More than 110 nuclear energy plants supply more electricity than oil, natural gas or hydropower in the present time. Since 1973, they have saved American consumers approximately $44 billion, compared to the other fuels that would have been used to make electricity. Since our electricity system is inter-connected, just about every American gets some electricity from nuclear energy. In addition to the economic benefits that can be achieved through the use of nuclear energy, there are environmental benefits as well. There is, however, a natural number of drawbacks caused by the production of electricity through nuclear power. Although there are great deals of risks involved when using nuclear energy as a source of power, we argue that the benefits greatly outweigh any potential problems that may come about. Since the oil embargo of 1973, Americans have used energy more wisely and more efficiently than in the past. During this time, our population has grown from 211 million to almost 280 million, our economy has grown about 50 percent, but our use of energy has grown only 10 percent. Our economic growth, however, has been fueled largely by electric power. Between 1973 and 1990, our GDP, which is the measurement of a nation's wealth, grew by about 50 percent. In the same period, electricity use grew by 58 percent. From this information, we can only conclude that in order to meet the needs of our strong economy and our growing population, we must have reliable supplies of electric power. The nation's nuclear power plants produced 674 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 1996. This was more electricity than the entire country consumed in the early 1950s all together. Worldwide, there are currently about 442 nuclear power plants at work, all are contributing about 19 percent of the world's electricity supply. There are constant international battles for the use of nuclear energy and how it is used, or the best ways to use it. With the great number of problems that can come about by the abuse of nuclear energy, many countries have strict guidelines that must be followed.