These 3 States Love Nuclear

Nuclear power has been a hot-button issue over the past few years due to safety concerns and energy security concerns in the U.S. and abroad. Despite what many thought, the U.S. isn't just holding steady with nuclear power, it's expanding.

The loan guarantee program that started in 2005 to promote alternative energy sources was expanded in the 2009 Recovery Act and has more funding for nuclear power than any other power source.  Yes, the same program that provided a loan guarantee to Solyndra and Tesla Motors is providing billions in loan guarantees and direct government loans to expand the nuclear industry. Plus, the government limits the liability a nuclear plant owner has in the case of a disaster.

So, which states are going all-in on nuclear power? The leaders might surprise you.

The top three nuclear states
The state with by far the most nuclear capacity is Illinois with 11.5 GW out of 43.8 GW of capacity, or 26% of the power available in the state. The area around Chicago is densely populated with nuclear plants, making it the largest nuclear state.  

Second on the list is Pennsylvania, the same state that's producing cheap natural gas that's making coal and nuclear power a tough sell economically and politically. 9.6 GW of the state's capacity is nuclear, 21% of the 45.8 GW in the state.

Third on the list is South Carolina, which has 6.5 GW, or 27% of its 24.1 GW of capacity from nuclear power. South Carolina is actually the regional hub of nuclear power in the U.S., with neighboring North Carolina and Georgia also in the top eight states for nuclear power. In fact, the southeastern U.S. is going to get even more of its power from nuclear in coming years.  

A nuclear renaissance... or not?
In Georgia, Southern Company (NYSE: SO  ) is building two new 1.1 GW reactors at its Vogtle nuclear facility, the first built in the U.S. in 30 years. When operational, they'll bring the state into fourth place in the U.S.  

But the nuclear renaissance some predicted won't bring much more capacity to the industry. NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG  ) gave up on a $10 billion plant last year and took a $481 million financial hit in the process. UniStar's request for a license to operate a third reactor at Calvert Cliffs, Md., was denied this year and that project appears to be all but dead. Warren Buffett's MidAmerican Energy also abandoned a nuclear power plant proposal this year, so momentum for the industry isn't strong.

Nuclear isn't going anywhere
Nuclear power may not be expanding as rapidly as some hoped but it's still a clean-burning energy source and the power plants in operation will be there for years to come. Nuclear power accounts for just under 10% of the power-generating capacity in the U.S., only behind natural gas and coal for power sources.

With the swelling of the global middle class, energy consumption will skyrocket over the next few decades, but nuclear power may not be the winner because of low-cost alternatives. We've picked one incredible energy company that presents a rare "double-play" investment opportunity today. We're calling it "The One Energy Stock You Must Own Before 2014," and you can uncover it today, totally free, in our premium research report. Click here to read more.


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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On June 30, 2013, at 11:00 AM, NamEraVet wrote:

    Clean energy? Here is a suggestion. How do you think it would work out? Let's power cars with carbon monoxide. True, just a trace of the gas over a period of a few minutes will kill everyone in the car or bus, but because it doesn't smell, it is "clean" energy.

    Nuclear power doesn't smell, so it is "clean" energy. There is no smell in St. George Utah. They were down wind of the government tests of the atomic bomb, and were assured there was no danger from radioactivity. It's clean. It doesn't smell. They believed the folks in the government who were telling them that. How did it work out after so many people started getting sick? See the two books: "Fallout" and "Justice Downwind" that describe the effects of "clean" radioactivity. It wasn't nice.

    However "clean" nuclear power plants are, the industry has created uranium mine dumps that spew out radioactive dust all over western USA. Stand outside in Cheyenne, Wyoming on a windy day, and you are getting a maximum allowable dose of radioactivity. Vast areas of Navaho land are now radioactive from the mines. There are leaks in the ground in Hanford that are getting a lot of people worried according to a recent article in the journal "Science." The government (us) foots the bill for clean-up and storage of this "clean" waste to the tune of billion dollar subsidies to the industry.

    The industry doesn't have to worry about damage downwind from a plant accident. The government will pick up the tab. Have a $100,000 house. Not to worry. In case of an accident, you will get $5,000 from Uncle Sam, and you better get out of the place as fast as you can.

    I am going to build a concrete airplane, and want to insure it against mid-air crashes. Think any insurance company would be willing to insure it? Of course, the actuaries love things like that. But they won't touch nuclear power plants. Remember, these guys just look at the odds. You can't believe the Sierra Club, they are against nuclear power. You can't believe the Department of Energy, they are for it. The insurance companies don't care one way or the other. They just want to make money. That is why the government, with your tax dollars, has to step in and bail the nuclear industry out.

    The whole industry is crazy. See the article by Laura Nader titled "Thinking New About

    Energy."

  • Report this Comment On June 30, 2013, at 5:13 PM, AuntieNuke wrote:

    Nuclear - clean?!?!????? Fool, ya gotta be fooling! Tailings from uranium mining continue to poison those in proximity and downwind decades after mining first began and will continue to do so for centuries. Then there's transport of radioactive materials over public roads and rail through populated areas -- what could possibly go wrong? Refining of uranium into fuel further expands the areas contaminated with radiation. Transport again to reactors. And when the fuel is "spent" - meaning unable to be used in reactors any more - it still must be stored in fuel pools for five years before it can be put in any kind of longer term storage, none of which will outlast plutonium's half-life of 24,000 years, which means it will be radioactive and dangerous to life for 480,000 years. And oh yes, then there's the decommissioning of the radioactive facility, which has never yet been successfully achieved. Nuclear is a disaster that's already playing out in its growing contamination of land, water and our genetic material. And that's without a catastrophic accident, something with which we flirt regularly. Do your frickin' research! www.NuclearHotseat.com/blog - Jon Stewart-style weeky podcast on all things anti-nuclear; http://www.totalwebcasting.com/view/?id=hcf - Symposium on the impact of Fukushima Daiichi w/scientists, epidemiologists, researchers.

  • Report this Comment On June 30, 2013, at 9:30 PM, sciencedave wrote:

    Nuclear energy has never been either "clean" or cheap as some people may believe. This needs to be explained and communicated to the public. The hidden costs have been absorbed by the government and therein the taxpayers. It amounts to a bigger bailout financially than the banking bailout, TARP, and GM. The huge cleanup costs have yet to be realized as there is no known remedy invented yet. Yucca mountain disposal of waste has been put on hold since the science projected it would not work.

  • Report this Comment On June 30, 2013, at 9:41 PM, GuestPost wrote:

    The American people don't love nuclear energy.

    A recent Gallup poll says over 70% of Americans want more WIND and SOLAR energy.

    Nuclear energy was at the bottom of the poll.

    Anyone thinking of investing in nuclear energy should look at this slideshow which shows what radiation from the Chernobyl meltdown has done to children:

    http://enenews.com/prepare-yourself-photographer-like-a-diff...

    Someone with a conscience couldn't support an energy source that can do this to humanity.

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