Washington Subsidies Not Necessary to Rebuild the U.S. Nuclear Industry

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The potential market for new nuclear reactors and the services necessary to keep them running is so large that the private sector is already beginning to expand. Those that invest wisely today will be the ones best positioned to take advantage of the emerging nuclear markets in the future.

...The problem is that the United States has not ordered the construction of a new reactor since the mid-1970s, and today does not have the industrial infrastructure to build even a single reactor with all-domestic components. The U.S. industrial and intellectual base atrophied as the nuclear industry declined over the past three decades. Large forging production, heavy manufacturing, specialized pip ing, mining, fuel services, and skilled labor all must be reconstituted. Simply expanding domestic capa bilities will not be enough, however, to support a broad nuclear expansion. The U.S. will also need to maximize its access to foreign capabilities and human resources to achieve CO2 reductions with nuclear energy.

Washington Help Is Not Necessary

Having recognized the discrepancy between the capacity required to support a broad nuclear expan sion and what exists today, many in Congress have sought to take action to grow America's nuclear industrial base. Unfortunately, many of their pro posals are little more than industry handouts. They largely consist of taxpayer-subsidized workforce programs and manufacturing-expansion tax breaks.

But these programs are not necessary. The potential market for new nuclear reactors and the services necessary to keep them running is so large that the private sector is already beginning to expand. Those that invest wisely today will be the ones best positioned to take advantage of the emerging nuclear markets in the future. Federal government interven tion only distorts the risk of these companies, caus ing them to either make investments that they would not have otherwise, or discounting the costs for investments that they would have made anyway. Either case leads to an inefficient marketplace that would ultimately lead to a weaker overall industry...

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