11 Facts About Nuclear Energy

  1. Nuclear power plants use nuclear fission (the process of splitting an atom in two). Nuclear fusion (the process of combining atoms into one) has the potential to be safer energy because it is produced at a much lower temperature. However, nuclear fusion technology has not yet been developed to operate within a large power plant.
  2. Nuclear energy comes from uranium, a nonrenewable resource that must be mined.
  3. Every 18 to 24 months, a power plant must shut down to remove its spent uranium fuel, which has become radioactive waste.
  4. 13 percent of the world’s electricity comes from nuclear power plants that emit little to no greenhouse gases.
  5. Nuclear energy is being used in more than 30 countries around the world, and even powers Mars rovers.
  6. Nuclear power facilities can produce energy at a 91 percent efficiency rate 24/7, while maintaining the method with the lowest emissions.
  7. More than 70 percent of America’s emission-free power comes from nuclear energy sources.
  8. 1 in 5 households and business in the U.S. are electrically powered by nuclear energy.
  9. United States power plants produce 2,000 metric tons of radioactive waste every year.
  10. The building of new nuclear facilities creates between 1,400 and 3,500 jobs for construction workers, and after the facility is built maintains 400 to 700 permanent positions paying roughly 36 to 44 percent more than the average salary of the surrounding area.
  11. American nuclear energy facilities are the highest regulated plants in the world, subject to more scrutinous observations and regulations.

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Sources:  World Nuclear, Cas Energy, Department of Homeland Security, World Nuclear Association, Environmental Protection Agency