The Golden Age of nuclear energy in the United States has passed, and the accidents, if not disasters, at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima have damaged nuclear power’s rise in some parts of the world. And yet today, as Third Way’s Josh Freed illuminates in the latest Brookings Essay, a flood of young engineers are exploring safer and cleaner nuclear energy technologies as the best option for powering the world and addressing the looming threat of climate change. Yet as Freed demonstrates, advanced nuclear energy is too big, complex, and expensive to take off without significant political backing and changes in how the government supports innovation. If the U.S. doesn’t invest in advanced nuclear, he argues, it’s inevitable that another country will lead the way in this game-changing field. THE BROOKINGS ESSAY: In the spirit of its commitment to high-quality, independent research, the Brookings Institution has commissioned works on major topics of public policy by distinguished authors, including Brookings scholars. The Brookings Essay is a multi-platform product aimed to engage readers in open dialogue and debate. The views expressed, however, are solely those of the author. Available in ebook only.