- Nuclear power plants produce about 20 percent of America’s power.
- There are over 400 nuclear power plants worldwide.
- While nuclear energy produces less waste than fossil fuels, its radioactive waste must be stored in special containers and buried beneath the earth’s surface, typically in a mountain, until it is no longer hazardous.
- Almost 3 million Americans live within 10 miles of an operating nuclear power plant.
- Nuclear energy comes from uranium, a nonrenewable resource that must be mined.
- In 2009, America produced 798.7 billion kilowatts of nuclear energy, more than twice that of any other country and over 30% of all the nuclear energy generated worldwide that year.
- Nuclear power plants use nuclear fission (the process of splitting of an atom in two). Nuclear fusion (the process of combining atoms into one) has the potential to be safer energy because it is produced at a much lower temperature. However, nuclear fusion technology has not yet been developed to operate within a large power plant.
- Every 18 to 24 months, a power plant must shut down to remove its spent uranium fuel, which has become radioactive waste.
- United States power plants produce 2,000 metric tons of radioactive waste every year.
- In 2008, nuclear power replaced an estimated 690 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.
- Nuclear power plants generate nearly three-fourths of America’s clean-air energy.