FIGURE 8.D.1 Life-cycle CO2 emissions for nuclear power plants. These estimates were gathered from the open literature. The red bars represent the estimates of Fthnakis and Kim for nuclear power plants built and operated in the United States. The estimates below this range include European and Japanese estimates that assume that nearly all fuel enrichment is done via gas centrifuge; this would not be the case in the United States in the near future. The estimates above this range were from a single source (Storm van Leeuwen and Smith, 2007). The highest estimate includes lower-quality uranium ore than the committee judges is likely to be needed in the near future. In addition, for these three estimates, a different type of life-cycle analysis was used, which may not be directly comparable with other estimates (both for nuclear and other generating options). For comparison, traditional coal plants emit approximately 1000 g CO2 equivalent per kWh of electricity produced.
Sources: Fthenakis and Kim, 2007; ACA, 2001; Vattenfall, 2005; Dones, 2003; Dones et al., 2005; Hondo, 2005; Tokimatsu et al., 2006; ExternE, 1998; British Energy, 2005; White, 1998; and Storm van Leeuwen and Smith, 2007 (SLS, 2007).