One Thing Trump, Some Environmentalists Both Love: Nuclear Power

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(Bloomberg) -- There’s a sliver of common ground emerging in the fraught relationship between President Donald Trump and environmentalists: nuclear power.

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions on Wednesday released a study endorsing efforts to save struggling U.S. reactors, which produce more than half of the nation’s emission-free electricity. Trump is also pushing to keep reactors running, but the Kumbaya moment ends there.

The president, who has called climate change a hoax, lumps nuclear power together with coal plants, saying both are essential to keep electric grids reliable. The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, on the other hand, sees reactors as important tools to fight global warming -- a stance that puts the group at odds with others environmentalists.

“If these stay on line for 60 or 80 years, we’re in a much better position,” said Doug Vine, a senior energy fellow at the Arlington, Virginia-based nonprofit.

Environmentalists Split

For all its emission-free attributes, nuclear power continues to divide the environmental community. That’s because of the risk of meltdowns and the challenges of dealing with toxic spent fuel rods. The Sierra Club, for instance, remains “unequivocally opposed” to reactors, calling them “a uniquely dangerous energy technology for humanity.”

C2ES, however, sees global warming as an even bigger threat. Ideally, the group would like to save reactors with a national price on carbon emissions. But absent that, it sees the next best approach as the one underway in New York, Illinois and possibly elsewhere to reward reactors with zero-emissions credits, according to C2ES, whose board includes executives from nuclear operators including Entergy Corp. and Duke Energy Corp.

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