America’s fleet of about 100 nuclear power plants, the largest in the world, supplies nearly 20 percent of the nation’s electricity, without polluting the environment or emitting greenhouse gases. In fact, nuclear power accounts in the U.S. for more carbon-free electricity than all other green power sources combined.
Florida currently has four nuclear plants, generating 12 percent of our electrical power needs.
A study coauthored by James Hansen, former director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, determined that using nuclear power instead of fossil fuels has prevented some 1.8 million pollution-related deaths globally and could save millions more in the years ahead. Yet, despite growing concern about pollution, the 10 largest environmental groups oppose nuclear power.
Regrettably, two safe and efficient nuclear plants in Wisconsin and Vermont were shut down last year. Unless action is taken soon to rectify problems in electricity markets, dozens of other nuclear plants will face premature retirement.
About 30 states with renewable portfolio standards – including Florida – require utilities to produce a growing share of electricity from renewable energy sources without offering any credit for nuclear power. Mandating the use of solar and wind energy, while neglecting nuclear power is nonsensical.
Florida needs to ensure that the Turkey Point and St. Lucie power plants keep operating and are augmented by new nuclear plants. Nuclear power produces 98 percent of Florida’s emission-free electricity and is the only clean energy source that supplies power around the clock.
Should not environmental groups lend their support to nuclear power, if they are truly concerned about the environment?
Professor James Tulenko,
Dir., Florida Laboratory for Development of Advanced Nuclear Fuels and Materials
University of Florida