Nuclear Energy is America's Clean and Safe Energy Solution
Nuclear energy is a vital part of America’s energy portfolio, providing about 20 percent of the country’s electricity. In South Carolina, the Catawba, H.B. Robinson, Oconee and V.C. Summer nuclear energy facilities generate nearly 50 percent of the state’s electricity.
In March 2012, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) granted Combined Construction and Operating Licenses (COLs) to build two new reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station near Jenkinsville, S.C., marking only the second time licenses were granted for new nuclear facilities in 30 years. The new facilities represent the “next generation” of reactors and will help the state meet rising electricity demands and emissions reduction goals. The licenses also signify good news for the 11 combined license applications currently under NRC review for 18 new nuclear energy facilities.
Energy demands are expected to increase in South Carolina and across the United States in the years ahead. South Carolina has experienced an average growth in gross state product of 2 percent per year over the past five years, and will need new sources of power to keep its economy growing. Nationally, our country’s electricity needs are forecast to grow 22 percent by 2035. In order to meet future electricity demands, the United States will need to embrace a broad portfolio of American-produced energy solutions, and nuclear energy must be a part of that mix.
Nuclear energy is a cost effective and reliable energy source, producing affordable, on-demand electricity at an 89 percent production rate. Nuclear energy also supports clean air, land, water and wildlife, providing the majority of our nation’s emission-free energy. Safely serving as a workhorse of the country’s electric grid for more than four decades, nuclear energy is essential to our everyday lives.
Emission-free sources like nuclear energy can help meet the growing electricity needs of both South Carolina and the United States without polluting the air. Nuclear energy has perhaps the lowest impact on the environment of any other energy source and is one of the nation’s largest sources of electricity that produces virtually no greenhouse gases. Nuclear energy provides about 63 percent of the country’s emission-free electricity, helping to keep our air clean.
South Carolina’s York County has been designated as an area of “non-attainment” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This means that pollution levels persistently exceed national ambient air quality standards. South Carolina’s nuclear energy facilities supply 97 percent of the state’s emission-free power. In 2010 alone, these facilities improved air quality by avoiding the emission of:
Moving forward with the next generation of new nuclear energy facilities will ensure economic prosperity and the continued development of sustainable energy in South Carolina and across the U.S. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, additional capital investment to increase power output capacity at South Carolina’s nuclear energy facilities could supply five percent more electricity and avoid annual emmissions of 5,300 tons of SO2, 1,500 tons of NOx and 1.9 metric tons of CO2.
American-produced energy sources like nuclear power boost economic growth and support high-paying jobs that cannot be shipped overseas.