Nuclear Energy Has Been Quietly Powering America

Nuclear energy has been silently supplying America with clean, carbon-free electricity for six decades.

It might not immediately come to mind when you’re heating or cooling your home, and perhaps that’s intentional.

Its reliability has made it easy for us to overlook.

Were you aware that nearly 20% of the nation’s electricity is generated from nuclear power annually?

If not, it’s time to familiarize yourself with nuclear energy.

Here are five quick facts to bring you up to date:

According to the Department of Energy,

1. Nuclear power plants produced 775 billion kilowatt hours of electricity in 2023

U.S. nuclear power plants generated 775 billion kilowatthours of electricity in 2023. That’s enough to power more than 72 million homes! U.S. reactors have supplied around 20% of the nation’s power since the 1990s and are also the largest producer of nuclear energy in world.

2. Nuclear power provides nearly half of America’s clean energy

Nuclear energy provided 48% of America’s carbon-free electricity in 2023, making it the largest domestic source of clean energy.

Nuclear power plants do not emit greenhouse gases while generating electricity.

They produce power by boiling water to create steam that spins a turbine. The water is heated by a process called fission, which makes heat by splitting apart uranium atoms inside a nuclear reactor core. 

3. Nuclear energy is one of the most reliable energy sources in America

Nuclear power plants operated at full capacity more than 93% of the time in 2023—making it the most reliable energy source in America. That’s about 1.5 to 2 times more reliable as natural gas (58.8%) and coal (42.1%) plants, and roughly 2.5 to 3.5 times more reliable than wind (33.5%) and solar (23.3%) plants.

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