Nuclear Essential to Meeting Carbon Goals


Nuclear energy continues as Duke Energy’s largest carbon-free power source.

Generating approximately 50 percent of the Carolinas electricity, nuclear will continue to be an important energy source as the company works toward its goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

An important step in reaching that goal is obtaining subsequent license renewal for the nuclear fleet. These licenses, renewed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, will allow the reactors operated by Duke Energy in the Carolinas to continue operating for an additional 20 years. The application process for Oconee Nuclear Station in South Carolina, the largest nuclear station, began in 2018 and the application will be submitted in 2021.

But the company isn’t stopping there – emerging technology initiatives like advanced nuclear, which includes a wide range of small modular light-water reactors and advanced non-light-water reactor designs, are also being explored.

While the company’s existing nuclear fleet provides the baseload, carbon-free capacity needed by our customers, advanced nuclear will provide an even stronger partnership with renewable energy sources like solar and wind.

In 2020, the Duke Energy nuclear fleet generated more than 73 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity and avoided the release of almost 50 million tons of carbon dioxide. Duke Energy’s nuclear fleet marked its 22nd consecutive year with a fleet capacity factor – a measure of reliability – greater than 90 percent. The 2020 fleet capacity factor was 94.42 percent.