Most of the electricity used in North Carolina is from coal (3,736 GWh), nuclear (3,656 GWh), natural gas-fired (2,521 GWh), hydroelectric (362 GWh), and other renewables (232 GWh). The residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation uses are all about 25% of the total amount of energy used. However, residential uses use the greatest amount at 28.6%, and industrial uses use the least at 21.6%.
The main energy suppliers in Chatham County are PSNC Energy, Progress/Duke Energy, Central Carolina Electric Cooperative, and Randolph Electric Cooperative. PSNC Energy supplies natural gas, and Central Electric and Randolph Electric both supply electricity.
Duke Energy has nuclear, conventional hydro, pumped-storage hydro, coal-fired, and oil/gas power plants where their energy comes from. Duke energy’s power plants in a whole produce about 49,700 mg to about 7.2 million people on the east coast of the United States. Some of this energy comes from the six nuclear power plants located in North Carolina and South Carolina, most of them built in the seventies and eighties. A small amount comes from the eighteen conventional hydro plants, and 1,775 mg from the two pumped-storage hydro plants in South Carolina. They also own eight coal-fired plants located in North Carolina.
Nuclear energy is the main alternative energy used in Chatham County; about 45% of energy used in North Carolina is nuclear energy. In New Hill, NC, there is a nuclear power plant named Shearon Harris. It can produce 900 mg of energy, which is enough to power about 550,000 homes, and has produced 167, 667, 147 mg since it was created in 1987 until 2012.
The basic way that the plant works is by using nuclear energy to heat up steam that is then used to turn a turbine to create electricity. Splitting uranium atoms in a process called nuclear fission creates the nuclear energy that produces the heat used to make steam. This occurs inside a nuclear reactor, which is inside a containment building. The containment building protects the outside environment with a 4 1/2 foot thick concrete layer with reinforced bar and a steel plate liner on the inside of the concrete layer.
Once the uranium has released most of its energy, the...