This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

September 29, 2004

Approval of Reactor Design Opens Door for New Nuclear Power

Will new nuclear power plants contribute to the U.S. energy supply in the future? The Westinghouse Electric Company thinks they will, as the company has just earned approval from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for its new standard nuclear plant design, the AP1000. Described by Westinghouse as the "safest, most economical nuclear plant currently available with NRC approval," the new design "has already received strong interest from potential customers in Asia, Europe, and the United States," according to Westinghouse. See the announcement on the Westinghouse Web site.

According to DOE, a recent study by the University of Chicago finds that advanced nuclear power plants could be cost-competitive with coal and natural gas as a source of electricity. The study shows higher costs for the first few nuclear power plants, but lower costs once a third or fourth plant comes online. See the announcement and the full report on the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology Web site.