The United States is by far the world’s largest producer of nuclear energy. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, active nuclear power plants in the US have the capacity to generate 95.5 gigawatts of electricity annually. In France, the world’s second largest producer of nuclear energy, production capacity totals just 61.4 gigawatts.
All told, nuclear power plants account for about 19% of total electricity production nationwide. While nuclear power is a critical component of the American power grid, some states rely more on nuclear energy than others. Over a quarter of the 93 active nuclear reactors in the United States are concentrated in just three states. Meanwhile, nearly half of all states have no active nuclear power plants. (This is how much renewable energy your state produces.)
Using data from the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 24/7 Wall St identified the states that are home to the most nuclear reactors. States with the same number of nuclear reactors are listed alphabetically.
Among the 28 states on this list, six have just one active nuclear reactor, and seven have only two. Meanwhile, three states have more than five. Generally, states without any nuclear power plants produce electricity through native natural resources. Much of the power consumed in West Virginia, for example, is generated through coal-burning plants, while some Great Plains states, like Iowa, rely heavily on wind farms. (These are the US wind farms generating the most electricity.)
Though nuclear energy is by far the most reliable and efficient power source available and produces no carbon pollution, it is not without drawbacks. Nuclear power plants generate nuclear waste, which cannot be destroyed and requires long-term storage. Additionally, as accidents at the Chernobyl plant in Ukraine in 1986 and the Fukushima plant in Japan in 2011 – not to mention our own Three Mile Island partial core meltdown in 1979 – have demonstrated, malfunctions can be catastrophic. Nuclear power plants also have high-startup costs, which can reduce their economic competitiveness.
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