Emissions Avoided by Nuclear
The Breakthrough Institute is very concerned that President Obama’s Clean Power Plan is going to lead to the decommissioning of a large number of existing nuclear reactors. They point out that while the original plan encouraged the relicensing of some 22 reactors whose licenses will expire by 2030, the final plan is ready to abandon these reactors. In a convoluted logical analysis, the plan argues that because existing plans lowering of emissions have already been counted, they will not do anything to further improve the situation. “On further consideration, we believe it is inappropriate to base the BSER [best system of emission reduction] on elements that will not reduce CO2 emissions from affected [fossil plants] below current levels. Existing nuclear generation helps make existing CO2 emissions lower than they would otherwise be, but will not further lower CO2 emissions below current levels." Breakthrough offers the above graph to show that a significant amount of emissions reduction will be lost with the closing of existing reactors.