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Nuclear Power Enjoys a Renaissance

Scientists and lawmakers are exploring a mix of energy alternatives to meet our country's growing electricity demands. While wind, solar and water are among the options, nuclear power continues to receive a growing amount of interest to help ease the situation.

In the United States nuclear power is the second largest source of electricity after coal. One out of every five homes across the nation is powered by nuclear energy. The electricity produced at the 103 commercial U.S. reactors is what allows you to switch on the lights, flip on your TV's, turn on your computers, power up your radios and run many other household items.

Scientists have already shown nuclear energy is clean, safe, and environmentally friendly. It produces almost no air pollution and greenhouse gases. Without the energy nuclear produces, the federal government says certain emissions would have gone up in 2004, the equivalent of 58 million passenger cars in the U.S.

The Department of Energy predicts our use of electricity will increase by almost 50 percent by the year 2030. And with the country's growing dependence on natural gas, its volatile prices and the shrinking supply of foreign fossil fuels many scientists say nuclear energy is the best solution.

Nuclear power already provides 20 percent of the nation's total electrical needs but in Japan 33 percent is provided by nuclear power and in France nearly 80 percent is provided by nuclear power.

Here is a look at how other countries stacked up in 2004:


Lithuania 72.1
Belgium 55.1
Sweden 51.8
Ukraine 51.1
Armenia 38.8
South Korea 37.9
Hungary 33.8
Germany 32.1
Finland 26.6
Spain 22.9
Canada 15.0
Argentina 8.2
South Africa 6.6
Mexico 5.2
Brazil 3.0
India 2.8
Provided by the IAEA

Last updated July 12, 2012, 9:05am CDT.

 
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