When the weather outside is frightful, leading nuclear energy activist says it is nuclear energy that keeps us warm.
In a recent news release, Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) Vice President Richard Myers said, “During periods of extreme weather, nuclear energy’s importance to the U.S. electric grid and to the nation becomes more apparent than ever. Our nuclear energy facilities reliably generate large amounts of electricity, and they do so without the price volatility that can hammer customers financially.”
One of the attractive qualities of nuclear as an energy source is reliability even in extreme weather. Fossil fuel systems suffer during extreme cold as coal stacks and diesel generators freeze. Gas lines become stressed to keep up with rising demand. Meanwhile, all electricity providers are stressed when demand grows on the grid as it takes more power to keep homes at comfortable temperatures.
Nuclear, however, thrives in cold weather and was widely credited with keeping the lights on during the 2014 “polar vortex.” Following the storm, Forbes proclaimed, “Polar Vortex – Nuclear Saves the Day.” During the 2014 winter storm, the nation’s nuclear fleet performed at 95 percent capacity, far outpacing any other form of generation.
Nuclear performed similarly well during the recent cold weather that gripped the country and shutdown New York. As the Clean And Safe Energy (CASE) coalition explained, “Nuclear energy facilities operated at electric-sector leading levels of reliability in the face of freezing artic temperatures, helping to keep our homes warm and businesses humming. The value of America’s 99 nuclear energy facilities becomes ever clearer when our electric grid is strained.”
This is just one reason why nuclear is such a crucial component of a diverse energy portfolio.