Nuclear energy is green energy

Nuclear plants don't pollute the air. They don't produce any carbon dioxide—the major greenhouse gas—or any sulfur dioxide or nitrogen oxides. The relatively small amount of waste that a nuclear plant produces is carefully contained and safely stored.

In 2001, Fermi 2 was the first nuclear power plant in the state to achieve Clean Corporate Citizen (C3) status. The Department of Environmental Quality's voluntary C3 program recognizes top performers in environmental management and stewardship. The plant has maintained the designation every year since 2001.  It has also maintained National Wildlife Habitat Council certification since 2000.   Nearly 600 acres of Plant property is included in the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge.  That property is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Environmental Facts

  • Nuclear power plants are the only large-scale power sources that do not emit any greenhouse gases.
  • The use of nuclear power to generate electricity avoided emissions of nearly as much carbon dioxide as is released from all U.S. passenger cars combined.
  • The life cycle emissions of nuclear energy are lower than coal, natural gas, hydropower, biomass and solar. The only electricity sources with lower life cycle emissions are wind and geothermal.
  • Nuclear energy accounts for 90 percent of all electric utility savings in carbon dioxide emissions since 1973.
  • Water discharged from a nuclear power plant contains no harmful pollutants and meets regulatory standards for temperature designed to protect aquatic life.  The Fermi 2 cooling system is specifically designed in a closed-loop to prevent thermal or other pollution to Lake Erie.
  • Nuclear power plants require less land area than all other energy sources – which aids conservation and wildlife efforts across the US. Many nuclear plants actually have wildlife sanctuaries onsite, because of the negligible impact on the surrounding area. 
  • According to General Electric, output from an ESBWR (Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor), the technology that Detroit Edison is referencing in its application, would offset the emission of 7.4 million tons of greenhouse gases and the combustion of 5.1 million tons of coal every year.
  • Nuclear power plants do not emit nitrogen oxides (NOx) or sulfur dioxide (SO2) gases into the atmosphere. Taking all 104 U.S. nuclear plants into consideration, this leads to the reduction of approximately 10,000 tons of NOx and 32,000 tons of SO2 each year.