Why Nuclear Energy Matters in U.S. Climate Discussions | AREVA North America: Next Energy Blog


by Jarret Adams

As the U.S. Congress gears up to address climate legislation, it’s hard to know what the best proposal is to address the daunting issue of climate change. There seem to be about as many proposals as there are organizations with a stake in energy and climate issues. But, here in one word is the main reason that nuclear energy matters in this conversation: scale.

Nuclear energy generates 20 percent of America’s electricity but produces 72 percent of our CO2-free electricity. That’s three times more than hydropower, the next largest contributor. According to the Energy Information Administration, the electric power sector is responsible for 40 percent of U.S. emissions of CO2.

Therefore, even a relatively modest increase in the share of nuclear generation would have a major impact on reducing CO2 emissions from the power sector. This also would help move us toward the 80 percent reduction by 2050 that many congressional leaders are discussing.

In fact, the EPA analysis of the Waxman-Markey legislation found in its core scenario that meeting this emissions reduction scenario would require a 150 percent increase in U.S. nuclear generation – this would call for building as many as 180 new reactors by 2050!

Still, we at AREVA don’t believe nuclear energy is the only answer. We are rapidly working to develop new biopower plants through our ADAGE joint venture with Duke Energy. We’re also active in wind power and are scouting new locations for an offshore wind farm in North America using our 5 MW turbines that we are currently installing off the coast of Germany.

TAGS: AREVA Inc., AREVA North America, Biomass, Biopower, Carbon Emissions, , CO2-Free Energy, Congress, Energy Information Administration, , Hydroelectric, Nuclear Energy, Nuclear Power, Waxman-Markey, Wind Power

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