Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis


School of Environment


Earth and Environmental Resources Management

First Advisor

Wally Peters

Second Advisor

Dwayne Porter


The world, the United States, and South Carolina are all increasingly aware of the negative effects of energy production from burning fossil fuels. These range from the environmental impacts to the economic impacts caused by a strong reliance of energy production by burning these fuels. Burning fossil fuels releases large emissions of carbon dioxide and other compounds into the air adversely impacting the biosphere and human health.

The increasing population of South Carolina and the continual reliance on coal-fired power plants is directly related to the elevated harmful emissions into the atmosphere created during energy generation. However, the United States government and the state government are implementing new legislation that decreases the reliance of fossil fuels and increases South Carolina's use of alternative energy sources. Although renewable energy sources are clean and efficient means of power generation, the country's power grid cannot efficiently transport electricity over long distances and the nation's infrastructure is not yet conducive for a reliance on renewable energy sources.

This thesis considers whether nuclear power is a viable energy source for South Carolina that can serve as a transition technology for the state. The research determines whether the state can highly rely on nuclear power to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and allow for the development of renewable energy sources throughout the state. Numerous nuclear reactors already exist in South Carolina, but fossil fuels provide much of the population with electricity and this study determines whether nuclear power is a viable source of energy that can replace fossil fuels as a major energy generating technology in the state.

This study assesses the environmental, social, and economic impacts of nuclear power and concludes whether nuclear power is a viable transition technology for providing South Carolina's population with efficient and clean energy.


© 2010, Joshua Berry