May 2, 2024 - Technology

Charted: the long nuclear drought ends — for a moment

Chart showing dates of U.S. nuclear power plants coming online

Image: Courtesy of the Energy Information Administration

The launch of commercial operations at Georgia Power's Vogtle Unit 4 marks a 21st-century rarity: a big new reactor opening in the U.S.

Why it matters: The two new Vogtle units, well over 2 gigawatts together, are likely the last two large-scale reactors to come online for many years — at least.

  • Utilities are no longer planning these kinds of massive projects, which have faced huge delays and cost overruns.
  • The Vogtle project ultimately ballooned to over $30 billion, roughly twice the original estimates, the Energy Information Administration notes.

What's next: Today the action in the nuclear sector centers on approval and future deployment of small modular reactors and, longer term, fusion projects.

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