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The following information is presented by permission from the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) in Washington DC LINK: www.nei.org
Here is a strong indicator of nuclear energy’s contribution to the grid over the last decade. From 1990 through 2003, the increased efficiency of upgrades, turbines, etc.of current U.S. nuclear power plants equated to adding about 23 new 1,000-megawatt power plants to the nation’s electricity portfolio. That’s enough electricity to continuously power 23 cities the size of Boston or Seattle. There are no other energy sources that can claim such advancements.
US Nuclear: Combinations of new computer technology, new GE Turbine designs etc. have increased the efficiency of our “old Nuclear” power plants, imagine what new ones will produce!
Nuclear energy has the lowest production costs of any widely expandable fuel for electricity generation — even coal. It’s the most economical, evenwith all of nuclear energy’s external costs — such as the disposal of used nuclear fuel — included. And nuclear energy is not subject to the price volatility of natural gas, which is the third-leading source of electricity generation in the United States after coal and nuclear.
US Nuclear: For years the safety regulations of nuclear power plants have surpassed the government mandated regulations of ANY other type of energy production facility. It is time that we accept and streamline these regulations so that investment, construction and production can be realized in a “logical” timeframe not “political timeframe”.
Another compelling reason to consider building new nuclear plants is that nuclear energy helps keep our air clean. For example … in 2002, nuclear power plants prevented the emission of more than 690 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas. That is nearly three times the amount of carbon dioxide prevented by other forms of emission-free sources, hydro, geothermal, wind, solar. Nuclear energy accounts for nearly three-quarters of all emission-free electric generating capacity in the United States and is best positioned for future large-scale growth. Recent studies by the Earth Institute at Columbia University and Princeton have identified the benefits of nuclear energy for our future air quality and to mitigate climate change.
US Nuclear: Even with the full development of hydro, geothermal, wind and solar energy these sources cannot achieve the “productivity” numbers of Nuclear generation or the “cost productivity” of construction.
Given the solid performance of today’s nuclear energy plants, the industry is well-positioned for growth. The demand for new sources of electricity is dramatic. Government forecasts show that the United States will need an estimated 50 percent more electricity than we use today by 2025 … to maintain strong economic growth, maintain our quality of life and replace aging, power plants. Today’s largest power plants are in the 1,000-megawatt range, and it would take nearly 300 of those giants to meet the electricity demand created by reasonable economic growth … and that’s without factoring in the expected retirements of some of the older power plants. The tremendous demand argues for the optimum use of every source of electric generation, including nuclear energy. This is a prudent measure, consistent with U.S. economic and environmental targets to achieve a balanced, diverse energy portfolio. US Nuclear: No matter what we think, the expansion of electrical energy sources is an absolute MUST. No matter how much we conserve, expansion of industrial manufacturing MUST grow. Economical ENERGY is a KEY factor to keep our US manufacturing competitive on a worldwide basis or we will continue to see more US manufacturing moved offshore!
The growing demand for electricity in the years ahead requires that nuclear energy be available as an option when new baseload capacity is needed. That is the aim of the business strategy that is part of the industry framework for Vision 2020. This visionprojects the need for additional electricity from both new and existing nuclear plants to preserve the country’s current 30 percent share of emission-free electricity. We also need to double the electricity production of renewable energy sources to meet that target. We’re fully confident that new nuclear plants can compete with other forms of baseload generation. Our cost targets — $1,000 to $1,200 per kilowatt in overnight capital costs — are clearly competitive with other baseload options. Given this, we launched a program several years ago that will allow industry to build new nuclear capacity when it’s needed — by creating business conditions under which companies can order new nuclear plants. It aims to remove the uncertainties associated with licensing, regulating and financing new nuclear plants. The objective is to resolve all associated issues and shape a proven process so that companies can make the decision to order and build a plant when the timing is right. US Nuclear: In the past 20 years, licensing and regulation has been one of the biggest roadblocks to Nuclear expansion. This process must be streamlined in order to make the “Nuclear Business Climate” grow as it should. Nuclear growth is critical for the prevention of additional carbon dioxide elements released into the atmosphere by fossil fuel plants.
Other key studies have confirmed that new nuclear plants will be essential to meet the world’s demand for emission-free energy. These studies cite nuclear energy’s value in providing energy and containing greenhouse gases. They include an MIT/Harvard study and others by the Earth Institute at Columbia University and two Princeton University scientists. And leading environmentalists such as James Lovelock, the father of global warming theories, also contend that nuclear energy is essential in preserving a healthy planet for future generations. “By all means, let us use the small input from renewables sensibly,” he said in June 2004, “but only one immediately available source does not cause global warming and that is nuclear energy.” US Nuclear: As noted above leading environmentalists agree that Nuclear energy is vital to the protection of global warming in the future.
In addition, we have the backing for new nuclear plants, both in the policymaker community and among members of the American public. Our polling of the American public also demonstrates that solid support for today’s reactors forms the basis for higher levels of acceptability for new plants. It’s worth examining how we achieved that support. This graphic shows five distinct areas of support we believe build overall support for new reactors. This reflects survey data collected in October 2004. We also have witnessed a corresponding growth in support among American policymakers — on both sides of the political aisles, Republicans and Democrats alike (e.g., Senators Domenici and Landrieu). US Nuclear: Other US states and cities are hubs for advanced scientific technology development much of it driven by the university system. Nevada needs Nuclear Engineering put back into its university system. We have the “vacant land mass” to develop nuclear energy better than most other western states. Nearly 80% of the US nuclear plants are located in the Eastern US. US Nuclear Energy development would establish us as LEADERS in the western US. Every citizen and business would benefit from nuclear development. If we put our minds to reprocessing nuclear waste we could become the nations leading experts in processing as well!