Think tank says nuclear energy vital to reaching Clean Power Plan goals

The Third Way, a Washington D.C. think tank, recently reported that nuclear energy is essential to reaching the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) carbon emission reduction goals.

In a report issued in conjunction with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the organization said it would be difficult to meet reduced carbon emissions if nuclear power plants are closed prematurely. 

“Nuclear energy should be recognized as the carbon-free source of electricity that it is," the report said. "We must understand the contribution the U.S. nuclear fleet has had on keeping emissions down and the devastating consequences we would face if this energy source were to gradually fade away, let alone rapidly disappear."

The report also said that if nuclear power generation were to be eliminated or phased out, it would be likely that natural gas generation would take its place and that other forms of renewable energy would not be able to fill the void left behind by nuclear generation.

The Clean Power Plan aims to reduce carbon emissions from power plants in the U.S. by 32 percent of 2005 levels by 2030.

The Third Way said that although the Clean Power Plan predicts that nuclear energy will remain steady as other source of energy are sought, it does not offer any protection against the premature closing of nuclear power plants. 

"Any retirements would make it extremely difficult for the Clean Power Plan to reach its emissions targets,” the Third Way's report said.

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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

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