The EPA recently proposed a new rule for the regulation of existing power plants under the Clean Air Act section 111(d) that would reduce carbon emissions from the electrical generating sector 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.
The EPA’s proposed rule incorporates 6 percent of existing nuclear generating capacity when calculating states target emission rates. This percentage is based on a U.S. forecast that 6 percent of U.S. nuclear capacity is at risk of premature shutdown. As the Nuclear Energy Institute states this forecast has no logic, the rule assumes that six percent of the nuclear capacity in every state with nuclear power plants is at risk. In fact, the at-risk capacity could be higher in states with competitive electricity markets.
In addition the rule unjustly penalizes Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee, where new reactors are being built. These new reactors will not begin producing electricity until 2015 to 2018 but the EPA is treating them as if they are already operating at 90 percent capacity. The Nuclear Energy Institute commented that this is a substantial penalty and that the EPA should remove it entirely from target setting calculations.