Nuclear Energy Benefits The Environment

By: Lexi Corral, Business Communications Specialist
Jul 26, 2019 9:30 AM ET
Blog

Nuclear Energy is Clean Energy

Georgia Power recently announced continued progress in the construction of the two-reactor expansion to its Plant Vogtle nuclear power plant. Bechtel is proud to partner with Georgia Power to deliver this important project – the only ongoing construction of new nuclear generation currently in the United States.

Vogtle is important because nuclear energy is important. It’s clean, efficient, safe, and must play a role in our energy future.

What is nuclear energy?

Understanding the science behind nuclear power is the first step to understanding its important role in our clean energy future.

There are various types of energy used to power our cities to heat and cool our homes. Nuclear is the most misunderstood and nuclear energy is clean energy, meaning it does not release harmful pollutants into the air.

Nuclear power plants split uranium atoms inside a reactor in a process called fission. At a nuclear energy facility, the heat from fission is used to produce steam, which spins a turbine to generate electricity. So, now that you know what nuclear energy is, here is why its important.

Efficiency

Nuclear is the most efficient energy source currently available.

Solar, hydro, wind, and geothermal electric sources also are emission-free, but nuclear currently supplies more electricity than all of them combined, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute. Further, nuclear is the only source that can produce large amounts of carbon-free electricity 365 days a year, keeping our electric grids stable, even when the sun is not shining, or the wind is not blowing.

The growing acceptance of electric vehicles such as cars, trucks, mass transit, and even aircraft will further tax the system.

“Nuclear is the only emission-free electricity source, renewable or otherwise, that meets the U.S. energy demands with large-capacity power generation,” said Cathy Otis, senior architect and Women in Nuclear (WIN) board member at Bechtel. “By investing in nuclear power, you are saying ‘yes’ to reducing greenhouse gases and making progress to hit our climate goals.”

Clean Air and Climate

Nuclear energy plays an essential role in our climates clean energy future. Nuclear emits no greenhouse gases.

In fact, a study by scientists from NASA and Columbia University estimated that nuclear energy has prevented more than 1.8 million deaths due to air pollution between 1971 and 2009 and could prevent 7 million more through 2050.

Nuclear Energy Creates Jobs

Not only does nuclear energy protect the climate, it also provides nearly 100,000 high-quality, long-term jobs in the Unites States alone. A nuclear power plant job site can provide high-paying jobs that generate billions of dollars in economic activity along with providing consumers and businesses with reliable electricity at a low cost.

Bechtel has been working on completing the construction of Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4, located in Waynesboro, Georgia. When finished, the four units will be the largest generator of carbon-free electricity in the U.S. It also will have a major economic impact on the state of Georgia, bringing lower rates for customers and creating hundreds of new jobs.

Vogtle’s workforce has reached an all-time high and approximately 8,000 workers are now on site, according to the recent announcement from Georgia Power.

Let’s take action by learning more about why nuclear matters so we can preserve our nuclear power plants and move our world toward a low-carbon economy.