Renewable energy won’t be able to make up for the loss of carbon-free electricity resulting from a wave of nuclear-power plant closures in the coming decades, according to a new report released by the environmental group Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.
Per Bloomberg, “Of the 66 nuclear power plants operating in the U.S., 24 are either scheduled to close or probably won’t make money through 2021, according Nicholas Steckler, an analyst with Bloomberg New Energy Finance.”
Some climate advocates are growing increasingly worried that progress in decarbonizing the power sector will hit the brakes if large amounts of existing nuclear plants go offline.
The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions’ report, which also includes policy proposals, represents a growing urgency among some environmentalists that carbon-free nuclear power should be part of the equation addressing climate change despite other big concerns, such as upfront costs and what to do with radioactive waste.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Agency is gearing up to review requests from companies to run some nuclear reactors for an unprecedented 80 years, 20 years longer than current operating licenses. Assumptions about future emissions levels also assume the agency approves these requests, in a process that could take a couple of years.