NRG Energy has applied to build the first two nuclear reactors in the United States in 29 years.

The company, based in Princeton, N.J., on Tuesday submitted the request to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. If approved, the reactors would be part of an existing station in Texas.

NRG's move has fired up speculation that the application could be the first of many.

And also on Tuesday, USEC (NYSD: USU), a company that sells uranium for nuclear-power plants, announced it would offer additional shares to raise $673.1 million. Share prices rose 58 cents to $10.34 on the news.

It's fair to say that nuclear power, like so-called clean coal, has not been fully accepted into the greentech fold. Could these news items count as signs that this might be changing?

While nuclear power has been embraced by countries such as France, Finland and China - and even by the Ukraine, site of the disastrous Chernobyl accident - it has remained controversial in the United States.

A number of environmental groups have taken a stand against the energy form. Greenpeace, one such group, calls the power "an unacceptable risk to the environment and to humanity."

But while some say nuclear power doesn't count as clean energy at all, others - including Gwyneth Cravens, author of "Power to Save the World," a book exploring nuclear power expected to be available Oct. 30 - say it is too important a source of clean energy to be overlooked.

Nuclear power is "a feasible way to address the causes of global warming on a large scale," according to the book description.

At a session at the Solar Power 2007 conference in Long Beach, Calif., Tuesday, CNN founder Ted Turner said he expects nukes will probably be part of the package as the world addresses global warming.

"It's still got a lot of danger associated with it and we still have to figure out what to do with the hazardous waste," he said. "But I would rather build a nuclear plant than a coal-burning plant. I think we should never build another coal-burning plant ever."