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Nuclear Energy: Fact Check

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How Much Does the United States Use?
The following is compiled from research published in 2030 E-News Bulletin #28 and in a subsequent Special Bulletin, issued to address questions and provide additional clarification on the issue of nuclear energy use in the United States.

(March 22, 2011) With the nuclear reactor crisis in Japan continuing to unfold, an important discussion has been taking place in the U.S. about the current and future role of nuclear energy and our aging nuclear reactors. We have noticed that in the media, there is sometimes a gap between what is being stated as fact, and what is actually fact. For example, prominent U.S. officials have stated recently, "We get 20 percent of our energy right now in the United States from nuclear power."
In fact, nuclear power is responsible for 8.6% of total U.S. energy consumption.
Twenty point seven percent of total U.S. electricity consumption, including electrical energy generation and transmission losses, is attributed to nuclear power. The 20.7%, or 8.39 QBtu, is made up of 2.19 QBtu of electricity delivered to the place of use, and 6.2 QBtu of energy losses from generation (waste heat) and transmission.
The following graph illustrates total U.S. energy consumption (delivered energy and electrical energy losses from generation and transmission), total U.S. electricity consumption, and the total U.S. energy consumption attributed to nuclear power:
Assumptions: Average U.S. nuclear plant efficiency is calculated at 32.6% (Source: EIA [3][4]), and transmission losses at 6.5% (Source:EIA [5]).
The following graph illustrates U.S. Energy Consumption in 2035, as projected by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Notes: In 2035, nuclear energy is projected to provide 2.9% of total U.S. delivered energy; 8.0% of total projected U.S. energy consumption is attributed to nuclear energy. (Source: Architecture 2030 & EIA)
In 2035, nuclear energy is projected to provide 15.7% of total U.S. delivered electricity; 19.9% of total U.S. electricity consumption is attributed to nuclear energy (Source: Architecture 2030 & EIA)

More to Know About U.S. Nuclear Energy:

Reported by Architecture 2030 Researchers:

Vincent Martinez
Director of Research

Francesca Desmarais
Principal Researcher