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“The new Congress will be more pro-nuclear than any … we’ve seen in decades,” said Don Gillispie, chief executive officer of Alternate Energy Holdings Inc., a Boise, Idaho-based company that seeks to build new nuclear power plants and desalination systems. “We should see a resurgence of the industry, the likes of which we haven’t seen in 30 years.”

There are skeptics.

Anti-nuclear power activists are already sounding the alarm about the costs of taxpayer-guaranteed loans and the environmental dangers of the “nuclear renaissance.”

In Vermont last week, Democrat Peter Shumlin won a close race for governor after promising to shut down the state’s troubled Yankee Nuclear Power Plant.

And fiscal conservatives, especially those among the “tea party” candidates sweeping into Congress, will have to decide which they find less objectionable: ongoing dependence on foreign oil or the federal subsidies sought by the nuclear industry.

“There are a lot of new faces coming to Congress,” said the NEI’s Mr. Kerekes. “So it’s a little difficult to handicap at this point. But if we want to have a meaningful impact on reducing greenhouse gases, there has to be a substantive role for nuclear energy going forward, just based on our track record.”