Shutting Down Nuclear Power Plants- Economic and Environmental Impacts

Via Areva, Paul Fishbeck, Shilo Raube and Chriss Swaney at Carnegie Mellon have released their model for analyzing the consequences of shutting down various segments of the 104 US nuclear reactors. The results should be alarming to the German, Italian and Swiss politicians who have been stampeded by their green parties. The bottom line is straightforward: every NPP that is turned off increases both GHG emissions and electricity prices. The Carnegie team has published their spreadsheet model — so the EU (and Japanese) politicians can plug in their own national data to assess the damage that will be done to the environment and to their economies.

(…) “Turning off a single large nuclear power plant could require dozens of coal and gas-fired plants to ramp up production to make up the difference,” said Paul Fischbeck, a professor of social and decision sciences and engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon. “These plants use fossil fuels, cost more to operate, and emit pollution that can lead to acid rain and ozone, and CO2, a greenhouse gas.”

Fischbeck, a risk expert, added that some of the differences are large. “Replacing the Brown’s Ferry plant in Alabama with a mix of coal and gas power plants would cause CO2 emissions to increase by approximately 24 million tons each year. That’s the same as the annual emissions of over 4 million cars,” he said.

Dr. Fishbeck is affliliated with the consulting group DAI. The reported work may have been supported by DAI – I can’t tell from what I’ve seen. But from reviewing DAI publications it appears they have covered the waterfront in energy, electric generation and renewables. Reading through the DAI “Corporate Qualifications” will give you an overview of their studies and sponsors. They have been retained by investors interested in coal, nuclear, wind, solar, and natural gas projects.