Nuclear Plants Are Powerful Economic Engines
Increasing nuclear electricity production will decrease our carbon footprint
February 3, 2012
The American Nuclear Society, a non-profit professional society of nuclear scientists and engineers dedicated to the peaceful use of the atom, supports the expansion of nuclear energy use. Our 11,600 members are proud to support all nuclear science and technologies, including power generation. Our members represent diverse technical backgrounds covering the full range of science and engineering disciplines.
We strongly believe that nuclear energy for the production of baseload electricity in the United States should be expanded. The technology solves a host of problems facing us.
Today, nuclear energy produces nearly 20 percent of the nation's electricity with no carbon emissions, so increasing production will decrease our carbon footprint. We must remember that battery-powered automobiles promise to reduce both oil imports and greenhouse gases. An electrical powered car, however, is still using fossil fuels, because much of the electricity in the U.S. derives from coal-fueled plants.
Demand for electricity will continue to increase significantly as we move to a more electrified world. As populations move to higher-density locations—cities—and as we move toward a more digital society, we expect and demand access to reliable electricity, 24/7. A stable baseload source is the only solution—the question is from what source.
While our energy portfolio must remain diverse, there is simply no room for more coal-generated power and its demonstrated health impacts. Nuclear energy is the only source whose technology is proven and is becoming better, safer, and more efficient. In fact, nuclear energy is as safe—or safer—than any other form of large-scale energy available. The design for a new generation of nuclear facilities, just approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, delivers an unprecedented level of safety and economy.
Finally, a nuclear facility, from construction through operation, is a tremendous economic engine. The construction of only one new plant will initially create 1,700 jobs with the promise of additional highly paid, skilled employment, and eventually will generate $400 million to $600 million in revenue for the community. Interestingly, the citizens residing near nuclear facilities are those most supportive of nuclear power in the United States.
We have this chance to provide a safe and constant source of energy for our children and our grandchildren, using a fundamental energy source of the universe and one that produces good jobs without air emissions. We should jump at the chance!