Nuclear power plants, which do not emit carbon dioxide, account for the majority of voluntary reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the electric power sector, according to a 2007 report from Power Partners, a partnership between the electric power industry and the U.S. Department of Energy. (Source NEI)
Life-cycle analysis is a mechanism for measuring the total environmental impact of various energy sources. This includes emissions resulting from all aspects of each energy source—construction, operation, dismantling and disposal.
The life-cycle impact of nuclear energy is among the lowest of any form of electricity generation, comparable with renewable technologies such as wind and solar power.
In 2006, U.S. nuclear power plants reduced emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide—pollutants controlled under the Clean Air Act—by 1 million short tons and 3.1 million short tons, respectively. The amount of nitrogen oxide emissions that nuclear plants prevent annually is the equivalent of taking more than 51 million passenger cars off the road. (Source NEI)
Sulfur Dioxide. Sulfur dioxide contributes to acid rain. A main objective of the Clean Air Act amendments is to reduce the amount of sulfur dioxide emitted into the atmosphere.
In 2006, nuclear plants avoided the emission of 3.1 million short tons of this pollutant—more than twice that avoided by hydroelectric power and all other renewable energy sources combined.