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Nuclear Power: Time to Start Again

[+] Author Affiliations
William D. Rezak

State University of New York at Alfred, Alfred, NY

Paper No. IJPGC2003-40019, pp. 837-846; 10 pages
  • International Joint Power Generation Conference collocated with TurboExpo 2003
  • 2003 International Joint Power Generation Conference
  • Atlanta, Georgia, USA, June 16–19, 2003
  • Conference Sponsors: Power Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3692-4 | eISBN: 0-7918-3677-0
  • Copyright © 2003 by ASME


One of America’s best kept secrets is the success of its nuclear electric power industry. This paper presents data which support the construction and operating successes enjoyed by energy companies that operate nuclear power plants in the US. The result—the US nuclear industry is alive and well. Perhaps it’s time to start anew the building of nuclear power plants. Let’s take the wraps off the major successes achieved in the nuclear power industry. Over 20% of the electricity generated in the United States comes from nuclear power plants. An adequate, reliable supply of reasonably priced electric energy is not a consequence of an expanding economy and gross national product; it is an absolute necessity before such expansion can occur. It is hard to imagine any aspect of our business or personal lives not, in some way, dependent upon electricity. All over the world (in 34 countries) nuclear power is a low-cost, secure, safe, dependable, and environmentally friendly form of electric power generation. Nuclear plants in these countries are built in six to eight years using technology developed in the US, with good performance and safety records. This treatise addresses the success experienced by the US nuclear industry over the last 40 years, and makes the case that this reliable, cost-competitive source of electric power can help support the economic engine of the country and help prevent experiences like the recent crisis in California. Traditionally, the evaluation of electric power generation facility performance has focused on the ability of plants to produce at design capacity for high percentages of the time. Successful operation of nuclear facilities is determined by examining capacity or load factors. Load factor is the percentage of design generating capacity that a power plant actually produces over the course of a year’s operation. This paper makes the case that these operating performance indicators warrant renewed consideration of the nuclear option. Usage of electricity in the US now approaches total generating capacity. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has pre-approved construction and operating licenses for several nuclear plant designs. State public service commissions are beginning to understand that dramatic reform is required. The economy is recovering and inflation is minimal. It’s time, once more, to turn to the safe, reliable, environmentally friendly nuclear power alternative.

Copyright © 2003 by ASME
Topics: Nuclear power



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