Add Fortune to the growing list of media outlets that are taking notice of all the action in the nuclear energy industry (subscription required):
It took a month for the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor to cool off in 1979 after it partially melted in America's most famous nuclear accident. The emotional heat was a lot more intense; it took 25 years to fade. But at long last it has mostly dissipated, and now, very quietly, nuclear power is on its way back in the U.S. and around the world. And—it must be said—that's a good thing.
More than 30 years after the last U.S. reactor was built, three major U.S. utilities have applied for early site permits for new reactors—Dominion in Virginia, Entergy in Mississippi, and Exelon in Illinois. Two large consortiums of major players in the field, including utilities, reactor makers, and construction companies, have started down another avenue of the complex licensing process, applying for construction and operating licenses. These licenses and other regulatory requirements take years, so the first watt of new nuclear energy won't be coursing through any wires before 2015. But the process has begun, which not so long ago would have seemed unthinkable.
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