Upcoming EPA regulations could pave way to more nuclear power

June 10, 2015

This coming fall, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to overhaul its air pollution regulations by reducing their ground-level ozone standards from 84 parts per million to somewhere between 65 and 70. The pressure these regulations would place on coal plants might be the opportunity that nuclear and renewable power need to get a proper foothold in the American energy industry.

Right now, nuclear energy professionals are gathered in San Antonio for the American Nuclear Society's annual conference. Their opening remarks commented on the EPA's upcoming regulation. Renewable energy, they said, isn't practical in large swaths of the country, leaving nuclear power as the only clean, reliable, and safe option in those regions. 

During the conference Doyle Beneby, the CEO of utility company CPS Energy, claimed that his company remained committed to nuclear power. CPS is currently a 40 percent stakeholder in the South Texas Nuclear Project, a plant that produces a little over one third of CPS' total electricity. Beyond just maintaining that stake, Beneby says the company plans to invest close to $400 million at the site, contributing to the funding of two more reactors. 

"Clearly," says Beneby, "nuclear will play an important role in the energy dynamic of the United States going forward."

Tom Fanning, the CEO of Southern Company, mentioned that while the current administration might veto important nuclear legislation currently before congress, the United States needs to be in command of its own "energy future," adding that "If we can provide energy security, we can promote national security and promote economic security."

Regardless of how the situation develops, environmental consultants can help companies in a variety of industries better understand and comply with EPA regulations.