Nuclear power: what our teammates wish the community knew

Did you know that nuclear power is Duke Energy’s largest clean energy source? As the only energy source that produces electricity 24 hours a day without emitting greenhouse cases, our facilities generate enough electricity to power more than 8 million homes across the Carolinas. 

In 2020, our nuclear fleet generated more than 73 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity and avoided the release of almost 50 million tons of carbon dioxide. This marked our 22nd consecutive year with a fleet capacity factor – a measure of reliability – greater than 90%. 

Our nuclear fleet, alongside renewables like wind, solar and hydropower, help ensure a reliable and balanced generation mix that supports Duke Energy's commitment to a net-zero carbon-free future.

But, the benefits of nuclear energy don’t stop there.

From safety to the people, hear what these nuclear teammates wish others knew about this reliable generation source.


Christine Flynn, Nuclear Engineer: Nuclear energy plays an essential role in our diverse energy mix as the only clean air energy source that operates 24/7/365. In North Carolina, nuclear provides over 70% of the state’s carbon-free electricity and in South Carolina, nuclear provides over 90% of the state’s carbon-free electricity. As the largest source of clean energy, nuclear will play a crucial role in helping us met our carbon reduction goals and achieve our net-zero by 2050 goal.

Timothy Thompson, Nuclear Station Operations Instructor: I wish people knew how much a nuclear reactor operator prepares prior to being licensed to operate a nuclear reactor. The education they must complete in order to obtain a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) takes between 12 and 18 months. But this is not like college, where they may have classes on Tuesday/Thursday or Monday/Wednesday/Friday. These students attend training daily, with classes starting in the morning and ending in the evening, and after-hours and weekends spent reviewing. Exams are given by plant-certified instructors throughout the program, with the final exam given by the NRC. The final exam consists of a written exam (that takes approximately six to eight hours), two control room simulator exams and 15 job-performance evaluations of variations of plant, simulator and administrative tasks. To pass, students must achieve at least an 80% average (3.2 on a 4.0 scale), or no license is awarded.
Maryanne Stasko, Nuclear Engineer: The people who work at and support our nuclear fleet come from all walks of life, but at the end of the day we all are someone’s parent or child. We have confidence in the abilities of our teammates to keep our communities safe, because we live there, too. And when we have family or friends with questions about nuclear power, we know we can rely on our teammates to share their knowledge in a manner that everyone understands.
Lee Ann Hamilton-Steiner, Nuclear Major Projects: I wish people knew the lengths our employees go to ensure our plants are always SAFE. People shouldn't attribute the safety of nuclear power plants to historic incidents. We are continually improving our plants to ensure the safety of the people and communities we serve. Because of the improvements we make we are able to continue providing SAFE and RELIABLE power.

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