Why Did Utility Companies Order Scores Of Nuclear Power Plants?

The General Electric Company kept a box score that showed 34 plant orders totaling 38.3 million kilowatts.

An interpretation of what constituted “solid commitment” and when orders were really placed might explain the disparity. Regardless of the figure chosen, 1972 remains the year with the most records. The previous record was set in 1967, when 30 reactors totaling 25 million kilowatts were ordered. In 1971, there were 23 plants with a total capacity of 23 million kilowatts.

More importantly, this year’s volume is expected to be near-record high, according to the makers. A spokesman for the Westinghouse Electric Corporation said he looked for “between 35 million and 40 million kilowatts of nuclear orders this year.

In an interview here last week, Milton F. Kent, G.E.’s vice president of power generation sales, predicted “another lively year.”

“It won’t be nearly as high as it was in 1972,” he remarked, “but it will be close around that level.”

G.E.’s power generating group’s vice president and group executive, Thomas O. Paine, projected that 1973 will be “a very active year overseas.”

Low-cost energy

Although nuclear power facilities have a high starting cost, producing electricity from them is quite inexpensive, and they have minimal operational expenses.

Furthermore, unlike traditional fossil fuel energy sources such as coal and natural gas, nuclear power does not face the same price variations. As a result, the price of nuclear energy can be predicted for a long time.


One of the most important advantages of nuclear energy is that it is a reliable source of electricity.

Nuclear power may be created at any time of day, unlike solar and wind energy, which require the sun to be shining or the wind to be blowing. This means that a nuclear power plant can produce energy continuously, and there will be no energy production delays.

Zero carbon emissions

Nuclear power plants do not emit any carbon dioxide. This is a significant benefit over traditional energy sources, like as fossil fuels, which emit enormous amounts of carbon dioxide into the environment.

One of the primary causes of climate change is excess carbon dioxide. As a result, the lower the carbon and greenhouse gas emissions, the better.

According to the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), nuclear power generation reduces the release of 528 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the environment per year.

What are nuclear power plants used for?

Nuclear power facilities generate steam by heating water. The steam is utilized to create power by spinning enormous turbines. Heat created during nuclear fission is used to heat water in nuclear power plants.

Atoms are torn apart to form smaller atoms in nuclear fission, which releases energy. Fission takes happen inside a nuclear power plant’s reactor. The reactor’s core, which houses uranium fuel, is located in the center.

Ceramic pellets are made from uranium fuel. Each ceramic pellet generates around 150 gallons of oil worth of energy. These high-energy pellets are arranged in 12-foot metal fuel rods end-to-end. A fuel assembly is a collection of fuel rods, some of which number in the hundreds. Many fuel assemblies are found in the core of a reactor.

The heat generated by nuclear fission in the reactor core is utilized to boil water into steam, which drives a steam turbine’s blades. Turbine blades spin, driving generators that generate electricity. Nuclear power facilities either use water from ponds, rivers, or the ocean to cool the steam back into water in a separate building called a cooling tower at the power station, or they use water from ponds, rivers, or the ocean. After cooling, the water is re-used to generate steam.

What are the most pressing concerns about nuclear power plants?

Our document “Nuclear Power in Europe: 35 Years After the Chernobyl Disaster” includes this analysis.

As a solution to climate change, a tiny group of scientists has recommended replacing all of the world’s fossil fuel power facilities with nuclear reactors. Many others propose that nuclear power might provide up to 20% of our total energy (not just electricity) demands. They argue that nuclear power is a “clean, carbon-free source of energy,” but they ignore the human consequences of these scenarios. Let’s have a look at the numbers…

From the design stage through operation, a nuclear power plant takes on average 14-1/2 years to construct. According to the World Health Organization, roughly 7.1 million people die each year as a result of air pollution, with energy-related combustion accounting for more than 90% of these deaths. As a result, converting our energy source to nuclear will result in the deaths of around 93 million people as we wait for all of the new nuclear plants to be built in an all-nuclear scenario.

Utility-scale wind and solar farms, on the other hand, take only 2 to 5 years to build and operate from start to finish. Rooftop solar PV systems can now be completed in as little as six months. As a result, switching to 100 percent renewable energy as quickly as possible will save tens of millions of lives.

This demonstrates a significant issue with nuclear power and why renewable energy, specifically Wind, Water, and Solar (WWS), avoids it. Nuclear power, on the other hand, has more than one issue. There are seven of them. The following are the seven major issues with nuclear power:

Why is nuclear energy preferable than renewable energy?

Nuclear Power Has The Most Capacity This essentially means that nuclear power facilities are operating at full capacity for more than 93 percent of the year. This is 1.5 to 2 times more than natural gas and coal units, and 2.5 to 3.5 times more reliable than wind and solar.

