In response to the EPA’s Clean Power Plan Proposed Rule, The American Nuclear Society (ANS) is executing a campaign to encourage members to comment on the EPA’s website before the comment period close date of December 1, 2014, to voice their opinion on the proposed rule’s treatment of nuclear power. The ANS says the proposed rule is in conflict with their Policy Statement on climate change, which states that “ANS supports policies designed to address carbon emission reductions that are performance-based and technology neutral.”
The ANS views the rule, which seeks to reduce carbon emissions from the power sector by 30% by the year 2030, as overlooking the environmentally clean aspects of nuclear power. According to a letter from ANS President Dr. Michaele Brady Raap, “the rule as it is currently structured would almost entirely discount the clean energy contributions of our current nuclear energy facilities and effectively penalize states that have new plants under construction.” The plan uses an emissions rate baseline of CO2 emitted per megawatt-hour of fossil fuel generation, then allows states to modify their energy sources to lower emissions. The rule allows for a 100% credit for existing wind, solar, and geothermal, but only a 5.8% credit for nuclear power. The ANS encourages its members to push for equal treatment of nuclear power, giving it a matching 100% credit like other low-carbon energy sources.
ANS President Brady Raap called the EPA’s inclusion of nuclear plants under construction in baseline calculations “unacceptable.” The plan factors future nuclear capacity into the calculations for states like South Carolina and Tennessee who have nuclear plants under construction, which will require them to plan for additional CO2 emissions reductions beyond that of their future nuclear capacity.