Nuclear Energy

PDF versionPDF version

Nuclear energy is produced from fission, which splits the large atoms of heavy elements like uranium into smaller atoms, releasing enormous amounts of energy. Thirty U.S. states have nuclear power plants, and nuclear energy makes up around 20% of the U.S. electricity supply.

Basics

Nuclear reactors and cooling towers at the Susquehanna Steam Electric Station south of Shickshinny, Pennsylvania. Image Credit: Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Nuclear energy is released from the fission of heavy elements like uranium, a weakly radioactive metal found around the world. Fission splits large atoms into smaller atoms, releasing enormous amounts of energy. During electricity generation, the process of fission emits only water vapor but leaves behind spent fuel, which remains highly radioactive. Milling uranium, processing uranium into nuclear fuel, and operating nuclear power plants all create various types of nuclear waste, both low-level and high-level.   Read more

Frequently Asked Questions

Latest News

Nuclear power plant, Czech Republic
(2018-07-09)
June 12, 2018 The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a formal oversight hearing for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on June 12, 2018, with all five commissioners present for the first time in a decade. FERC is responsible for regulating the interstate transmission...
Nuclear power plant, Czech Republic
(2018-06-08)
May 10, 2018 On May 10, the House passed the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2018 (H.R. 3053) by a vote of 340 to 72, despite strong opposition from the New Mexico and Nevada delegations. The bill would resume and expedite licensing for the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository...
Power lines. Image Credit: U.S. Department of Energy
(2018-02-06)
January 23, 2018 The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on January 23 that underscored concerns surrounding the reliability and resiliency of the electrical power system, particularly under certain weather conditions, such as the deep freeze or bomb cyclone that the U.S....
Nuclear power plant, Czech Republic
(2018-02-06)
January 8, 2018 On January 8, the Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC) rejected a proposal that was submitted by Secretary of Energy Rick Perry in September 2017 to subsidize the operating costs of coal and nuclear power plants, since the rule did not satisfy certain statutory standards....
Nuclear power plant, Czech Republic
(2016-07-28)
July 26, 2016 The Council of State Governments’ (CGS) Southern and Midwestern Legislative Conferences hosted a webinar to explore nuclear waste storage solutions. This webinar, the second of a two-part series, highlighted actions the federal government and private sector are currently taking to...
Nuclear power plant, Czech Republic
(2016-07-28)
July 7, 2016 The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy held a hearing led by Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL) and Subcommittee Ranking Member Paul Tonko (D-NY) to gather information in order to move forward with federal licensing of a nuclear waste...
Nuclear power plant, Czech Republic
(2016-01-15)
January 12, 2016 The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology has voted to approve the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act (H.R. 4084), legislation aimed at increasing nuclear research within the Department of Energy (DOE). The bill would authorize DOE national laboratories to...

Geological Surveys Database Publications

1959, Oklahoma Geological Survey
A useful microfossil [palynological] assemblage for correlation may be determined graphically by plotting the number of specimens counted and the number of species identified in the count. At the point where the curve flattens markedly, it is assumed that a practical assemblage count for...
1959, Oklahoma Geological Survey
The new genus Chilidiopsis embraces almost all of the American Silurian orthotetacids formerly assigned to Lamont's genus Fardenia. Type species is Fardeni reedsi Amsden from the Henryhouse formation of Oklahoma. Primary difference between Chilidiopsis and Fardenia is in the structure of the...
1959, Oklahoma Geological Survey
The genus Conostichus was described by Lesquereux in 1876 with genotype by monotypy C. ornatus. Species subsequently referred to the genus are shown to be unrelated. The second group of organisms is discussed on the basis of numerous specimens and several new localities. It is concluded that there...
1959, Oklahoma Geological Survey
The generic name Allorisma has been suppressed and the name Wilkingia has been established. Twelve species of Allorisma which must be transferred are listed for the Oklahoma area and elsewhere. The American genus Caneyella Girty and its relationship to Posidoniella de Koninck and to Posidonia Bronn...
1965, Bureau of Economic Geology
Petroleum, natural gas, and natural gas liquids are the major mineral resources of the State and represented over 92 percent of the mineral production in 1963. The State also produced 22 other minerals including 17 non-metallic industrial minerals as well as magnesium, helium, iron ore, lignite,...
1968, Oklahoma Geological Survey
Specimens collected from the Sam Creek Member of the Savanna Formation (Desmoinesian), north of Muskogee, Wagoner County, with an undescribed form from New Mexico and the type of the genus from Nevada, suggest a Middle or Lower Pennsylvanian age for Paracromyocrinus marquisi. The species is based...
1968, Oklahoma Geological Survey

-------------------------- --------------------------- ------------------------ ------------------------------ ---------------------- -------------------

1968, Oklahoma Geological Survey
Current economic doctrine is based on debatable assumptions. There is no known geologic reason why the doctrine of geometric increase of tonnage with arithmetic decrease in grade should be true for most types of geologic processes. It does not hold for most veins, replacement deposits in carbonate...
1968, Oklahoma Geological Survey
The concept of unlimited resources, which denies the restraints and belittles the difficulties, is based on five premises: the promise of essentially inexhaustible cheap useful energy, the thesis that economics is the sole factor governing availability of minerals, the fallacy of uninterrupted...
1968, Oklahoma Geological Survey
Trace-element analyses were made of these carbonates to determine the abundance of some common trace elements, to investigate possible information on the depositional environment, and to determine the relationship of selected elements, especially strontium, to diagenesis. Spectrochemical analyses...