The Effect of New Nuclear Generation on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Table 4.2 shows the effect on coal generation and hence greenhouse gas emissions of adding additional nuclear reactors above the nine in the EIA study. The table shows that one can achieve close to a 20% drop in the amount of electricity generated by coal producing a similar drop in greenhouse gas emissions by building a total of 36 additional nuclear reactors above the nine in the original Energy Information Agency (EIA) study. Considering that there are currently a total of 17 applications for 26 reactors under review by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, it is reasonable to expect a majority of these will be built. These 26 reactors would correspond closely to the case labeled EIA plus 18 yielding nearly a 10% reduction in the amount of electricity generated by coal and a commensurate reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. If that number is doubled to 36 above the EIA study, then one could achieve a reduction in the percentage of coal fired electricity generation of nearly 20%.

7 Each new reactor is assumed to be capable of producing 1,400 MWe at a capacity factor of 95%. Current designs proposed for constructions are rated from 1,200 MWe for the Westinghouse designed AP1000 to 1,500 MWe for the General Electric designed ESBWR.

Table 4.2 Percentage of electricity generated in the United States in 2030 by coal and nuclear as a function of the number of new nuclear reactors built

EIA study

EIA plus 9

EIA plus 18

EIA plus 27

EIA plus 36

Coal

46.7

45

43

40

38

Nuclear

17.6

19.6

22

24

26

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