What do nuclear energy and St. Patrick’s Day have in common?
They both celebrate green!
On St. Patrick’s Day, it’s hard not to be in a green state of mind. This year, when you reach for that green shirt, embrace your inner Irish and think “green” by thinking about nuclear energy’s clean, zero-carbon footprint.
Nuclear energy protects air quality by generating electricity without harmful pollutants like carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter or mercury. In the United States, nuclear energy provides more than 55 percent of our carbon-free energy, and it’s available 24/7 as a safe, clean, reliable energy source.
In the U.S., nuclear energy avoids emissions of more than 528 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year – that’s more than the emissions of 111 million passenger vehicles, or all the passenger vehicles on the road in the U.S.
In 2020, Duke Energy’s six nuclear power plants together avoided the release of nearly 50 million tons of carbon dioxide (if that same generation was produced with coal, oil and natural gas).
Duke Energy recently announced it is speeding up its effort to reduce the effects of climate change with a new goal to cut carbon emissions from electricity generation to net-zero by 2050. This low-carbon future depends on many factors, including subsequent (or second) license renewal of all six Duke Energy nuclear plants. Duke Energy cannot achieve its aggressive carbon reduction goals without nuclear power.
So, what would it look like to achieve this “green” goal? By 2050, that means Duke Energy’s carbon-free generation would equate to removing 29 million vehicles off the roads. Essentially, Duke Energy’s commitment would be equivalent to removing all cars off the roads in California, North Carolina, Florida and Kentucky.
Nuclear energy will be essential to power our lives in a carbon-free energy future. So, don’t forget to thinking “green” this St. Patrick’s Day – think nuclear!
Nuclear energy is a carbon-free energy source that provides life-essential electricity to millions of energy users all over the world – all without any emissions. So, what does it mean to be carbon-free, and how can you reduce your own carbon footprint?
Your carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide released into the air because of your own energy needs. You need transportation, electricity, food, clothing and other goods. Your choices can make a difference.
- Swap old incandescent light bulbs for light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs) or compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). They use less energy and last longer.
- Turn off lights, TVs, computers, when you do not need them.
- Unplug! Any electronic gadget you can turn on with a remote (TV, DVD player, Nintendo, Xbox) uses power even when it is "off." Appliances with a digital clock (like a coffee maker) or a power adapter (like a laptop computer) also suck power like a sneaky vampire. Plug these kinds of things into a surge protector or power strip that has an on/off switch. Then you can shut off all the power without unplugging each gadget.
- Turn up the thermostat on the air conditioning when it's hot. Use fans if you're still hot. They use much less power.
- Turn down the thermostat on the heating when it's cold. Sweaters, blankets, and socks are good for you and better for the planet.
- Walk or ride your bike instead of taking a car everywhere. Even a 2-mile car trip puts 2 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere! If you must ride, carpool.
- Stay out of the drive thru! When you go to a fast-food place, ask your driver to park the car and let you walk inside, rather than sitting in a line of cars with the engine running and polluting.
Learn more: climatekids.nasa.gov/how-to-help/