Who is part of the Nuclear Matters coalition?
Nuclear Matters is a national coalition with a deep, diverse roster of allies and members. Our Advocacy Council is a group of relevant experts and thought leaders who reflect the diversity of the groups, sectors and interest areas that recognize the clear benefits of nuclear energy. Profiles of involved organizations range from labor groups to environmental NGOs, venture capitalists to former policymakers and regulators, as well as various industry groups.
Nuclear Matters also works closely with our partner organizations that recognize the value and importance of America’s nuclear energy.
Our 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 work together 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 or sulfur dioxide during the production of electricity at nuclear energy facilities. Nuclear energy is by far the largest carbon-free source 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, and a wide range of innovative new safety technology is continuously being developed. Nuclear plants have many layers of protection and are guarded by multiple backup safety systems, so if an issue arises, self-activating systems respond immediately.
From a public health perspective, studies conducted by leading independent groups, such as The National Cancer Institute and The United Nations Scientific Committee on 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 expensive?
In 2020, the average total generating cost for nuclear energy was three 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 2019 dollars for more accurate historical comparisons.
The overall cost for operating nuclear plants 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?
Throughout its decades-long history, the nuclear energy industry has safely stored used nuclear fuel assemblies, which are at the source of electricity generation within the plant and are replaced every four to six years. The industry has built a comprehensive system for safely and securely containing used fuel that keeps both the public and environment safe, including steel and concrete containers at secure storage facilities that are fortified against extreme events like earthquakes, fires and hurricanes. Nuclear Matters advocates for a comprehensive waste management plan that includes interim storage alongside solutions to resolve the issue of long-term geological storage.
Visit our Safety page to learn more.
What’s next for nuclear technology?
The demand for clean, affordable and reliable energy is spurring exciting 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 to be cost-competitive and offer benefits to flexibility, innovative safety and fuel efficiency. These advanced reactors will complement wind, hydro and solar to form a reliable and affordable clean electricity system and can produce clean energy to decarbonize the production of industrial heat and hydrogen.
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, visit our Innovation page.