Who is part of the Nuclear Matters coalition?
Nuclear Matters is a national coalition with a diverse roster of allies and members. Our Advocacy Council is made up of leaders from various areas, including labor organizations, environmental supporters, young professionals and women in the nuclear industry, venture capitalists, innovators in advanced nuclear technology and former policymakers and regulators.
Nuclear Matters works closely with partner organizations who recognize the value and importance of America’s nuclear energy plants, and invites individuals from across the country to join the coalition and help make our collective voices heard.
The growing roster of Advocacy Council members, partners, and members is integral to our efforts to educate the public on the clear benefits of nuclear energy and to explore possible solutions to preserve this essential energy resource.
What is nuclear energy?
Nuclear power plants split uranium atoms inside a reactor in a process called fission. At a nuclear energy facility, the heat from fission is used to produce steam, which spins a turbine to generate electricity.
There are no emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide during the production of electricity at nuclear energy facilities. Nuclear energy is by far the largest clean-air sources of energy capable of producing electricity 24 hours a day, every day.
Is it safe?
Yes. The safe operation of America’s nuclear plants is the industry’s top priority. Studies conducted by leading independent groups, such as The National Cancer Institute and The United Nations Scientific Committee of the Effects of Atomic Radiation, have shown that the United States’ nuclear plants do not harm the health of neighboring communities.
Visit our safety page to learn more.
Is it too expensive?
In 2016, the average total generating cost for nuclear energy was 3.4 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh). Total generating costs include capital, fuel and operating costs – all the costs necessary to produce electricity from a nuclear power plant. Cost information for the U.S. nuclear fleet is collected by the Electric Utility Cost Group with prior years converted to 2016 dollars for more accurate historical comparisons.
The overall cost for operating nuclear is generally comparable with other sources, however, many factors determine the overall impact and cost of constructing and operating a nuclear facility. As there is currently not a comprehensive regulatory solution for pricing the social cost of carbon emissions, the benefits associated with operating nuclear are not fully accounted for.
What about nuclear waste?
The nuclear energy industry has, throughout its history, safely stored used nuclear fuel assemblies, which are at the source of electricity generation within the plant and are replaced after four to six years. The industry has built a comprehensive system for safely and securely containing the used fuel it creates that keeps both the public and environment safe.
Nuclear Matters advocates for a comprehensive waste management plan that includes interim storage and solutions to resolve the issue of long-term geological storage. The research and development of deep geological storage facilities, such as Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository and Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), both in the United States, Onkalo Repository in Finland, and Aspo Laboratory in Sweden are important developments in working towards a comprehensive solution to nuclear waste.
Visit our safety page to learn more.
What’s next for nuclear technology?
The demand for clean, affordable and reliable energy is spurring innovation in the nuclear energy industry. Dozens of companies and research centers are working on advanced nuclear technology. The next generation of advanced nuclear reactors will build upon the positive attributes of current reactors.
With the right combination of research, funding and federal policies, advanced nuclear technology has the potential to play a major role in our nation’s energy future. To learn more about advanced nuclear technology, read this recent report by leading public policy group, Third Way.