Is nuclear power environmentally friendly or not?

The generation of radioactive wastes such as uranium mill tailings, spent (used) reactor fuel, and other radioactive wastes is a serious environmental hazard associated with nuclear power. For thousands of years, these elements can stay radioactive and harmful to human health. To safeguard human health and the environment, radioactive wastes are subject to particular rules that govern their handling, transportation, storage, and disposal. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) of the United States oversees nuclear power plant operations.

Low-level waste and high-level waste are the two types of radioactive waste. The radioactivity of these wastes can range from slightly above natural background levels, as in uranium mill tailings, to substantially higher levels, as in used (spent) reactor fuel and nuclear reactor parts. Nuclear waste’s radioactivity reduces over time due to a process known as radioactive decay. The radioactive half-life is the time it takes for the radioactivity of a radioactive material to fall to half its original level. Short-half-life radioactive waste is frequently kept temporarily before disposal to reduce potential radiation exposures to those handling and transporting the waste. The radiation levels at disposal sites are also reduced thanks to this storage technology.

The majority of nuclear-related waste has a low amount of radioactivity when measured by volume. Radium, a radioactive element found in uranium mill tailings, decays to generate the radioactive gas radon. The majority of uranium mill tailings are disposed of near the processing facility, or mill, from whence they originated. To prevent radon from escaping into the atmosphere, uranium mill tailings are coated with a sealing barrier of material such as clay. To keep the sealing barrier from eroding, it is coated with a layer of soil, rocks, or other materials.

The tools, protective clothes, wiping cloths, and other disposable objects that become contaminated with minute amounts of radioactive dust or particles at nuclear fuel processing facilities and nuclear power plants are the other categories of low-level radioactive waste. These materials are subject to strict handling, storage, and disposal regulations to ensure that they do not come into contact with the outside environment.

Irradiated or spent nuclear reactor fuel constitutes high-level radioactive waste (fuel that is no longer useful for producing electricity). The spent reactor fuel is solid, comprising of tiny fuel pellets held together by long metal rods.

What are three advantages of nuclear power?

  • One of the least carbon-intensive energy sources
  • It also has one of the smallest carbon footprints of any of the major cities.
  • It’s one of the solutions to the energy shortage.
  • It’s critical to our fight against climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • dependable as well as cost-effective

Because our electricity is carbon-free(1), choosing one of our rates could assist the environment as well.

What economic impact do nuclear power plants have?

In the United States, nuclear power is the most common source of clean energy. It creates about 800 billion kilowatt hours of electricity each year, accounting for more than half of the country’s emissions-free power. Each year, this saves more than 470 million metric tons of CO2, the equivalent of eliminating 100 million cars from the road.

Nuclear reactors’ thermal energy could be utilized to decarbonize other energy-intensive industries, such as transportation, which is the major source of carbon pollution.

The Most Reliable Source of Energy

Nuclear power facilities operate seven days a week, 24 hours a day. They are meant to run for extended periods of time and require refueling every 1.52 years. Nuclear power plants ran at full capacity more than 92 percent of the time in 2019, making it the most reliable energy source available today.

Creates Jobs

The nuclear power industry in the United States sustains almost half a million jobs and contributes an estimated $60 billion to the country’s gross domestic product each year. Nuclear power stations in the United States can employ up to 700 people, with incomes that are 30 percent more than the national average. They also contribute billions of dollars in federal and state tax income to local economies each year.

Supports National Security

The United States’ national security and energy diplomacy depend on a vibrant civilian nuclear sector. To influence the peaceful use of nuclear technologies, the United States must continue its worldwide leadership in this sector. In this capacity, the US government works with countries to cultivate relationships and new prospects for the country’s nuclear technologies.

What are the benefits of nuclear power over fossil fuels?

Nuclear power is created by altering materials on an atomic scale to produce nuclear fusion or fission. Nuclear energy, which is based on uranium or plutonium, bombards heavy metals with neurons to initiate fission or fusion reactions and provide thermal energy. This thermal energy turns water into steam, which turns turbines and generates electricity.

In Arco, Idaho, the United States developed nuclear power for electric uses for the first time on December 20, 1951. In the United States, there are currently 60 operational nuclear power stations with 98 reactors scattered over 30 states. The United States is the world’s biggest nuclear power producer, producing approximately 30% of the world’s nuclear power.

Nuclear energy has a number of advantages as a source of energy, including:


Nuclear power facilities have minimal operating expenses since their operations are very basic. Furthermore, because nuclear power reactors only need to be refueled every 1824 months, fluctuating fuel prices have a smaller impact on them than more volatile industries like oil and natural gas. Heavy metals, such as uranium, the primary energy source for nuclear power, are found all over the world and are only required in tiny quantities, resulting in lower costs.

