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Political Impacts of Nuclear Energy

Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant_060422A
[Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant, Arizona - US Department of Energy]

- Overview

In the United States, Republicans are more likely than Democrats to favor nuclear energy. Two-thirds of Republicans say they favor more nuclear power plants to generate electricity, compared with half of Democrats. 

Republicans have increased funding for nuclear power initiatives at the Department of Energy. Senators have called on their Democratic counterparts to embrace nuclear as a critical component of a diversified energy strategy. 

Democratic-leaning environmental groups have long opposed nuclear power, citing concerns about the environmental risks. 

The federal government supports the commercial nuclear industry in the following areas: 

  • Nuclear research, development, and demonstration
  • Nuclear regulation to protect the public's health and safety
  • Enrichment of uranium to make it usable in commercial nuclear power plants


The use of nuclear energy for electricity production creates the need for a regulatory framework, which is often absent. This is particularly the case in developing countries.


- Political Impacts of Nuclear Energy

According to a March 2023 Gallup poll, 55% of Americans favor nuclear energy and 44% oppose it. This is the highest level of support in a decade. In 2020, 43% of Americans favored more nuclear power plants. 

However, Americans are more likely to favor solar power (82%) and wind power (75%) than nuclear power. 

Opponents of nuclear power say it poses threats to people and the environment. They point to studies that question if it will ever be a sustainable energy source. Opponents cite health risks, accidents, and environmental damage associated with uranium mining, processing, and transport. 

Supporters of nuclear power say it improves air quality and dramatically reduces pollution. Nuclear plants also generate long-term jobs and a higher demand for skilled labor than other energy technologies.


- Political Impacts of Renewable Energy

Renewable energy has many political impacts, including:  
  • Economic benefits: The renewable energy industry creates jobs, business opportunities, and tax revenue. In 2022, solar and wind energy are expected to add more than 60% of the US power grid's capacity.
  • Political views: According to a 2020 study, Democrats support renewable energy more than Republicans for reducing global warming. Democrats are also more likely to say that solar and wind power are better for the environment than other energy sources.
  • Federal tax incentives: The federal government offers tax credits for qualifying renewable energy projects and equipment. These include the Renewable Electricity Production Tax Credit (PTC), the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), the Residential Energy Credit, and the Modified Accelerated Cost-Recovery System (MACRS).
  • Transmission: Transmission for renewable power can be unpopular, especially when the power passes through an area without directly benefiting local residents.
  • Clean energy investments: The White House's agenda for clean energy investments includes incentives for manufacturing across the clean energy supply chain, investments in demonstration projects, and loans and loan guarantees.
The White House has set a target of 80% renewable energy generation by 2030 and 100% carbon-free electricity five years later.

[More to come ...]

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