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Background Nuclear Power

About 20 percent of America’s electricity is generated from nuclear power. Today there are 104 nuclear power reactors operating in 31 states, and some states, such as South Carolina, generate more than 50 percent of their electricity from nuclear power.

Nuclear energy is one of the cleanest fuel sources, accounting for 70 percent of all emission-free electricity generated and emitting no carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide or nitrogen oxide. Nuclear power plants are important for the clean energy mix, providing a steady base to back up less consistent renewables like solar, hydro and wind power.

The U.S. Department of Energy predicts that the U.S. will need 24 percent more electricity by 2035. To meet this increased demand, we will need to generate more electricity than we do today to produce food, to power factories and to drive our productivity, which will require a vast amount of fuel.

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Locations of the 104 nuclear power reactors in the U.S. (Source: Nuclear Energy Institute)

Although solar power, geothermal energy, wind power and biomass are important to meeting our country’s rising electricity demand, they’re currently unable to produce large amounts of energy around the clock like nuclear power. Using nuclear also reduces the need to rely as much on fossil fuel resources like oil, which will be earmarked for transportation purposes and other end-uses, for which we have few or no substitutes.

Nuclear energy currently plays a key role in meeting our nation’s electricity needs and will continue to be an important energy source for the world in years to come. Duke Energy has the ability to produce clean, safe and economical electricity using nuclear energy to meet our customers’ future electricity needs.