NPP Newsletter: New PA climate change report calls for maintaining current nuclear generation levels

Hello friends –

The holiday season is upon us, and we hope that you’re enjoying this special time of year with family and friends. On the heels of the release of the state legislature’s landmark Nuclear Energy Caucus report comes news of yet another state government report urging action to properly value nuclear energy in Pennsylvania.

During a recent meeting of the state’s Climate Change Advisory Committee(CCAC), members were presented with a draft of the Pennsylvania Climate Change Plan. This is the fourth such report produced by the PA Department of Environmental Protection since 2008, and it details 15 “practical and impactful” actions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

In addition to actions aimed at increasing energy conservation, efficiency and alternative fuel production, one in particular stands out to us – “implement policy to maintain nuclear generation at current levels.” 

According to the draft report, preventing the premature retirement of nuclear power plants like Three Mile Island and Beaver Valley Power Station would ensure zero-emissions sources of baseload electricity are maintained in the commonwealth.

“Two large nuclear power plants are expected to go offline in Pennsylvania in the next few years…Given how quickly the expected closures are approaching, the Pennsylvania legislature would need to act swiftly to implement this action. This is a problem that has been faced in other states such as New York (Spector 2018), New Jersey, Illinois, New York, and Wisconsin; it could be solved through a number of options that the Pennsylvania legislature could consider.” (read the full report here)

The Beaver Valley Power Station in Shippingport is one of two nuclear power plants that could close in the coming years without swift action in the Pennsylvania legislature. Pennsylvania’s nuclear energy facilities are responsible for 93% of the commonwealth’s carbon-free electricity and help avoid help avoid 37 million tons of CO2 emissions.

Of all the actions outlined, preserving nuclear power in our state’s energy mix does the most by far to prevent greenhouse gas emissions – reducing more than 18.4M metric tons of carbon dioxide by 2025, and more than 21.1M by 2050. In combination with other solutions identified, Pennsylvania would effectively limit emissions and ensure the lasting health of state infrastructure, economy and environment well into the future.

To learn more about the draft report, read this article by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette energy and environment reporter Laura Legere. She writes that we can expect a final report from the CCAC early next year, with letters of support or opposition from its members.

Get in touch with us on Facebook and Twitter to share your thoughts about the plan and be sure to tag @PennsylvaniaDEP too.

We look forward to hearing from you and continuing our work together to support nuclear power in the New Year!

-Nuclear Powers Pennsylvania