As the US struggles with high oil and gas prices and an overdependence on foreign suppliers, Washington is trying to get a reluctant nuclear power
industry to build itself up as an alternative.
The US energy department is providing incentives to encourage US power companies
to apply for licences to build the first new nuclear plants in 25 years. The
department is also considering building a plant of its own.
The 103 operational US nuclear power plants are so old they are being forced to
apply for 20-year extensions on their 40-year operating licences. Even though
they provide 20 per cent of the nation's energy, no provisions have been made to
continue that supply, much less increase it, once the plants are too old to