What’s the value of nuclear energy to the United States?
To achieve America’s energy, environmental and economic goals, there is no better generator of electricity and jobs than U.S. nuclear energy.
As a reliable source of steady electricity, nuclear energy serves an important role in U.S. grid stability. Even as regional grids become more sophisticated in managing fluctuating input from renewable sources, there remains a base-load requirement to maintain an on-demand minimum generation level. Nuclear energy provides this grid certainty by generating its maximum amount of electricity more often than any other electricity source — on average, more than 90 percent of the time. Life extension technologies, like AREVA’s new cavitation peening for reactor heads, help utilities ensure continued safe generation for another 40 years.
Though many of the U.S. nuclear facilities were built in the 1970s, they have been continuously updated with the latest technology and fuel designs. Think of a ’71 Chevrolet Chevelle SS with a modern 300-horsepower electric motor under the hood, digital-responsive suspension and new safety systems. By installing advanced components and fine-tuning operations, utilities’ output enhancements (uprates) to nuclear reactors have added major low-carbon generation ability to the existing U.S. nuclear fleet.