Economic Report Finds Significant Value of Nuclear Power Plants to Michigan’s Economy and Carbon Emissions Limits

WASHINGTON--()--Michigan’s four nuclear energy plants contribute more than a half-billion dollars to the state’s gross domestic product (GDP), in addition to other economic and societal benefits, according to a new study conducted by economists at global consulting firm The Brattle Group.

“The public and policymakers are seldom offered such starkly obvious public policy choices as working to ensure existing nuclear energy plants continue to operate.”

The report estimates Michigan’s nuclear power plants’ contribution to the Michigan economy and to limiting greenhouse gas emissions. Combined, the state’s four reactors – American Electric Power’s Cook 1 & 2 in Bridgman, DTE Energy’s Fermi 2 near Monroe, and Entergy’s Palisades in Covert Township – provide Michigan householders and employers with about 4,000 megawatts (MW) of emissions-free electricity and nearly 32 million megawatt hours (MWh) of annual electricity generation. The research concludes that Michigan’s nuclear industry accounts for 3,200 in-state full time jobs (direct and secondary) and provides almost $23 million in net state tax revenues annually. Average annual carbon dioxide emissions would be about 25 million tons greater absent the generation from these nuclear plants. This is worth an additional $1 billion annually if valued at the U.S. government’s estimate for the social cost of carbon. The plants are typically one of the largest employers, taxpayers, and charitable contributors in their respective counties.

“The economic and environmental benefits of nuclear energy are often undervalued in national and state energy policy discussions,” said Dr. Mark Berkman, co-author of the report and a principal at The Brattle Group. “It is even more critical to consider the significant value of U.S. nuclear plants in a landscape where nuclear facilities are threatened in some areas of the country.”

“This report stresses the need for nuclear energy to ensure that Americans can continue to reap the indisputable benefits that these plants bring to the table,” said Nuclear Matters co-chair, former Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH). “The public and policymakers are seldom offered such starkly obvious public policy choices as working to ensure existing nuclear energy plants continue to operate.”

“Reducing carbon emissions is one of our country’s top priorities, especially in light of the Environmental Protection Agency’s recently finalized Clean Power Plan,” stated Nuclear Matters co-chair, former Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN). “And yet, in this carbon-constrained world, existing nuclear energy plants receive no value for their ability to generate an astounding amount of carbon-free, reliable energy. The answer to one of our biggest environmental and economic challenges lies, in part, in nuclear energy. Without nuclear power, it would be impossible to achieve our carbon reduction objectives.”

“Manufacturing is the largest sector of the Michigan economy and electricity is a critical input to producing Michigan-made products,” said Mike Johnston, Vice President of Government Affairs at the Michigan Manufacturers Association. “These nuclear power plants play an important role in delivering reliable base-load electric generation not only for Michigan manufacturing, but also the residents of Michigan. As policymakers debate the energy future of our state, particularly in the face of new federal regulatory mandates that will shut down large portions of our coal-based generation in Michigan and nationally, it is vital that nuclear power is properly valued and remains a pillar of Michigan’s strategically diverse energy mix.”

Nuclear energy in Michigan also helps keep electricity prices lower than they would otherwise be. In fact, Michigan consumers would pay $37 million more annually (in 2015 dollars) and over $300 million more over the next ten years (on a net present value basis) without these plants.

Nuclear energy provides almost 20 percent of the United States’ electricity and more than 25 percent of electricity in Michigan.

The report estimates Michigan’s nuclear plants’ economic value using Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI), a widely-used dynamic input-output model of the U.S. economy, linked with a simplified Brattle model of the U.S. electricity sector to better capture the dynamics of power markets and prices. By linking these models, the authors were able to measure the economic output, employment, and tax revenue in Michigan with and without its nuclear plants, providing the most accurate picture of their contribution to the economy.

Nuclear Power Plants’ Contribution to the Michigan Economy” was prepared for Nuclear Matters by The Brattle Group.

A national report that estimates the value of the entire nuclear industry to the U.S. economy, “The Nuclear Industry’s Contribution to the U.S. Economy,” was released earlier this year. The national report concludes that the United States’ nuclear energy plants contribute $60 billion annually to national GDP, among other findings.

About Nuclear Matters

The mission of Nuclear Matters is to inform the public about the clear benefits that nuclear energy provides to our nation, to raise awareness of the economic challenges to nuclear energy that threaten those benefits, and to work with stakeholders to explore possible policy solutions that properly value nuclear energy as a reliable, affordable and carbon-free electricity resource that is essential to America’s energy future.

Supporters of Nuclear Matters include a range of companies and organizations in the energy industry, including Ameren Missouri, American Nuclear Insurers, Arizona Public Service Company, AREVA, Black & Veatch, POWER Engineers, Centrus Energy Corp. Dominion, Duke Energy, Energy Future Holdings Corporation, Energy Northwest, Entergy Corporation, Exelon Corporation, FirstEnergy Corp., GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, Lightbridge Corporation, Nebraska Public Power District, NextEra Energy Inc., Omaha Public Power District, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company, Southern Company, Tennessee Valley Authority, and Westinghouse Electric Corporation.

About The Brattle Group

The Brattle Group analyzes complex economic, finance, and regulatory questions for corporations, law firms, and governments around the world. We are distinguished by the clarity of our insights and the credibility of our experts, which include leading international academics and industry specialists. For more information, please visit


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