In 2013, Groton got 44 percent of its electricity from carbon-free nuclear reactors; up from 40 percent in 2012.

Without this contribution from nuclear, we would be stuck with making up the 44 percent from carbon-emitting fossil fuels. On the other side of the coin, if we had twice the current nuclear power contribution, Groton electricity would be totally carbon-free, with the extra 12 percent coming from hydro and solar.

To avoid global warming and consequential dramatic climate changes, nuclear power must make up a large part of the mix of power sources. In a nuclear-powered world, we can avoid burning carbon-emitting natural gas (produced by environmentally damaging "fracking" to heat our homes. Efficient, electrically-powered heat pumps can be used for both heating and air-conditioning.

Natural gas has a solid track record for killing lots of people. No deaths, or even health problems, have been caused by the 104 U.S. nuclear reactors (including Three Mile Island).

Also, in a win-win deal called "Megatons to Megawatts," 10 percent of total U.S. electrical power now comes from our nuclear reactors using recycled Russian bombs. By comparison, hydropower, solar, biomass, wind and geothermal together account for 9 percent of U.S. electric power.

The bad news is that many of our current reactors built more than four decades ago will be retired as their licenses and extensions run out.

The good news is that five new reactors are being constructed in Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Eventually, renewables (solar, wind, hydro, etc.) may be able to shoulder all of U.S. electric power needs.

Hugh and Marion Stoddart

Groton