June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
Nuclear and Radiological
12.1115.1 - 12.1115.10
NUCLEAR POWER: MUCH SWEETER THE SECOND TIME AROUND
It’s time we take the wraps off the major successes achieved in the nuclear power industry. Almost 20% of the electricity generated in the United States comes from nuclear power plants. All over the world (in 30 countries) nuclear power is a low-cost, secure, safe, dependable, and environmentally friendly form of electric power generation. Nuclear plants in these countries are built in five to seven years using technology developed in the US, with good performance and safety records.
Nuclear fuel (uranium) is readily available in America. This treatise addresses the successes experienced by the nuclear industry over the last half century, and makes the case that this reliable, cost-competitive source of electric power can help support the economic engine of the country, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, and minimize our dependence on foreign oil.
The economics of nuclear power have changed dramatically in the new environment of deregulation in the US. Seventeen states with 50 nuclear plants enjoy a deregulated nuclear operating atmosphere. There were 54 utility companies operating nuclear plants in the US in 1989. There are only 26 now, and this number will probably decrease as more states deregulate. This concentration of operating experience enhances plant performance.
Fossil fuel fired plants all over the world discharge about 800 tons of carbon dioxide every second (NEI, 2004). The Kyoto Protocol notwithstanding, we will surely soon require fossil fueled plants to install greenhouse minimizing equipment. This will more closely equate nuclear and fossil fuel economic analysis.
The alternatives for the generation of large quantities of electricity are narrowing. Nuclear power has proven its cost effectiveness and safe operation through its success over almost five decades. Herein are the data that support this contention.
There are over 440 nuclear power plants operating around the world, and another 28 under construction. Over 100 of these are in the United States. Only two other nations in the world have half that many (France and Japan).
Nuclear power generation technology utilized throughout the world is based primarily on that developed in the US. The nuclear industry has accumulated over 2800 reactor-years of operating experience in the US, and about 10,000 reactor-years worldwide. In all of those reactor-years of experience, the most serious operating problem in the United States was the 1979 Three Mile Island (TMI) failure. That failure resulted in damage to the power plant; but, no injuries to plant operators or the public.
Rezak, W. (2007, June), Nuclear Power: Much Sweeter The Second Time Around Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/1554
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