The topic of green energy production is a topic that is addressed not only at the level of environmental activists but also at the state level. We have recently seen, for example, that in Europe, gas and nuclear power generation have been newly considered as green forms of investments.
It is nuclear energy that we will be looking at today because it is always a large and long-term investment. This form of energy production is proving popular in several countries around the world, especially now that energy prices are hitting their highs and many countries are experiencing an energy crisis.
Another reason why countries are turning to nuclear electricity is its almost emission-free operation. A large number of states have a plan to be as carbon neutral as possible in power generation by 2050. This was partly the reason why Japan returned to operating nuclear power plants after many years.
In the US, nuclear reactors could be placed in coal-fired power plants.
The U.S. Department of Energy is exploring where it would be most efficient to locate new nuclear reactors. It looks like one of the best options will be to place them in coal-fired power plants, which look like the ideal place to do it.
According to a recent report, as many as 157 retired coal plants and 237 operating coal plants in the US could be converted to nuclear power generation.
The report found that of the decommissioned or active plant sites, 80% are suitable for hosting advanced reactors smaller than one gigawatt.
Emissions are already falling in the US
We can already see that carbon dioxide emissions from the US power sector have been declining in recent years. Most of this is because energy companies have started to phase out old coal plants and instead are using natural gas, wind and solar power. Now, according to a published report, the trend could be more towards nuclear power.
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The study also looks at jobs and overall emissions in the region. It shows that if a large coal plant were replaced by a nuclear plant of similar size, more than 650 permanent jobs could be created and the region’s greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by 86%.
So it remains to be seen how much this new study will affect the energy sector and members of the ruling parties. It will depend on how the Biden administration handles it and the extent to which they support the creation of new nuclear power plants. It is often government subsidies and concessions that are key in helping to build such plants.