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Insight: July 2009

Plug-In Hybrids—an Electric Future for Cars

undefinedToday’s hybrid electric-gasoline cars, such as the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight, have been on the market for a decade and are gaining in popularity as they save on gas consumption.

However, enhanced versions called plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) could also help reduce carbon emissions from the transport fleet by using low-cost, low-emission electricity from the national grid instead of fossil fuels. 

The potential benefits of plug-in vehicles include:
— Substantial greenhouse gas emission reductions in the transport sector as a result of using nuclear energy and other carbon-free power sources to charge the cars
— Reduced dependence on imported fossil fuels, with their price volatility and supply instabilities. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers claims that plug-ins “could reduce the consumption of liquid fuels by at least 70 percent compared with conventional cars”
— Clean air benefits from the reduction in emissions of such organic compounds as nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, ground ozone and particulates.

Green benefits certainly depend on greater development of low-carbon sources of power on the grid. Recent research concludes that a low-carbon electricity system will yield the most greenhouse gas reductions in conjunction with a substantial plug-in fleet. Nuclear energy, with its clean, low-carbon, high-reliability baseload availability, is an ideal source of electricity for this use.

Nuclear Energy Insight

2,000 Workers at Watts Bar 2

When it comes on line in 2012, the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar 2 will be the United States’ 105th nuclear reactor.  Construction began in the 1980s but was stopped before completion.  Work to finish the plant resumed in October 2007.

Bipartisan Support for Nuclear Energy Grows in Congress








This year’s NEI-sponsored Nuclear Energy Assembly in Washington, D.C., showed more clearly than ever that support for new nuclear plants comes from leaders in both parties.

How To Cool A Power Plant
The majority of power plants, whether fossil-fueled or nuclear, use one of two types of cooling water systems—the story describes the difference between the once-through cooling and recirculating cooling towers.