Across the U.S., 98 nuclear reactors power tens of millions of homes. Who knew so many were concentrated on the East Coast?
The world's first exposure to nuclear power came when two fission (atomic) bombs were exploded over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in August 1945. These actions are said to have brought World War II to a conclusion.
A nuclear power plant is a system in which energy released by fission reactions is captured and used for the generation of electricity. Every such plant contains four fundamental elements: the reactor, the coolant system, the electrical power generating unit, and the safety system.
Nuclear power in the United States is provided by 99 commercial reactors with a net capacity of 100,350 megawatts (MW), 65 pressurized water reactors and 34 boiling water reactors. In 2016 they produced a total of 805.3 terawatt-hours of electricity, which accounted for 19.7% of the nation's total electric energy generation. In 2016, nuclear energy comprised nearly 60 percent of U.S. emission-free generation.
There was a revival of interest in nuclear power in the 2000s, with talk of a "nuclear renaissance", supported particularly by the Nuclear Power 2010 Program. A number of applications were made, but facing economic challenges, and later in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, most of these projects have been cancelled, and as of 2012, "nuclear industry officials said in 2012 they expect five new reactors to enter service by 2020 – Southern's two Vogtle reactors, two at Summer in South Carolina and one at Watts Bar in Tennessee"; these are all at existing plants. As of August 1, 2017, Watts Bar is operating, there are construction delays at Vogtle and construction at Summer has been abandoned.