Emissions Implications of Nuclear Retirements

Emissions Implications of Nuclear Retirements

July 2017

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Since late 2012, five power companies retired six nuclear reactors in the United States. Across the country, an additional seven reactors are scheduled to be closed by 2025, including two at the Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan, New York. If this trend continues or accelerates, there could be serious climate implications. Nuclear power supplies 20 percent of total U.S. electricity production, but it supplies 57 percent of zero-carbon electricity. As all recent U.S. nuclear retirements have led to increased fossil fuel-fired generation, any additional loss of nuclear generating capacity could be expected to increase carbon dioxide emissions. Preserving the existing U.S. nuclear reactor fleet for as long as possible is a critical element in the transition to a low-carbon future.