Feeling Warm And Toasty? Thank An Isotope!

I am warm.

Today is January 6th, 2014. I am in Pennsylvania. And at the moment, the temperature is -5 degrees Fahrenheit. (Yes, that’s a negative number in Pennsylvania.) And the forecast does not call for a heat wave anytime soon.

We’ve got the kind of cold front weather men and women everywhere fawn over – the kind that gins up groovy names like “polar vortex” and “snowmageddon.” One of my cleverer friends is even broadcasting snowmageddon updates replete with egg shortages and cannibalism (!!!). And I am as comfortably warm as warm can be, thanks to my local power plant.

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I live near Beaver Valley Power Station. Beaver Valley has two pressurized water reactors with a combined capacity of 1815 megawatts of electricity. That’s enough electricity to power more than 1. 4 million homes. At last report**, both reactors are cranking at 100 power – powering my furnace to push out the cold air mother nature insists on delivering.

And as of October 2013, nuclear energy accounted for 19 percent of all the electricity produced in the United States. So whether you are rubbing your hands over a space heater or relaxing in a warm, cozy bedroom reading a book, know that safe, reliable nuclear energy played a part in getting you to that comfort zone. You’ve got to love that good ol’ uranium-235!

**Oh the irony! Beaver Valley Unit 1 automatically tripped from 100 percent power due to a current differential in the main step-up transformer just as I was writing this post. (Ref. Event Number: 49697, 1/6/2014,19:09 hrs.)

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Author: NuclearGrrl

Nuclear engineer, afro queen, black mamba, feminist, clinic escort, beer aficionado and all around spectacular human being.