Nuclear backers hope for boost under Biden

Biden, who takes over on Jan. 20, wants to make curbing climate change one of the pillars of his administration and has supported research and development for advanced nuclear technologies.

"This is a great opportunity for our country to get our groove back after a number of years of challenges," said Dan Poneman, the president and chief executive officer of Centrus Energy Corp, a maker of fuel for advanced nuclear reactors that are expected to become commercial in coming years.

Nuclear reactors generate virtually emissions-free power which means they can form a part of getting to net-zero emissions from electricity generation in the fight to tackle global warming.

The United States has about 94 traditional reactors, out of the 440 worldwide, but rising costs have forced many plants to shut with five more expected to close this year in Illinois and New York.

Nuclear power faces competition from electricity stations that burn cheap, plentiful natural gas and from renewable power, including wind and solar.