The American electricity industry is in the midst of “wrenching disruption and sustained” stress thanks to the country’s new reliance on gas, according to a leading figure in the US nuclear market.

Richard Myers, vice-president of policy development at the US Nuclear Energy Institute, said that the ‘dash for gas’ in the US – on the back of the shale boom – had turned the country’s energy focus too far in favour of gas.

“Fuel and technology diversity serves as a hedge against supply disruption… and that diversity is at serious risk,” he told the World Nuclear Association’s Annual Symposium in London.

He said since 1996 there had been a significant drop in the number of new coal and nuclear plants in the US while gas projects had rocketed: “There is something seriously wrong with this picture,” he added.

He said that while the US gas resource base was undeniably huge, the country did not have the means to put in place the necessary infrastructure to access it to secure a steady supply. This, he claimed, was bad news for the American energy mix.