Mr Biden announced plans to spend $2 trillion over four years to significantly escalate the use of clean energy in the transportation, electricity and building sectors, part of a suite of sweeping proposals designed to create economic opportunities and strengthen infrastructure while also tackling climate change.
Campaign officials said they expected to achieve the goal by encouraging the installation of “millions of new solar panels and tens of thousands of wind turbines,” but also keeping in place existing nuclear energy plants.
Mr Biden backed nuclear power, unlike some of his Democratic primary opponents. He called for increasing research on developing power technologies like hydrogen and grid-size storage to store power from solar and wind, overcoming a key drawback of those carbon-free energy sources now.
Six commercial nuclear plants have shut down in the US since 2013 and 12 more are scheduled to retire within seven years.
The civilian nuclear energy industry has called for market reforms to help the nuclear industry and has long argued that nuclear energy’s contribution to energy security and grid stability should be rewarded.
Maria Korsnick, president and chief executive officer of the Washington-based Nuclear Energy Institute has said the status quo, in which markets recognise only short-term price signals and ignore the essential role of nuclear generation, will lead to more premature shutdowns of well-run nuclear facilities. “Once closed, these facilities are shuttered forever,” she said.