A single nuclear reactor will cut carbon dioxide emissions by 16 million tons a year compared to a coal fired plant with similar electricity output. As stated by President Obama, building one of the new reactors will have the equivalent impact of taking 3.5 million cars off the road.
Many companies and countries are holding their breath for an international price on carbon. Such a price would make carbon offsets possible. A price on Carbon would put low or carbon free technologies at an immediate advantage, including nuclear. Wasman Markey legislation includes carbon capture for coal plants and carbon offsets.
Waxman Markey legislation
This bill has been passed in the House. The bill now goes on to be voted on in the Senate. Keep in mind that debate may be taking place on a companion bill in the Senate, rather than on this particular bill. [Last Updated: Feb 28, 2010 6:05PM]
Good summary of major points of the legislation: http://www.grist.org/article/2009-06-03-waxman-markey-bill-breakdown/