Nuclear continues to prove its value in the nation’s push to clean energy

At Duke Energy, we’re taking action to address climate change while continuing to deliver affordable, reliable, increasingly clean energy.

We've set ambitious goals, striving toward at least a 50% reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from electricity generation in 2030 on the way to net-zero CO2 by 2050. We’re moving aggressively to make these goals a reality. Our company is fully focused, working together to accelerate execution of our clean energy strategy. 

And that strategy cannot be achieved without nuclear power. Duke Energy’s nuclear fleet, which powers more than 8 million homes across the Carolinas, plays a significant role in the clean energy transformation. Duke Energy’s nuclear plants provided more than 83% of the company’s carbon-free generation in 2021, and the company remains committed to renewing the operating licenses of all 11 reactors it operates so they can safely and reliably operate for decades to come.

In June 2021, Duke Energy submitted a subsequent license renewal application for Oconee Nuclear Station in Seneca, S.C. Oconee is currently operating under its first 20-year license renewal. If approved, the subsequent license renewal would allow the station to generate electricity through midcentury.

Oconee Nuclear Station 2021 Highlights

  • The station set a record for annual net generation of more than 22 billion kilowatt-hours.
  • Its annual capacity factor was 99%. (Capacity factor is actual energy output compared to maximum possible energy output of 100%.)
  • The operation of Oconee avoided the release of 14.88 million tons of CO2.
  • Unit 2 safely and reliably operated 24/7 for 701.4 days, setting a site record.

The nuclear plants, which are among the most robust and secure facilities in the world, are carefully monitored, expertly maintained and upgraded with state-of-the-art technology and components to ensure they operate safely and are available for our customers – now and in the future.

They remain economic drivers in the community, providing well-paying jobs, significant tax revenue, partnership opportunities and other benefits.

Community impact

  • Oconee Nuclear Station provides well-paying jobs to more than 800 employees, with additional contingent workers during refueling outages.

  • In 2021, Oconee Nuclear Station paid $19.3 million in property taxes to Oconee County, and $30.7 million in payroll taxes to South Carolina.

  • Employees in 2021 donated nearly $150,000 to local nonprofit organizations through Duke Energy’s payroll deduction campaign, which does not include the Duke Energy Foundation’s matching donations.

  • The World of Energy education center at Oconee continues to provide free, educational outreach and community events, and opens its doors to walk-in visitors each week. The World of Energy is currently open Wednesday-Friday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. for visitors.

For decades, the Oconee Nuclear Station team has been a proud community neighbor and partner. We are confident that nuclear energy will continue to be a clean, reliable, impactful energy source for decades to come.

With this focus and our continuing partnerships with stakeholders, we’re confident we can meet our goals and secure a clean energy future for the millions of Americans we are proud to serve.

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