Nuclear energy has been a major source of reliable energy and a key player in reducing society’s reliance on traditional fossil fuel use for electricity. Nuclear energy has been supplying power in the U.S. since 1957 when the first reactor went online in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Since then, the U.S. has continued on to be the largest nuclear power producer in the world, producing a whopping 804,872.94 GWh, making up 19.7% of U.S. electricity generation (EIA 2016). However, much of the growth in the U.S. had occurred between 1970-1990 and has since seen a dramatic slowdown of nuclear energy expansion (EIA 2017). While nuclear energy production is emission free, it is commonly associated with extreme magnitude risks such as the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters.
U.s. has 61 nuclear power plants containing 99 commercial reactors. Ohio has two nuclear facilities in operation both along the shorelines of Lake Erie. The Davis-Besse Nuclear Power plant was built in 1978 in Ottawa County and is the first nuclear facility in Ohio and provides 700 full-time jobs to the county (First Energy 2017). The Perry Nuclear Power Plant was built in 1987 in Lake County, although the second reactor was never completed.
US largest nuclear power generator in the world followed by France, China, and Russia. In Ohio, nuclear energy contributed to 14.1% of the entire energy generation for the state behind natural gas and coal. There is some controversy in Ohio regarding the continuation of the two nuclear facilities with the introduction of the zero-emission credits, a state subsidy provided to nuclear facilities similar to what is provided to other renewable energy sources.