Nuclear energy is our largest source of electricity that doesn’t emit greenhouse gases; it generates 63 percent of the nation’s carbon-free power. It provides around-the-clock “baseload” electricity that is an underpinning of our reliable electric grid.

This reliability is evidenced by nuclear industry average 90 percent capacity factors—a measure of efficiency—that far surpass other electricity sources and make it especially valuable to meet electricity needs in extreme weather like summer heat waves and the 2014 polar vortex.

Climate conclusions

Numerous mainstream, independent analyses of the climate change issue conclude that use of nuclear energy must increase to meet rising electricity demand while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

"Use of nuclear energy must increase to meet rising electricity demand while reducing greenhouse gas emissions."

Carbon mitigation strategies from Princeton University, Columbia University’s Earth Institute, Harvard University and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions have reached a common conclusion: A clear path toward meeting the global challenge of reducing greenhouse gases relies in part on an expanded portfolio of low-emission sources of electricity, including nuclear power.

Planning what’s next

Just last month, the Environmental Protection Agency issued its Clean Power Plan, regulating carbon emissions from coal and natural gas fueled power plants. The plan has been described as the most ambitious regulation of our energy sector ever. EPA inherently recognizes in the rule a significant role for nuclear energy to achieve the desired emissions reductions. Without nuclear energy, the Clean Power Plan’s carbon reduction goals will be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve and sustain.

No single technology can slow and reverse increases in greenhouse gases by itself. To take full advantage of nuclear energy, federal and state regulators must correct electricity market flaws that are putting efficient reactors at risk and modernize the process for licensing and reviewing construction of advanced reactor designs.