Policy Issues

EPA Clean Power Plan

In June 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the Clean Power Plan, a proposed rule to cut carbon pollution by 30% by 2030, as compared to 2005 levels. The proposal builds on the actions already being taken by businesses, communities, and states to address the risks of climate change and provides a flexible approach to reduce emissions based on the opportunities and resources available in each state. The EPA proposal will “maintain an affordable, reliable energy system, while cutting pollution and protecting our health and environment now and for future generations.”

The proposed rule calls for each state to devise a plan to cut carbon emissions using the following mix of steps:

  1. Improving efficiency at existing coal-fired power plants
  2. Increasing utilization of existing natural gas fired power plants
  3. Expanding the use of wind, solar, or other low- or zero-carbon emitting alternatives
  4. Increasing energy efficiency in homes and businesses

 Nuclear Energy in the Clean Power Plan

In this proposed rule, the EPA focuses on the importance of continuing to provide affordable and reliable electricity to the public, and nuclear energy plays a big role in accomplishing this. The EPA recommends that states keep existing nuclear power plants running and complete those still under construction. The proposed rules states that “policies that encourage development of renewable energy capacity and discourage premature retirement of nuclear capacity could be useful elements of CO2 reduction strategies and are consistent with current industry behavior.”

Take Action

The EPA is hosting public hearings at the end of July 2014 and you can also submit comments to the proposal online. Following the rule making, outreach should be conducted on the state level to encourage policies for keeping existing nuclear power plants open, finishing those under construction, and building new ones, in order to reduce carbon emissions from electricity generation.

Visit the NRC website to view an interactive map of operating nuclear power plants in the United States.

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