Opinion

Nuclear power in America: Five reasons why it's safe and reliable

Though the crisis at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant appears to be stabilizing, the United States is stepping up inspections of the country’s 104 nuclear reactors. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission today announced that inspectors will soon visit all US reactors to ensure they can withstand the kind of “severe accident” that led to Japan’s emergency. That emergency has caused many Americans to wonder about the future of nuclear power. Is it safe and dependable? Yes, says Tony Pietrangelo, chief nuclear officer and senior vice president of the Nuclear Energy Institute. Here’s why:

2. Nuclear is reliable

Today, the United States depends on nuclear energy for 20 percent of the electricity that powers the country’s economy and strengthens energy security. Our 104 nuclear power plants operate on average more than 90 percent of the time. In comparison, hydro, wind, and solar have average capacity factors in the range of 24 to 30 percent. This makes nuclear energy one of the most reliable sources of electricity in the world. As we plan for our future, we must continue to utilize and build upon this historically reliable supply of electricity.

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