What Does Nuclear Energy Do?


Quick Answer

Nuclear energy provides power, heat and electricity by splitting atoms in a process called nuclear fission. The heat produced by fission creates steam that powers the turbines, thus generating electricity. Nuclear energy serves as a dependable source of power because it is not susceptible to inclement weather and climate conditions.

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What Does Nuclear Energy Do?
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Full Answer

By switching to nuclear power, any nation can secure its energy independence while reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases at the same time. The reliability of nuclear energy facilities in the United States is reflected in the energy’s high capacity factor, with an output of power of 89 percent. Some military and civilian ships employ nuclear energy as a means of propulsion.

When compared to the power derived from coal, gas, wind or solar resources, nuclear energy proves to be the most cost-effective solution. As of 2014, nuclear energy is 15 to 40 percent less expensive than power generated from wind, while the cost savings jump up to 80 percent when compared to solar power in the Southeastern United States. The high capacity factor of nuclear energy allows it to efficiently use the transmission system, which results in further savings due to lower transmission costs per kilowatt-hour.

Nuclear power plants in the United States are among the safest power-generating facilities on account of their adherence to strict standards that are governed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

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