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The number of projects developing advanced nuclear technologies across North America has grown more than 50%, from 48 to 75, over just the past three years, according to a new analysis and interactive map being released today by the centrist think tank Third Way.

Expand chart
Data: Third Way; Chart: Chris Canipe

Why it matters: The trend provides a counterweight to the dismal outlook for America’s existing nuclear industry, which features different technologies and is struggling to remain competitive with cheap natural gas and renewable power.

Quoted: “That growth reflects a combination of interesting technological and business approaches to advanced nuclear, a belief that there’s demand for this technology, and continued efforts by the U.S. Government to support innovation,” said Josh Freed, vice president for clean energy at Third Way.

One level deeper: The Trump administration backs nuclear power, and the technology is also important in addressing climate change because it doesn’t emit any carbon. America’s current fleet of nuclear plants provide roughly 60% of the country’s carbon-free electricity. The projects mapped are at various stages of development, with at least five companies working with federal regulators on the safety licensing process.

Yes, but: The obstacles facing a potential rush of new advanced nuclear reactors are aplenty:

  1. The Energy Department’s budget proposal cuts spending to its nuclear office.
  2. There’s no price on carbon emissions that would monetize nuclear's carbon-free profile.
  3. America’s stagnant electricity growth doesn't provide a lot of room for new power sources.
  4. The aforementioned competition from natural gas and renewables is a challenge for any new electricity source.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Science

The "war on nature"

A resident stands on his roof as the Blue Ridge Fire burned back in October in Chino Hills, Calif. Photo: Jae C. Hong/AP

Apocalyptic weather is the new normal because humans are "waging war on nature," the UN declared on Wednesday.

What they're saying: "The state of the planet is broken," said UN Secretary-General António Guterres, reports AP. “This is suicidal.”

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: Nursing homes are still getting pummeledU.S. could hit herd immunity by end of summer 2021 if Americans embrace virus vaccines, Fauci says.
  2. Politics: Pelosi, Schumer call on McConnell to adopt bipartisan $900B stimulus framework.
  3. World: U.K. clears Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for mass rollout — Putin says Russia will begin large-scale vaccination next week.
  4. Business: Investors are finally starting to take their money out of safe-haven Treasuries.
  5. Sports: The end of COVID’s grip on sports may be in sight.

Pelosi, Schumer call on McConnell to adopt bipartisan $900B stimulus framework

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Nov. 20. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to use a $908 billion bipartisan coronavirus relief framework as a basis for jumpstarting negotiations.

Why it matters: The framework, introduced by a group of bipartisan senators on Tuesday, calls for significantly less funding than Pelosi had previously demanded — a sign that Democrats are ready to further compromise as millions of Americans endure economic hardship.