Nuclear Reactors: Keep Building ‘Em
October 7, 2011
Nuclear energy must be part of a low-carbon portfolio as the world seeks to meet electricity demand with cleaner sources of energy. Nuclear energy produces electricity for one in every five American homes and businesses. It is the only zero-carbon-emissions technology capable of providing reliable electricity on a massive scale.
The U.S. nuclear industry’s commitment to safety is reflected in two facts: In each of the past 10 years, 104 reactors in 31 states have produced electricity 24/7 at 90 percent or greater efficiency, with a commitment to layer-upon-layer of safety that exceeds federal requirements.
Nuclear plants alone won’t improve our air quality but coupled with renewable energy sources, they are a sustainable energy resource that will produce electricity for 60 years or more. As the auto industry develops electric vehicles, using carbon-free nuclear energy to charge them is a win-win for our environment and national security. One nuclear energy facility could charge more than 1.8 million electric cars each night and power mass transit, homes, and businesses during the day.
Public support for nuclear energy has decreased somewhat since the March accident in Japan, yet twice as many Americans favor nuclear energy than oppose it. (According to a 2011 Luntz Global survey, 50 percent favored, 21 percent opposed, and 29 percent were neutral.) Eighty percent of residents who live within 10 miles of nuclear-energy facilities favor the use of nuclear energy, and 50 percent strongly favor it, according to a Bisconti Research/Quest Global Research Group survey. That’s particularly true in communities in Georgia and South Carolina, where new, advanced reactor projects already have added nearly 3,500 jobs.