Environmentally Friendly

Nuclear power stands out as an environmentally beneficial energy source when compared to other forms of energy. Rather than using fossil fuels, nuclear power produces clean energy by hitting uranium with neutrons.

Nuclear reactors create no direct carbon dioxide emissions, and any emissions produced indirectly have minor environmental consequences. Furthermore, the majority of nuclear waste has a low amount of radioactivity.

Requires Low Amounts of Fuel

The energy density of heavy metals is higher than that of fossil fuels. This indicates that a smaller amount of nuclear fuel produces more energy than a similar amount of other materials. As a result, nuclear power plants use fewer resources to acquire and store fuel.


Nuclear energy can be combined with other renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. Nuclear energy, on the other hand, is a more stable source of energy than wind and solar power since nuclear power facilities can function in all weather.

Because nuclear power facilities do not rely on external conditions to run successfully, they rarely take a break. As a result, nuclear power is one of the most dependable sources of energy.

High Degree of Safety

Nuclear energy is becoming a safer and more reliable source of electricity as technology advances. “Nuclear energy, in terms of an overall safety record, is better than alternative energy,” Bill Gates stated.

Every nuclear power plant in the United States prioritizes safety, and each facility has a well-developed and thoroughly tested set of safety protocols. Only three big incidents have occurred in the history of nuclear power as a source of energy. While these occurrences drew a lot of media attention, they occurred in the context of more than 60 years of nuclear power production in 33 countries, totaling more than 17,000 reactor years of safe nuclear power generation.

Why are so many people opposed to nuclear power?

The debate over the risks and benefits of utilizing nuclear reactors to generate electricity for civilian uses has raged for decades.

Nuclear power debates peaked in the 1970s and 1980s, when additional reactors were built and brought online, and in certain nations “reached an intensity unequaled in the history of technology issues.” Following that, the nuclear sector produced jobs, emphasized safety, and public fears faded.

With increased public knowledge of climate change and the essential role that carbon dioxide and methane emissions play in triggering the warming of the earth’s atmosphere in the 2010s and beyond, the nuclear power argument resurfaced.

Nuclear power supporters and climate change activists refer to the stable, emission-free, high-density energy provided by nuclear power, as well as a generation of young physicists and engineers trying to develop a new generation of nuclear technology to replace fossil fuels. Skeptics, on the other hand, refer to nuclear disasters like Louis Slotin’s death, the Windscale fire, the Three Mile Island catastrophe, the Chernobyl disaster, and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, as well as growing acts of worldwide terrorism, to argue against the technology’s continued usage.

Nuclear energy supporters believe that it is a clean, long-term energy source that produces large amounts of energy without damaging the environment or producing the carbon emissions that cause global warming. Nuclear power generates a large number of high-paying employment, improves energy security, and lowers reliance on imported fuels as well as exposure to price concerns connected with resource speculation and Middle East politics. Nuclear proponents argue that, in contrast to the vast quantity of pollutants and carbon emissions produced by burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas, nuclear power creates essentially no air pollution. At all hours of the day and night, modern society requires constant energy to power communications, computer networks, transportation, industry, and dwellings. Even with access to solar and wind energy, utilities must burn fossil fuels to keep the energy grid reliable in the absence of nuclear power, because such sources are intermittent. Nuclear power, according to proponents, is the only possible path for a country to attain energy independence while also meeting its “ambitious” Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to cut carbon emissions under the Paris Agreement, which was signed by 195 countries. They underline that the hazards of keeping waste are low, and that existing stockpiles can be reduced by using waste to make fuels for newer reactors using cutting-edge technology. Nuclear power has a good operating safety record when compared to other major types of power plants, and it saves lives every year by preventing pollution.

Nuclear power opponents claim that it poses severe risks to humans and the environment, citing research that question whether it will ever be a sustainable energy source. Health concerns, accidents, and environmental harm are all risks associated with uranium mining, processing, and transportation. Nuclear power opponents are concerned about sabotage of nuclear reactors by terrorists, diversion and misuse of radioactive fuels or fuel waste, and naturally-occurring leakage from the unresolved and imperfect long-term storage procedure of radioactive nuclear waste. They further argue that reactors are extremely sophisticated machines that can and do fail, and that there have been numerous major nuclear accidents. New technologies, according to critics, will not be able to decrease these threats. They further contend that nuclear power is not a low-carbon electricity source when all the energy-intensive stages of the nuclear fuel cycle are considered, from uranium mining to nuclear decommissioning.