From the time that the first commercial nuclear reactor went online in Shippingport, PA in 1957, the nuclear industry in the U.S. has expanded to include 104 reactors at 65 power plants, spread across 31 states. With nuclear power accounting for over 19 percent of our domestic electricity generation, the U.S. is the world’s largest producer of atomic energy, producing 30.7 percent of the global total of nuclear power.
Out of the 104 reactors, 35 are boiling water reactors (BWR) and 69 are pressurized water reactors (PWR). Of the BWR plants, 14 have one reactor, nine have two reactors, one has three reactors. Of the PWR plants, 15 have one reactor, 24 have two reactors, and two have three reactors. All together in 2010 they produced 807 billion kWh.
Following a 30-year period in which few new reactors were built, it is expected that 4-6 new units may come on line by 2020, the first of those resulting from 16 licence applications made since mid-2007 to build 24 new nuclear reactors.
The Federal Government assumes primary responsibility for nuclear energy questions. The NRC and DOE share most authority over nuclear affairs. The NRC is responsible for licensing and regulating nuclear materials and facilities, and the DOE has the central responsibility for coordination and management of research and development of all energy sources.