Nuclear

Unlike most power plants that burn fossil fuels like coal and natural gas to produce electricity, nuclear power plants use the heat given off during fission to generate steam that turns huge turbine blades of electricity generators without creating greenhouse gas emissions.  Nuclear energy is the nation’s third largest producer of electricity, providing 20% of the nation's supply. The Department of Energy is working with the industry to promote the construction of new facilities while addressing issues of safe long-term waste disposal and transportation of nuclear materials.

Facts

  • There are 104 nuclear power plants in the U.S., with a combined total of over 100 million kWh installed capacity.
    Read more at the Energy Information Administration.
  • Nuclear power becomes an appealing option when it is compared with fossil fuels. Fuel costs make up 27 percent of the overall production costs of nuclear power plants. Fuel costs for coal, natural gas and oil, however, make up more than 75 percent of the production costs. The average fuel cost at a nuclear power plant in 2007 was 0.47 cents / kWh.
    Read more at the  Nuclear Energy Institute.
  • The increase in nuclear capacity and improved efficiency at nuclear power plants since 1993 represents one-third of voluntary carbon dioxide reductions from U.S. industries reported to the Energy Information Administration.
    Read more at the  Nuclear Energy Institute.
  • In 2007, nuclear energy accounted for about 74 percent of U.S. emission-free electricity generation.
    Read more at the Nuclear Energy Institute.
  • Nuclear power does not produce sulfur dioxide or nitrogen oxide, which both cause acid rain and smog.
    Read more at the Nuclear Energy Institute.
  • Nuclear energy is the most labor intensive electricity source, allowing for the creation of many jobs. Read more at the  University of California, Berkeley.