How the nuclear industry is positioning itself in the modern energy market is an important part of the future of nuclear power. The reliability that nuclear energy brings to the energy mix is critical. Especially considering all the various “new” energy sources that are quickly becoming more readily available. It’s a very real question that consumers and communities are asking, what place does nuclear have in the future of energy?
The answer is that nuclear energy has been America’s workhorse for 6 decades of constant, reliable, carbon-free power to millions across the country. It has supplied roughly a fifth of America’s power each year since 1990. While it’s true that the industry faces real challenges when it comes to how the world perceives nuclear energy, there are also many documented benefits to nuclear power. Here’s the reality of how nuclear power compares to other types of energy currently in use today.
1. Nuclear Energy is Safe and Reliable
Nuclear energy is documented as the safest, most reliable, most concentrated energy source on the market today. The reliable nature of nuclear energy makes it a real competitor against renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. These energy sources struggle with providing a steady and reliable source of energy as they depend so heavily on environmental factors. In comparison, nuclear provides a consistent, predictable, and reliable load balancing energy source that can meet the growing demand for electricity at scale.
2. Nuclear Energy Provides Emission Free Power
The importance of nuclear energy and renewables is critical to a clean energy future. It’s clear that the value of nuclear energy brings to the energy market is firmly based on its overall lack of carbon emissions. As energy demand increases across our country and across the world, nuclear energy is a cornerstone of a balanced and carbon mitigated energy mix.
The environmental impact of electricity generation varies significantly depending on the power source. Coal, for example, is the dirtiest form of power, producing vast amounts of greenhouse gas emissions that exacerbate atmospheric pollutants. In comparison, nuclear energy has one of the lowest rates of greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity generation market. Greenhouse gas emissions released by nuclear power facilities are comparable with those attributed to hydroelectric and wind power facilities.
3. Nuclear is a Rapidly Evolving Technology
Today’s nuclear generation looks very different from the reactors and power plants of the past. In fact, ore new plants are under construction worldwide than at any time since the 1990s. Companies are developing advanced reactors that are cheaper, smaller and simpler to build than current designs. The first Generation 3+ plants, including the AP1000, APR1400, and EPR, are coming online, and many others are under construction. Market distortions that forced some plants to close early are being addressed in several jurisdictions so other plants don’t face the same fate. These changes in the look and the capability of nuclear power are exciting within the industry, but most importantly designed to meet the needs of a growing customer base in safer and more community-friendly ways.
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