According to the U.S. Department of Energy and the Energy Information Administration report Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gases 1997 (published June 1, 1999), the single most effective emission control strategy for utilities was to increase nuclear generation. Nuclear energy accounted for about 69% of U.S. emission-free generation in 2009. The total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions increased from the 1990 baseline of 6,421.8 million metric tons of carbon equivalent to 7,284 tons in 2007.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions globally is the combustion of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas and in power plants, automobiles, industrial facilities and other sources.
Nuclear generated electricity avoids almost 640 million metric tons of carbon equivalent per year in the U.S. This is nearly as much carbon dioxide as is released from all U.S. passenger cars.
Without the emission avoidances from nuclear generation, required reductions in the U.S. would increase by more than 50 percent to achieve targets under the Kyoto Protocol.
In 2008, U.S. nuclear power plants avoided the emissions of nearly 1 million short tons of nitrogen oxides (NOX) and 2.7 million short tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2).
Only 27% of our nation's electricity comes from clean-air sources and nuclear power plants generate almost three-fourths of it.
To replace the 2,000 megawatts from Indian Point will require a fleet of new power plants and/or transmission lines strewn throughout the region.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy and the Energy Information Administration report Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gases 1997, the single most effective emission control strategy for utilities was to increase nuclear generation.