Fuel for Ever-Growing America; Power Consumption Essay

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More than half of all electricity in the United States is generated by fossil fuel-fired power plants (Background Coal). In some states, such as South Carolina and Vermont, more than half of the state’s power is generated through nuclear power (Metcalf), and Duke Energy Corporation says, “Nuclear power plants are important for the clean energy mix, providing a steady base to back up less consistent renewables like solar, hydro and wind power,” (Background Nuclear). Power consumption in the United States is on the rise, and fossil fuel and nuclear power plants are multiplying in quantity to provide for this demand. Fossil fuel-fired sources of power have been around since the Industrial Revolution, which was initiated in Great Britain in …show more content…
Because of the simpler operation, fossil fuel-fired power plants do not have as much complex equipment that requires engineers with extensive knowledge of the scientific and mathematical fields to operate or repair such equipment. Nuclear power requires many of these highly educated engineers to standby and monitor the nuclear reactors twenty-four seven. Companies must pay these workers more money to compensate for their time, work, education, and security clearance (Nuclear Safety); otherwise they would not be able to retain engineers or support workers. Whenever the reactors require maintenance, the process must be shut down and the area must be made safe to prevent any accidents. This costs a considerable amount of money, as they need to continue to pay the employees even though they do not make any revenue, as there is no power being generated. The fuel costs, on the other hand, go in favor of nuclear power. The average cost of nuclear fuel in 2012 was .708 cents per kilowatt hour and fossil fuel rang in at 2.417 cents per kilowatt hour (SAS). The huge difference in fuel costs deal greatly with government and social economics. Coal and other fossil fuels have a higher tax put on them by regulations and laws to slow down their use due to environmental concerns (EPA). Fossil fuels are not only mined in the United States, but also imported from overseas, especially from South America and the Middle East (Fossil). Nuclear fuel that is used in

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