January 8, 2014


Ben Geman, "Environmentalists Face a Day of Reckoning on Keystone Pipeline," December 30, 2013


CNN Crossfire, "Is Nuclear Power Safe?" Debate Between Ralph Nader and Michael Shellenberger, November 7, 2013

Steve Fuller, "Nintey-degree revolution," October 24, 2013



Matthew Stepp and Alex Trembath, "A Climate Policy That Would Actually Work," October 11, 2013


Staff, "The Striking Challenge of Fracking: Who Does It Benefit and Who Gets Hurt," October 2, 2013


Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, "Can Climate Skeptics Save the Planet?" September 27, 2013


Christopher Colford, "Innovator-in-Chief: The Public Sector," September 3, 2013


Editorial Board, "Don't Give Up on Nuclear Energy Yet," September 5, 2013


Ashutosh Jogalekar, "Nuclear vs. Renewables: A Tale of Disparaties," August 22, 2013


Eduardo Porter, "Coming Full Circle in Energy, to Nuclear," August 20, 2013


Bryan Walsh, "The Surprisingly Large Energy Footprint of the Digital Economy," August 14, 2013


Bryan Walsh, "New Nuclear Reactor Designs Could Address Safety and Cost Concerns," August 5, 2013


Martin Wolf, "A Much-maligned Engine of Innovation," August 5, 2013


Clyde Prestowitz, "Thank Washington for Shale Gas and Oil," August 1, 2013


Andrew Revkin, "The Silent Partner Behind the Shale Energy Boom -- Taxpayers," July 31, 2013


Max Luke and Alex Trembath, "The Bridge to Zero Carbon," July 25, 2013


Fred Pearce, "New Green Vision: Technology As Our Planet's Last Best Hope," July 15, 2013


Eliza Strickland, "Can Nuclear Reactors Be Cheap?" July 12, 2013


Bryan Walsh, "Nuclear Energy is Largely Safe. But Can It Be Cheap?" July 8, 2013


Walter Russell Mead, "Shale Gas is Fracking Green," July 6, 2013


Kevin Begos, "Obama Fracking Support In Climate Speech Worries Environmental Groups," June 27, 2013

Kevin Begos, "Industry Giant GE Aims to Improve Fracking," May 27, 2013


Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, "Going Green? Then Go Nuclear," May 22, 2013


Andrew Sullivan, "Another Look at Nuclear," May 17, 2013


Russell Gold, "Rise in US Gas Production Fuels Unexpected Plunge in Emissions," April 18, 2013


Kevin Begos, "EPA Methane Report Further Divides Fracking Camps," April 28, 2013


Alex Trembath and Matthew Stepp, "Fight Coal, Not Keystone," April 8, 2013


Doug Allen, "The Fracking Divide," April 4, 2013


Brad Plumer, "Natural gas isn’t the only reason U.S. carbon emissions are falling," February 15, 2013
 


David Leonhardt, "It's Not Easy Being Green," February 10, 2013


Ed Crooks, "Balance of Power," December 6, 2012

 

 





Kevin Begos, "Fracking Developed With Decades Of Government Investment," September 26, 2012


 

David Leonhardt, "There's Still Hope for the Planet," July 21, 2012
 

 


Editorial, "The End of Clean Energy Subsidies?" May 5, 2012
 

 




Keith Johnson, "Subsidies for Clean Energy Get Fresh Look," April 17, 2012