The US Energy Information Administration's Annual Energy Outlook, 2013 takes a look at the future of nuclear energy in the US, with graphs showing that a continued role in the US electricity market is dependent on extending current 40-year operation licenses out to 60 years. The practice of propping up old reactors well into their geriatric years - where safety becomes ever more compromised - has been routinely adopted by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. But new construction, even if projects at Vogtle, Summer and Watts Bar reach completion, will make only a small contribution, just 5.5 GW of new capacity. Renewable energy is expected to add 104 GW of new capacity by 2040.
The report also notes that "Key drivers include changes in the price of natural gas as well as the possible future operation of existing nuclear power plants beyond the 60-year period for which most units are currently licensed." With nuclear construction costs high and natural gas prices low, new nuclear construction is unattractive. More.