Why Nuclear?


Nuclear energy is the world’s largest source of emissions-free energy. It accounts for 74% of emissions-free energy in the United States.

One uranium nuclear fuel pellet the size of the tip of your little finger can produce the equivalent amount of energy provided by 1,780 pounds of coal, 149 gallons of oil, or 17,000 cubic feet of natural gas [5].

  • CO2 Free – Nuclear energy emissions are CO2 free.
  • Environment - Much smaller affect on the environment than even solar and wind energies.

Engine for Job Creation

Construction of new reactors will yield an estimated 610,000 jobs in the nuclear industry.  Currently, there are competitive opportunities for technicians, engineers and skilled trade workers ready to be filled [7].

  • Jobs - Provides highly skilled and high-paying jobs that last.
  • Community - Nuclear power plants contribute large amounts of capital to local economies, to the tune of $430 Million per year on average.

Safe and Secure

The nuclear industry’s safety performance is among the best of any energy sector.  Nuclear plants are the most secure industrial facilities, and were so even prior to 9/11.  The industry has invested $2.1 billion above its ongoing security expenses to enhance its security and safety measures [1].

  • Safety - As an industry, nuclear energy has recorded less OSHA recordable workplace accidents than even the financial/banking industry.
  • Security - Nuclear power plants consist of multiple and redundant levels of security.
  • Nuclear Non-Proliferation – Nuclear fuel recycling is a proven way to take nuclear weapons and use them to power homes all over the world.

Cost Competitive

Since 2006, the average electricity production cost for nuclear power was 1.72 cents per kilowatt-hour, versus 2.37 cents for coal-fired plants, 6.75 cents for gas, and 9.63 cents for petroleum [6].

Nuclear is the only power industry that accounts for all its byproducts and includes in its price the cost of waste management and plant decommissioning.

  • Cost - Nuclear energy is less subsidized than coal, oil, gas, wind, or solar energy sources.


Since 1990, commercial U.S. nuclear power plant capacity factors have risen from 66% to nearly 92% in 2007 [2]. When combined with power uprates, this results in an output increase equivalent to adding 29 new 1000-megawatt power plants.

Nuclear power accounts for nearly 20% of all power production in the United States and 16% of all power production in the world [3,4].

  • Efficiency - Nuclear energy is the most efficient and reliable form of energy available.

The Future

The Department of Energy projects a 21 % increase in electricity demands by 2030.  The nuclear industry has responded to the demand with 17 applications for 26 new reactors. These are currently being reviewed by the NRC [2].

The federal loan guarantee program is necessary component for building new nuclear power plants.  Loan guarantees give the nuclear industry the financial stability to move forward with hiring and new plant construction.

  • Demand - Energy demand is increasing and most Americans are in favor of nuclear power as a way to achieve that demand.

Check out our Debate Tools page for more detailed information on these talking points!

1.  Nuclear Energy Institute, Nuclear Power Plant Security, Accessed 31 January 2009 from http://www.nei.org/filefolder/Nuclear_Power_Plant_Security_Feb2008.pdf  
2.  United States Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration,   Accessed 31 January 2009 from http://www.eia.doe.gov/fuelnuclear.html

3.  Nuclear Energy Institute, U.S. Electricity Generation Fuel Shares, Accessed   31 January 2009 from

4.  Nuclear Energy Institute, World Nuclear Power Generation and Capacity.   Accessed 31 January 2009 from http://www.nei.org/resourcesandstats/documentlibrary/reliableandaffordableenergy/graphicsandcharts/worldnucleargenerationandcapacity/   
5.  Nuclear Energy Institute, Emissions Free Sources, Accessed 31 January 2009 from http://www.nei.org/filefolder/Infographic_Emission_Free_Sources_2007.jpg  

6.   Nuclear Energy Institute, U.S. Electricity Production Cost. Accessed 31   January 2009 from http://www.nei.org/filefolder/u.s._electricity_production_costs.ppt

  7.  Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, Job Creation in the Nuclear Renaissance, Accessed 31 January 2009 from http://www.cleansafeenergy.org/LinkClick.aspx?link=CASEnergywForewordpg.6.pdf&tabid=243