Washington Journal of Environmental Law & Policy


Carl Stenberg


The world is undergoing a global energy transition that will transform societies from fossil-fuel dependency towards clean energy solutions to meet future energy demand. An assumption is that nuclear energy, as a low-emissions energy source, could play a vital role in a clean, low-carbon future. Most reactors operating in the United States today are large custom-made reactors (LRs). Because of unfair risk- perceptions and the forced internalization of negative externalities, LRs and nuclear energy industry have long-struggled to compete with other energy sources.

The deployment of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) make up for many of the inherent problems that exist in the traditional focus of the nuclear industry. SMRs offer technological advancements and potential opportunities to overcome certain obstacles of the dreaded licensing process that has hampered nuclear growth in the United States. In the context of the current energy transition and the problems of conventional reactors, the case for the deployment of SMRs presents an opportunity for the next nuclear renaissance in the United States.

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