Commentary: One year after Oyster Creek shutdown, 3.1M tons of new carbon emissions

Oyster Creek nuclear plant new jersey

CAROL M. BROWNER / NJ SPOTLIGHT – Since the Oyster Creek nuclear plant closed its doors in September 2018, grid operators turned to power plants that burn fossil fuels — namely, natural gas and coal — to replace the lost energy production.

The inevitable result: The region’s carbon pollution spiked by more than 3 million tons in just 12 months, according to newly released Energy Information Administration data, exacerbating the challenge we face to address the climate change emergency. And we can expect those increased emissions to continue, year after year, until we’re able to build enough clean-energy power generation to replace Oyster Creek.

These results are not unique. Our existing nuclear fleet provides significant power supply without the carbon pollution that contributes to climate change. Wherever nuclear plants have closed, emissions have increased as fossil fuels move in to replace the lost production. Increased carbon emissions were measured in California following the premature retirement of the San Onofre nuclear plant and in Vermont after Vermont Yankee shut down in 2014 …

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