05/30/2013 - 16:18

Nuclear exit, the US energy mix, and carbon dioxide emissions

Henry D. Jacoby

Henry D. Jacoby is a professor of management in the MIT Sloan School of Management and former codirector of the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change. He serves...

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Sergey Paltsev

Sergey Paltsev is a principal research scientist at the MIT Energy Initiative and assistant director for economic research for the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of...

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If the United States were to adopt a policy to phase out nuclear generation, as has happened recently in other developed countries, what would the environmental and energy-mix implications be? Based on alternative scenarios of nuclear exit that consider the influence of potential policies to limit greenhouse gas emissions, a model of the US and global economy indicates that, under current policy, a US nuclear exit would increase carbon dioxide emissions, and likely raise electricity prices and reduce gross domestic product by relatively small amounts. Those economic impacts would be increased by additional measures to limit carbon dioxide emissions.