Industries rely on nuclear power

Electricity isn’t just used for flipping the lights on in your house, charging your newest smart phone or heating your home on a cold night. Electricity is critical to the operation of key industries such as manufacturing, food production, agriculture and computer products—industries that together form the foundation of the American economy.

The industrial sector in the United States consumes more energy than in any other country.  The chemical industry is the largest consumer of electricity in the United States. Chemical companies need the power of 17 large power plants annually to make chemicals used in agriculture, medicines and more.  In one year, the computer and electronics industry alone can consume the amount of electricity generated from four nuclear  power plants.  (Nuclear’s Reliability Vital for Industrial Users, NEI, August 2014)

US. Energy Information AdministrationSo how does nuclear power fit into the growing electricity needs of the industrial sector? Reliability of electricity is important to avoid interruptions of power that can halt the production of goods, damage equipment and result in economic losses.

The average nuclear energy facility produces power 90 percent of the time, providing large amounts of electricity around the clock. Nuclear power is not affected by changing weather and climate conditions or fluctuating fuel prices, allowing for reliable and low-cost electricity.

Industrial energy consumption is expected to grow an average of 1.4 percent each year through 2040. Nuclear power plants have the ability to meet this growing demand and power the industries that drive US and global economies.

Read more about global energy consumption from the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the unmatched reliability of nuclear power from the Nuclear Energy Institute.

Nuclear energy’s future is green

The Nuclear Energy Institute, a pro-nuclear power organization, recently launched a Future of Energy campaign. The purpose of this campaign is to promote the positive attributes of nuclear energy, including its crucial role in America’s diverse energy portfolio, and to highlight the work and experience of nuclear professionals.  

One aspect of the campaign is environmentally friendly nature of nuclear energy. While there are numerous advantages to nuclear energy, its role as the nation’s largest clean-air source of energy is arguably the most important.  

Nuclear energy leaves a small footprint.  While producing 20 percent of the nation’s energy, nuclear energy produces no carbon emissions. The U.S. Department of Energy and Energy Information Administration call nuclear “the single most effective emission control strategy for utilities…

The improvement to the environment is real and measurable.  It’s estimated that the use of nuclear energy facilities avoided approximately 590 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2013. This is the equivalent of the carbon dioxide released from 113 million cars. This is one reason why the US has been able to achieve its targets under the Kyoto Protocol.

It’s not just carbon dioxide. Nuclear energy also offsets about one million tons of sulfur dioxide from reaching the atmosphere in the United States each year. This reflects the amount released by 25 million cars. While nuclear energy isn’t allocated sulfur dioxide credits under the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendment, if it were, its estimated the credits would be worth an estimated $50 million.

The environmentally friendly aspect of nuclear is just one of the many reasons the industry remains poised to be a safe, efficient and reliable form of energy generation for years to come.

NAYGN “Community Service Week” starts a tradition

Whether it’s cleaning local parks, clearing heavily traveled roads of debris or landscaping the yard of an elderly women, Duke Energy’s North American Young Generation in Nuclear (NAYGN) chapters have started a new tradition!

Approximately 75 NAYGN members headed out to communities near the company’s nuclear sites in North and South Carolina to lend a helping hand during “Community Service Week.” The stories below provide a snapshot of all the work completed throughout the week.

Carolina Beach State Park Cleanup – NAYGN members from Brunswick Nuclear Plant (Southport, N.C.) set out to Carolina Beach State Park to help remove debris and glass. A portion of the land that the park now sits on was once home to the old Town of Carolina Beach landfill; and while the landfill no longer exists, thousands of glass pieces and old bottles still remain.

When it was all said and done, two large trash cans were filled with debris and removed from the park.

Brookshire Freeway Cleanup – Charlotte’s Brookshire Freeway received a facelift after members cleared the busy freeway of debris in July. Donning orange vests, NAYGN members from the Duke Energy’s corporate office and McGuire Nuclear Station in Huntersville, N.C., walked up and down the freeway (1.5 miles in each direction) on a scorching summer day removing trash.

Concord Road Cleanup – Hundreds of vehicles travel up and down Concord Road in York, S.C., daily as it leads to the main entrance of Catawba Nuclear Station. Aesthetically, the road needed some “TLC,” so NAYGN members spent the afternoon collecting trash from the side of the road.

Keep Oconee Beautiful “Adopt-A-Spot” – Similar to Catawba, NAYGN members from Oconee Nuclear Station partnered with Keep Oconee Beautiful Association “Adopt-A-Spot” to clear trash from two miles of roadways near the entrance of the site. Volunteers spent two hours clearing debris from the roadside and collected 18 full bags of trash.

Cooper Black State Park Project – H. Cooper Black State Park received a mini makeover as NAYGN members from Robinson Nuclear Plant (Hartsville, S.C.) helped park rangers paint and caulk the facility’s clubhouse and restroom. H. Cooper Black is a dog and horse park in Cheraw, S.C., with more than 7,000 acres of land. The park sees lots of faces throughout the year and is home to several sporting and bird dog competitions. The extra hands were a tremendous help as park rangers could not have finished the project on their own until the following summer.

Habitat for Humanity – NAYGN members and summer interns volunteered for Habitat for Humanity project in Apex, N.C.  The group worked to clean and landscape the yard of an elderly woman’s home, as well as replace a broken front door.