On Monday the Obama administration released the final version of its Clean Power Plan, which is calling for a 32% cut in greenhouse gases by American power plants by 2030, compared with 2005 emissions. The new rules are tougher than the previously released draft of the plan, which called for a 30% reduction.
But the administration gave the struggling U.S. nuclear industry a glimmer of hope by allowing new reactors to count more toward meeting federal emissions limits.
Under last year’s draft of the plan, the yet-to-be completed reactors at Watts Bar, Vogtle and VC Summer were counted as existing units that wouldn’t be fully credited for carbon reductions generated in the future after they had started operating. The nuclear power industry complained that amounted to a penalty on the plants and made these state targets harder to achieve.
A change in the proposal will now allow these new nuclear reactors under construction get credit towards compliance, the administration official said. The official added that nuclear plants upgraded to become efficient will also get more credit.
The Nuclear Energy Institute, a Washington-based trade group, commented saying it was “pleased” that the EPA recognized that nuclear plants under construction “should count toward compliance when they are operating.”