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James Ellis On The Energy Density Advantage of Nuclear Power


Published: October 09, 2019

Nuclear power has an energy density advantage over other methods of generating electricity. One environmental advantage nuclear power has over wind and solar farms is that nuclear plants take up much less land to generate the same amount of electricity. As a result, it is often more efficient method of generating energy.

This video’s audio is excerpted from Admiral James Ellis's 2018 Hoover Institution Summer Policy Boot Camp lecture. 

The Hoover Institution’s Summer Policy Boot Camp an intensive, one-week residential immersion program in the essentials of today’s national and international United States policy for upperclassmen and recent graduates. To learn more, click here.

Additional Resources

  • Watch “The Role of Commercial Nuclear Energy in a National Energy Policy” with James Ellis Jr., available here
  • Watch “Redefining Energy Security” by Admiral James O. Ellis Jr., available here.
  • Read “The Benefits of Nuclear Power” by Admiral James O. Ellis Jr. and George P. Shultz. Available here.
  • Listen as Admiral James O. Ellis Jr. takes a fresh look at nuclear power in a time of newfound domestic energy abundance in "Reinventing Nuclear Power." Available here.
View Transcript

Why are we talking about nuclear at all? 

Why is it in the mix from an energy perspective? 

In a simplistic way the real issue is energy density. 

That little fuel pellet... 

It’s about the size of a pencil eraser. 

The energy contained in that equates to three barrels of oil, 17,000 cubic feet of natural gas, that’s about six rail cars full of natural gas, and one ton of coal ore. 

In order to generate the amount of commercial electricity that is generated in a single thousand megawatt nuclear power plant, 

will require 235 square miles of wind turbines in order to do that. 

Now if you ask about solar, it’s about 30 square miles for solar farms to create that. 

So, you can see you’ve got an energy density capability there that is absolutely important and potentially very, very beneficial.