The Global Environment


The Global Environment

Nuclear energy preserves the environment with perhaps the lowest impact -- including air, land, water and wildlife -- of any energy source, because it does not emit harmful gases, isolates its waste from the environment and requires less area to produce the same amount of electricity as other sources.

Today, the nation's 100 nuclear reactors are providing roughly 62 percent of the country's emission-free power generation that does not contribute to global-warming. Nuclear power already is the single largest contributor to the nation's voluntary program to reduce carbon emissions. The performance gains made by the U.S. nuclear power plants in the past decade have amounted to about half of the voluntary carbon reductions achieved so far by all industries. At Entergy Nuclear, we believe in finding the best ways to produce energy and protect our environment. We want both. And we can have both, too. Nuclear power can and should be a part of that answer.

Balancing Energy Needs and the Environment

Americans used 17 percent more energy in the '90s than they did in the '80s. By contrast, our nation's energy production only increased by about 2 percent over that time period.

Energy consumption is projected to increase by 32 percent in the next two decades. To meet those needs, our nation would have to construct anywhere from 1,300 to 1,900 new power plants. And even if we could do that, we don't have the transmission in place to move the electricity.

At Entergy Nuclear, we have an advantage. We're a part of the only industry that has the capability to meet this large-scale need in an environmentally friendly way.

Most nuclear power plants produce much more energy than a typical fossil fuel, hydro, solar or wind source. Nuclear power is the most eco-efficient energy source given its high power generation with minimal environmental impact.

Nuclear plant air emissions are almost nonexistent because nothing is burned in the nuclear electricity generating process. In fact, by substituting for the use of fossil fuels in electricity generation, U.S. nuclear power plants currently prevent 2 million tons of nitrogen oxide emissions and 168 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. In addition, water discharged from nuclear plants does not come into contact with radioactive materials and is safely discharged under administrative and in-plant procedures. Nuclear power also makes relatively small demands on land in terms of fuel extraction and plant site size.

Regulation and Law

Entergy Nuclear is committed to the highest safety standards, recognizing that a safe plant runs reliably and efficiently, and that high safety performance engenders public, regulatory and employee confidence. Entergy recognizes its environmental leadership responsibility and firmly believes that it should be proactive in its efforts to protect, preserve and enhance the environment. This commitment is reflected by Entergy's employment of more than 75 full-time environmental personnel and annual environmental spending of approximately $31 million.

Entergy's nuclear plants have low environmental impacts and risks. Extensive government regulations over nuclear plant construction, operation and maintenance, coupled with multiple redundant safety systems, work together to ensure our plants' safety and security.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is responsible for assuring that nuclear power plants operate safely and meet federal regulations. NRC inspectors work full-time at Entergy Nuclear plants, reviewing day-to-day activities and programs. Additional inspectors conduct several special inspections of specific areas and programs each year. Changes in plant design and operation are reviewed to assure they meet safety standards and comply with NRC regulations.

Plant Management

Entergy's program for environmental compliance and risk management is based on a three-pronged philosophy: a top-down corporate commitment, implemented by knowledgeable employees with adequate resources, and backed up with effective monitoring and reporting.

Entergy's nuclear plants -- both those in the South that mostly serve our utility companies and those in the Northeast that generate electricity for the wholesale market -- have very low environmental impacts and challenges. Air and water emissions are inherently low due to the nature of the technology and high degree of regulation. Thorough administrative procedures are in place at each site to control discharges to air, water and land, and to document corrective actions associated with any of the programs. Also, periodic self-assessments are held to ensure programs are conducted according to administrative procedures and regulatory requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

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About Entergy

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