In 1973, oil-fired plants supplied 17 percent of the United States' electricity. Nuclear power, which today provides approximately 20 percent of our nation's electricity, has replaced oil, which now represents only 2 percent of our nation's electricity mix.
Nuclear energy, our nation's second largest and second cheapest source of electricity, dramatically cut the oil used for electricity production. In the past 25 years, nuclear energy met 40 percent of the increased demand for electricity in the United States.
Because nuclear energy plants do not burn anything, they produce no greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, nuclear-generated electricity has accounted for 90 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions reductions by U.S. electric utilities since 1973.
Between 1973 and 1996, U.S. nuclear power plants avoided the need to burn a total of 2.3 billion barrels of oil, 3.4 billion tons of coal, and 12.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The oil alone would have cost $74 billion (in 1996 dollars).
America's electricity comes from: coal (51 percent); nuclear energy (20 percent); natural gas (15 percent); hydroelectric dams (9 percent); oil (2 percent); and renewables (3 percent).
Source: U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration
The Nuclear Energy Institute is the nuclear energy industry’s policy organization. This news release and additional information about nuclear energy are available on NEI’s Internet site at http://www.nei.org.