For the past several decades, the United States has been the poster child for the ailing state of the nuclear industry. The nuclear sector in the U.S. is plagued by aging infrastructure, mounting debts, dependence on government handouts, and the staggering cost of maintaining spent nuclear fuel. What’s more, it’s had to compete with the homegrown shale revolution, and expensive nuclear is simply no match for the tidal wave of cheap shale oil and gas that came flooding out of the West Texas Permian Basin. Last month the nuclear sector got a small but certainly not insignificant state-sponsored lifeline when the the Department of Energy (DOE) announced that “it would be awarding more than $65m in nuclear energy research, crosscutting technology development, facility access, and infrastructure awards.” And now, just this week, there’s even better news for U.S. nuclear power. “After hemming and hawing for decades, the United States is taking some big steps in developing advanced nuclear reactor technologies,” Forbes reported on Wednesday. The article is referring to yet another major announcement from the DOE that took place just last week. The department will be awarding $80 million each–and that’s just in initial funding–to two different teams under the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP).
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