When you flip on a light switch, turn on your TV, start up your coffee maker, or charge your cell phone, there’s a good chance that the energy you’re using to get the job done has been generated by nuclear power. Yet this misunderstood power source is vastly underutilized in America.

In a new documentary by The Heritage Foundation called “Powering America,” we examine how nuclear energy is used in the United States and take a look at the big questions. Is nuclear energy safe? Can it help to meet our future energy needs? “Powering America” answers these questions and more by pulling back the veil on nuclear energy and follows the men and women who work in America’s nuclear power industry.

Taking a behind-the-scenes look at uranium mines, nuclear power plants, and used fuel recycling facilities from across the globe, “Powering America” takes viewers on a journey through the full fuel cycle, showing how a simple piece of rock can power a nation, and ultimately our future. The documentary examines cooling towers, how a power plant works, nuclear waste, the benefits of nuclear energy, the truth behind accidents, the impact on people who work in and live around nuclear power facilities, questions about radiation, and regulations in America.

The issue is particularly relevant today as the world remembers the Fukushima disaster in Japan and as America grapples with escalating energy costs, threats from the Iranian regime to cut off a quarter of the world’s oil supply, and an Obama Administration that appears bent on blocking the development of domestic sources of energy, such as his decision to block the Keystone XL pipeline. Amid these energy challenges, whether Americans know it or not, nuclear is already filling 20 percent of America’s energy needs with 104 reactors in 31 states, everywhere from California to Arizona, Texas to Michigan, Florida to New York.

There’s hope that America could turn toward nuclear power for even more of its energy. Last month, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) voted to approve permits to begin construction on two nuclear reactors — the first time in over three decades that the NRC granted a license to build new reactors. While it’s good news that those plants were approved, Heritage’s Jack Spencer and Rachael Slobodien explain that a full-scale rebirth of the nuclear industry cannot occur without serious reforms including fixing how nuclear waste is managed, developing a more efficient regulatory regime for nuclear energy, and allowing market forces to determine what technologies move forward.

“Powering America” examines these issues and more. America is looking for safe and smart solutions to meet America’s growing energy demands, especially as technology advances and new devices become essential to our daily lives. Is nuclear energy the answer? Find out in our “Powering America” documentary.

Watch the trailer for “Powering America” and sign up to learn more about the documentary.

Quick Hits: