Nuclear energy continues to play an important role in generating the nation’s electricity. Today, 100 large commercial nuclear reactors in 31 states generate approximately 20 percent of the nation’s electricity and contribute 60 percent of the nation’s carbon-free electricity. The Energy Information Administration estimates that domestic electricity demand will increase by as much as 29 percent between 2012 and 2040 and public support for low-emission technologies may help drive the future of the domestic nuclear energy industry. But an aging reactor fleet, rising construction and maintenance costs, questions regarding safety, the lack of a national radioactive waste storage site and increasing pressure from low-cost natural gas pose challenges for the industry. Federal and state policymakers are examining ways to address the challenges faced by the nuclear energy industry while also taking advantage of this carbon-free energy source.