Is U.S. On The Verge Of A Nuclear Renaissance?

With concerns over energy costs, diminishing resources and climate control, the Obama administration is pushing for more nuclear power. This month, the president pledged $8 billion in loan guarantees, some of which would go to America's first new nuclear plant in nearly three decades. Host Guy Raz explores what advocates hope will be a nuclear renaissance — and the issues of safety and waste disposal that still concern opponents.

GUY RAZ, host:

Another story we've been following recently has been a quiet but significant push towards encouraging the growth of nuclear energy here in the U.S., and that push turned into a boost a few weeks ago, when President Obama put money on the table.

President BARACK OBAMA: We are announcing roughly $8 billion in loan guarantees to break ground on the first new nuclear plant in our country in three decades.

RAZ: That plant will be located in Burke County, Georgia.

Pres. OBAMA: Nuclear energy remains our largest source of fuel that produces no carbon emissions. To meet our growing energy needs and prevent the worst consequences of climate change, we'll need to increase our supply of nuclear power. It's that simple.

RAZ: Right now, nuclear accounts for about 20 percent of the electricity produced in this country. Compare that to France, where nuclear is around 77 percent.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.