Five nuclear reactors have been shuttered in the United States in recent months — signaling a “rapid-fire” industry retreat in 2013 that will only get worse, according to a recent study.

The closures are not the only sign of a death knell, writes Matt Cooper of the Institute for Energy and the Environment, who points out that expansion projects were recently canceled at several other reactors and that 38 U.S. reactors also are at risk for early retirement.

Copper, an economic analyst with the Maryland-based institute, says the decline is the result of several factors, including nuclear power’s inability to compete with alternative energy sources and a sharp decline in demand as a result of the increased efficiency of electricity-consuming devices.