Entitled Prevented mortality and greenhouse gas emissions from historical and projected nuclear power, it was published as a 'just accepted' peer-reviewed paper in Environmental Science & Technology on 15 March. It begins by taking historic generation data from the nuclear sector and estimating emissions from fossil fuels that would likely have met the same generation role if nuclear had not been used. Nuclear plants with poorer performance below 65% capacity factor were swapped for gas generation while higher performers were swapped for coal, which worked out as a mix of 95% coal and 5% gas replacing nuclear.
"In Germany, which has announced plans to shut down all reactors by 2022, we calculate that nuclear power has prevented an average of over 117,000 deaths from 1971-2009"
James Hansen and Pushker Kharecha
In the recent time period of 2000-9 nuclear power plants avoided pollution which would otherwise have caused around 76,000 deaths per year, said the report. (World Nuclear News)