Is Bernie Sanders’s nuclear phaseout plan a hippie pipe dream or smart policy?
That’s also the view of Devin Hartman, electricity policy manager for the R Street Institute, a center-right think tank, and a former energy market analyst at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. He points out that retired nuclear plants in the Northeast and California have been mostly replaced by increased natural gas usage. And in Japan and Germany, where the governments have been shutting down nuclear reactors since the Fukushima meltdown, coal use has spiked.
“Shutting down nuclear plants would create a little more demand for energy efficiency and renewables, but the net effect of nuclear retirements will generally be increasing emissions,” Hartman says.