Environmentalists and the nuclear industry are beginning a push to preserve old nuclear reactors whose economic viability is threatened by cheap natural gas and rising production of wind energy. They argue that while natural gas and wind are helpful as sources of electricity with little or no production of greenhouse gases, national climate goals will be unreachable if zero-carbon nuclear reactors are phased out.
The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, an independent nonprofit group based in Washington that was formerly known as the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, plans to release on Monday a research paper that charts the decline of the industry.
“The loss of nuclear plants from the electricity grid would likely lead to millions of tons of additional carbon dioxide in the atmosphere each year,” because the substitute would be fossil fuels, the paper concludes. “This is a prospect the global climate cannot afford.”
An antinuclear group based in Washington, the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, referred to both Nuclear Matters and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions as “de facto nuclear industry front groups” and said the groups were trying to create a false impression that environmentalists were warming to nuclear power.