“The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more,” said scientist Jonas Salk. Through the energy industry the public can extend an energy source that has provided us a big reward.
The opportunity is with nuclear energy and re-licensing power facilities that provide ample, carbon-free electricity. Re-licensing plants is a topic among several plants. Extending their production continues giving the public carbon-free electricity.
Why is it important? “The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased at an unprecedented pace in the last two years,” according to a piece in Scientific American.
The world reached another high-carbon benchmark. “Each landmark event has given scientists and environmentalists a reason to restate their worries about what humans are doing to the climate,” says an article by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
In this environment the U.S. has the chance to maintain an important source of carbon-free electricity that has served us already. “Nuclear power plants are providing over 55 percent of the carbon-free electricity in the United States,” says the Institute for Energy Research. That is 55 percent of carbon-free energy, though nuclear is only about 20 percent of the total generation. (Some figures say the statistic is higher than 55 percent.)
As facility license renewals are being discussed, so should the important benefits of carbon-free electricity. Some want these nuclear plants to close. “As a result, the headway the United States made in reducing carbon dioxide emissions may disappear as more nuclear power plants are shuttered, despite the building of wind and solar plants that operate at less than half the capacity factor of typical nuclear power plants.” That is also from the Institute for Energy Research. This is not an argument against other power sources, only the understanding about their traits, and why a mix of electric generation sources is important.
Nuclear power is not the whole answer to carbon; it’s a huge help. Here’s another voice. “Using more nuclear energy could make significant strides in addressing climate change, but it would not completely solve the problem. …about 26% of greenhouse gas emissions come from electricity production. Even if nuclear power plants met all of the worlds energy needs, there would still be significant greenhouse gas emissions from other areas.” That is from the University of Pennsylvania Program on Regulation, in the University’s Law School. That realistic approach is worth noting. There’s is a lot of work to do on emissions. Don’t pass up the chance to maintain our advantage. Let’s do more good work.