WASHINGTON, D.C.—Richard Myers, the Nuclear Energy Institute’s vice president for policy development, planning and supplier programs, made the following comments today about nuclear energy’s value in periods of extreme weather.
“The high heat and humidity affecting tens of millions of Americans is a reminder of the continuing value of the nation’s nuclear energy facilities. For 20 years now, these facilities have consistently provided one-fifth of the nation’s electricity supplies, even as electricity demand has grown during that period. They are by far our nation’s most efficient and reliable generators of electricity. Their role grows in importance—especially to vulnerable populations like the elderly and those with respiratory issues—during periods of oppressive weather like the one we are experiencing.
“Vast sections of the country are seeing the highest electricity demand recorded this year as millions of air conditioners operate full blast to help Americans beat the heat. Electricity prices similarly are spiking as regional electricity markets in the Northeast and the mid-Atlantic call upon the full extent of generation reserves to help meet peak electricity demand.
“Throughout this week, all but a handful of the nation’s 100 reactors have been operating around the clock at full power. Demand for electricity in the United States has not yet returned to the level seen in 2007, before the financial crisis, but electricity demand is growing. We must take steps to ensure that our electric system can meet around-the-clock demand when economic growth and electricity demand truly rebound, particularly in the face of increasingly stringent regulations on carbon emissions from power plants.
“Nuclear energy facilities are by far the largest source of electricity that don’t emit greenhouse gases and other air pollutants; they provide nearly two-thirds of low-carbon electricity production in the United States. This week’s weather shows how much we need them.”