Study finds value in Michigan nuclear plants

The Palisades Nuclear Plant in Mich.
The Palisades Nuclear Plant in Mich. | Courtesy of the NRC

A recent study by The Brattle Group said nuclear power plants in Michigan contribute approximately $500 million to the state's gross domestic product (GDP), Nuclear Matters announced Tuesday.

The state's nuclear plants - Entergy's Palisades Nuclear Plant, American Electric Power's Cook Units 1 and 2 and DTE Energy's Fermi Unit 2 - produce approximately 4,000 megawatts of electricity, and the nuclear industry in the state supports approximately 3,200 jobs in the state.

“Reducing carbon emissions is one of our country’s top priorities, especially in light of the Environmental Protection Agency’s recently finalized Clean Power Plan,” Nuclear Matters Co-Chair Evan Bayh said. “And yet, in this carbon-constrained world, existing nuclear energy plants receive no value for their ability to generate an astounding amount of carbon-free, reliable energy. The answer to one of our biggest environmental and economic challenges lies, in part, in nuclear energy. Without nuclear power, it would be impossible to achieve our carbon reduction objectives.” 

The report said Michigan residents would likely pay an additional $37 million a year and approximately $300 million over the next 10 years if these plants were not in operation. Nuclear energy makes up approximately 20 percent of the electricity generated across the country and 25 percent of electricity generated in Michigan. 

“The economic and environmental benefits of nuclear energy are often undervalued in national and state energy policy discussions,” The Brattle Group Principal Analyst Mark Berkman, co-author of the report, said. “It is even more critical to consider the significant value of U.S. nuclear plants in a landscape where nuclear facilities are threatened in some areas of the country.”

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