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.