By Craig Piercy
A political seismic shift occurred this week – and I am not talking about the mid-term election. The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) released a report Thursday acknowledging nuclear power’s important role in reducing carbon emissions.
Their findings are clear: when nuclear power plants close carbon emissions rise, as their generation is replaced by coal and natural gas rather than other clean energy sources. To be precise, UCS found that closing all of the nuclear power plants that are currently scheduled to be decommissioned or that are unprofitable would cause U.S. power sector emissions to rise by 4-6%!
The UCS report comes at an important time. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a dire warning on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The inescapable fact is that the U.S. nuclear fleet needs to be preserved in order to avoid a climactic point of no return.
I’m thrilled that UCS recommended a number of steps to reduce plant closures and maintain nuclear’s clean energy production, including implementing carbon pricing, technology neutral, low-carbon electricity standards, and temporary financial support for nuclear plants at risk of closure. I would note their core recommendations echo our work on the Nuclear in the States Toolkit.
Let “The Awakening” continue!
Craig Piercy has represented ANS in Washington, D.C. for the past 13 years. He works with Congress and Executive Branch officials to advocate for policies that support nuclear science and technology.