From the Georgia Public Policy Foundation:
Then there’s nuclear power. The industry is governed by an enormously expensive and dense regulatory and security framework designed to safeguard the general public. Since the 1978 accident at Three Mile Island and the 2001 terrorist attacks, regulations and licensing have grown increasingly stringent. Despite the advances in safety and security, no new units have begun construction since 1973. Abroad, especially in France and Japan, nuclear energy has flourished.
Now, however, several factors favor a nuclear renaissance. The first is President Bush’s approval of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which includes significant incentives for the industry to expand output:
* Up to $2 billion in cost-overrun support for a maximum of six new plants
* Production tax credit of 1.8 cents per kilowatt-hour (up to $125 million total per year) during the first eight years of operation for the first six megawatts (MW) of capacity $3 billion in research subsidies
* 20-year extension of liability caps for accidents
* Federal loan guarantees for new plant construction
Furthermore, in recent years the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has streamlined its licensing processes. No longer can endless appeals and challenges from organizations such as Greenpeace hold up plants indefinitely. A $917 million 2008 budget for the NRC supports new reactor design and project implementation. Then, there are fading memories of Three Mile Island, state incentives for new projects (10 reactors are slated for Texas alone), and popular concern with climate issues.