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9/10/2015 by mdc
NEI reports that the EPA Clean Power Plan requires power plants to cut carbon emissions by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. That is like taking 166 million cars, or 70 percent of the U.S. passenger vehicles, off the road. It is impossible to hit that target without nuclear energy playing a pivotal role. Why?

1. Nuclear energy is the top source of carbon-free electricity. Nuclear energy generates 20 percent of overall electricity and 63 percent of all carbon-free electricity. The EPA plan calls for larger carbon reductions than the original version, making existing nuclear power plants more valuable than ever before.

2. Nuclear avoids more than 1/2 billion tons of carbon emissions each year. Take away this clean air foundation, and the Clean Power Plan could fall apart. Without nuclear power plants operating in 30 states, carbon emissions from the electricity sector would be 27 percent higher.

3. If nuclear plants close prematurely, reaching the EPA goals becomes difficult. Several nuclear plants are under threat of premature closure due to distorted markets and policy flaws. States need to ask - What will happen if more reactors shut down? Carbon emissions will increase, as seen with the closure of Kewaunee Power Station. During operations, Kewaunee prevented the emission of 4.4 million tons of carbon each year. In 2012,last full year of Kewaunee operations, the Wisconsin power sector emitted 41.2 million tons of carbon. In 2013, the number jumped to 47.7 million tons.

4. Nuclear is the workhorse of a clean energy grid. Nuclear plants are the most reliable source of electricity, operating 24 hrs per day 7 days a week for 18 to 24 months before shutting down briefly to refuel. These facilities have a track record of price stability and reliability.

5. Renewables can not do it all. The Clean Power Plan places the most emphasis on the role of renewables in realizing the U.S. clean energy future. But renewables are still not economic, etc.

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