The impact that nuclear power has on the local community is significant. Imagine the impact it could have globally. Consider nuclear power on a national level.
If you take a look at nuclear power on a national scale, in 2014, nuclear energy accounted for 62.9 percent of U.S. emission-free generation, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Yet, it represents only 19% of the total power generation in the U.S.
As the issue of global warming continues to capture the focus of America and the world, it is vitally important to look at the role nuclear can play in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that continue to pollute the air and damage our ecosystem.
Nuclear energy is the most "eco-efficient" of all energy sources because it produces the most electricity in relation to its minimal environmental impact. There are no significant adverse effects to water, land, habitat, species and air resources.
Nuclear power plants produce no gases such as nitrogen oxide or sulfur dioxide that could threaten our atmosphere by causing ground-level ozone formation, smog, and acid rain. Nor does nuclear energy produce carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases suspected to cause global warming.
Electricity generated by nuclear avoids almost 700 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year in the U.S. The 2,100 tons of nitrous oxide (N2O) avoided by Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station is the amount of N2O, released in a year by 110,000 passenger cars.
In thinking about energy and the powerful role it plays in ensuring the quality of the environment, we are compelled to look at the carbon footprint of various energy sources.
A life-cycle footprint measures the negative impact of human activities on the environment. It's the amount of green house gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide, or CO2. As shown below, nuclear power is one of the most environmentally friendly sources of power available. What sets it apart from renewable energy options is that it is also the one of the safest and certainly the most reliable source.