In a state that was forced to close a nuclear plant in response to the nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi, experts are warning that a nuclear power plant closure could be causing “excess” CO 2 emissions.
The plant’s shutdown on Tuesday resulted in a spike in the amount of pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides, that were released into the air.
That pollution is a primary driver of global warming, according to the Environmental Defense Fund.
A nuclear plant is a key element of the U.S. government’s strategy to reduce carbon emissions, but the shutdowns at nuclear power plants can have serious consequences for local communities, according a report from the University of Utah.
A study published last week found that in areas where nuclear power was shut down, CO 2 levels were higher than in areas that didn’t shut down.
The study found that the area with the most CO 2 was the Navajo Nation.
A spokesperson for the Navajo Government did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment about the study, but a previous study on the same region found that CO 2 in the region was much higher than average.
The researchers from the U of T, University of New Mexico and the University in Washington found that if the Navajo were able to resume electricity production and were able continue to operate the plant, CO2 emissions would drop from 8,700 to 2,000 tons per year.
The report also said that the Navajo would need to spend $2.6 billion in a new power plant to restore electricity to their community.
“The only way to mitigate the impacts of these emissions would be to increase generation capacity and maintain the existing generation capacity,” the researchers wrote.
The authors of the report also warned that the power plant closures could have a significant impact on regional air quality.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a statement Monday saying the Ute Mountain Range in northern Utah was experiencing the worst air quality in its history.
It said the air quality has worsened due to the shutdown of the Navajo Generating Station.
The area is also suffering from a “numerous and severe” outbreak of coronavirus, according the statement.
The U.N. has also said it has no plans to shut down nuclear plants for the time being.
But the Usuv’s statement said the Utes had been monitoring the air for several days and that the plant is “operating at full capacity.”