As many nuclear power plants in the United States risk closure before their operating licenses expire, earlier shutdowns will not threaten the reliability of U.S. electricity, but could result in more emissions because zero-emission nuclear power will likely be replaced by fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) said in an analysis on Thursday. Nuclear power is the single biggest low-carbon source of electricity in the U.S., with 99 nuclear reactors at 60 plants accounting for 20 percent of the U.S. electricity generation in 2017. However, cheap and abundant natural gas in the United States, increased renewable energy use, limited demand, and rising costs at nuclear power facilities have made many of the nuclear plants unprofitable, the UCS said. “More than one-third of US nuclear plants are unprofitable or scheduled to close. If they’re replaced by natural gas, emissions will rise—with serious […]