March 12, 2014
Nuclear Matters, a bipartisan campaign to engage and inform policymakers and the public about the need to preserve existing nuclear energy plants due to their critical role in America's energy mix, announced its official launch with former Senators Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Judd Gregg (R-NH) serving as co-chairs of the organization.
America's existing nuclear energy plants are the backbone of the nation's energy portfolio: they provide about one-fifth of the country's energy supply, powering tens of millions of homes and businesses; are the country's most reliable source of energy; are key in advancing America toward a clean energy future; and are drivers of economic growth and jobs in communities across the nation.
Despite these significant benefits, existing nuclear energy plants face a perfect storm of economic challenges caused by a combination of factors - including unintended consequences of market structure and government policy and an influx of cheap natural gas - that threaten their continued operation. Two nuclear plants have already announced that they will shut down prematurely as a result of these conditions, which, if left unaddressed, may force additional closures.
'The existence of our nation's nuclear fleet tends to be taken for granted, but the reality is that many of our existing nuclear plants are at risk of shutting down,' said Senator Bayh. 'As America contemplates its energy future, we must change course to ensure that nuclear energy stays in the mix because it is critical to maintaining a diverse, reliable, and clean energy supply for our nation.'
'We look forward to connecting with the American people to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining our existing nuclear generation,' said Senator Gregg. 'While we don't have all the answers today, we hope that these discussions will begin to lay the groundwork for the kinds of supportive public policies that take the full value of existing nuclear energy plants into account, along with the new reality in which they are operating.'
The benefits stemming from America's existing nuclear energy plants include:
- Reliability: Electricity 24 hours a day, seven days a week through all weather conditions and at 85-90 percent capacity factors, the highest of any energy source.
- Zero carbon emissions: Nuclear energy plants accounted for 64 percent of emission-free generation in the U.S. in 2012.
- Jobs and economic growth: 100,000 American jobs across the country, and substantial contributions to local tax bases and economies. In fact, the average U.S. nuclear energy plant has an average payroll of $40 million, generates about $470 million a year in sales of goods and services, and annually pays $16 million in local and state taxes.
- Affordability: Nuclear energy production costs are among the lowest of all 'round-the-clock' generating sources. The low and stable cost of nuclear energy helps reduce the price of electricity paid by consumers.
The benefits associated with America's existing nuclear capacity are delivered safely. State-of-the-art nuclear plants are designed to withstand severe events, both natural and manmade, with mechanisms that keep employees and communities safe at all times.
Nuclear Matters is comprised of a cross-section of individuals, organizations, and businesses united in their view that nuclear energy plays a critical role in our energy portfolio.
The launch is the first of a series of many activities that the campaign will take toward furthering its goals of promoting and preserving the nation's existing nuclear fleet. To learn more or join in the efforts of Nuclear Matters and Senators Bayh and Gregg to begin to engage in a dialogue about how to ensure that these vital national assets are preserved, please go to www.NuclearMatters.com.
About Nuclear Matters
The mission of Nuclear Matters is to inform the public about the clear benefits that nuclear energy provides to our nation, raise awareness of the economic challenges to nuclear energy that threaten those benefits, and to work with stakeholders to explore possible policy solutions that properly value nuclear energy as a reliable, affordable and carbon-free electricity resource that is essential to America's energy future.
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