Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Fred Strohl (strohlhf@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations


Audio Spot: Nuclear power may be staging comeback

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., May 27, 2005 — With the United States' demand for electricity expected to double over the next 20 years, the nuclear power option is gaining strength.

Nuclear plant construction has been non-existent for over 30 years. Jim Rushton, who oversees the nuclear technology program at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, said the time is right for new nuclear power.

"When you compare the cost of new nuclear plants to new fossil plants - particularly coal-fired plants that need extensive pollution controls - nuclear is becoming very competitive," Rushton said.

Nuclear plant construction in Europe is strong, according to Rushton, who added the United States might not be too far behind.

"New nuclear plants are being ordered in Europe for the first time in many decades," Rushton said. "There are new efforts under way in the United States to look at new designs, and there are some expectations of new orders in the United States for nuclear plants within the next few years."

Deputy Secretary of Energy Clay Sell has called for increased investment in the construction of nuclear power plants to meet the growing demand for clean, safe energy in the United States.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy.