New Report Warns of Dire Health Consequences if Nuclear Power Plants Close in Ohio, Pennsylvania

Findings detail risk of death and economic turmoil if planned closures proceed

WASHINGTON--()--Replacing the electricity from three nuclear power plants at risk of closing prematurely with fossil fuels would lead to an average increase of 126 deaths per year, according to a new report released today by Nuclear Matters and the National Caucus and Center on Black Aging. Nuclear plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania face imminent closure, well before the end of their operational lives, because of badly-structured markets that do not fairly value them for their always-available, emissions-free energy.

The study, titled “Air quality and health impacts of potential nuclear electricity generator closures in Pennsylvania and Ohio,” focuses on the potential air quality, human health and economic impacts of the closure of Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station (OH), Perry Nuclear Generating Station (OH) and Three Mile Island Generating Station (PA), three of only 11 total nuclear power plants in the mid-Atlantic electricity market.

Pollution from burning fossil fuels causes climate change and endangers human health,” said Carol Browner, Nuclear Matters Advocacy Council member and former Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “This report measures the direct impact that closing nuclear power plants – our largest source of carbon-free energy – has on our environment and the health of our communities.”

Key findings from the report include:

  • If operations at the three plants cease, nuclear power generation will most likely be replaced by fossil fuels, leading to major burdens on health including an average increase of 126 deaths per year
  • The increase in deaths due to air pollution is equivalent to $806 million per year in economic damages
  • The number and magnitude of health and economic damages grow proportionately if additional nuclear plants are closed

Elderly communities are particularly at risk to the adverse health effects of increased carbon emissions, and when segmenting older Americans by race and income, we can clearly see that elderly people of color and lower income Americans are most impacted,” said Karyne Jones, President and CEO of the National Caucus and Center on Black Aging. “We’re on the frontlines in our communities battling for access to healthcare, housing and services, and against policies that exacerbate vulnerabilities associated with aging. It’s important that we pursue a comprehensive strategy to avoid increasing carbon emissions, which includes protecting zero-emission nuclear generation as well as encouraging the development of renewables.”

The report, which has been published on, was authored by Christopher W. Tessum and Julian D. Marshall, both members of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. It follows recent reports from The Brattle Group and IHS Markit that reinforce the benefits of nuclear power to residents of Ohio, Pennsylvania and the greater mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions.

About Nuclear Matters

Nuclear Matters® is a national coalition that works to inform the public and policymakers about the clear benefits of nuclear energy. The coalition supports solutions that properly value nuclear energy as a reliable, affordable, safe and carbon-free electricity resource that is essential to America’s energy future.

About National Caucus and Center on Black Aging

The National Caucus and Center on Black Aging (NCBA) is the preeminent national non-profit organization on issues impacting African Americans age 50 and over. NCBA helps to protect and improve the quality of life for elderly populations, making certain that legislators, policy makers, philanthropists, advocacy groups, service organizations, thought leaders and the public at-large include minority seniors in their programs, policy and law-making.


Renee Johnston – Nuclear Matters
+1 (919) 867 2822


Renee Johnston – Nuclear Matters
+1 (919) 867 2822