In the IPCC’s low-carbon scenarios nuclear accounts for only a small fraction of energy/electricity supply whereas renewables do the heavy lifting. Nuclear lobbyists have jumped on the recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to promote nuclear power. In so doing they misrepresent the IPCC report. World Nuclear Association Director General Agneta Rising said the IPCC report “makes clear … the necessity of nuclear energy as an important part of an effective global response” to climate change. He argues that it “highlights the proven qualities of nuclear energy as a highly effective method of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as providing secure, reliable and scalable electricity supplies.” In a separate statement, the association falsely claimed that nuclear power increases under all of the IPCC scenarios compatible with limiting warming to 1.5˚C. The IPCC report does indeed have some nice things to say about nuclear power. For example it argues that, “comparative risk assessment shows health risks are low per unit of electricity production and land requirement is lower than that of other power sources”. But the report also raises numerous concerns. It states that historically high rates of scalability and speed of scaling of nuclear plants “are not achieved anymore” and “the current time-lag between the decision date and the commissioning of plants is observed to be 10-19 years.” The IPCC report states that the deployment of nuclear energy is “constrained by social acceptability in many countries” due to concerns over risks of accidents and radioactive waste management. It states that: “The long-term storage of nuclear waste is a politically fraught subject, with no large-scale long-term storage operational worldwide.” It mentions studies finding an increased incidence of childhood leukaemia in populations living within five kilometres of nuclear power plants – the evidence of a link is actually stronger than the IPCC suggests. The IPCC report notes that the costs of nuclear power have increased over time in some developed nations “principally due to market conditions where increased investment risks of high-capital expenditure technologies have become significant”. It notes that nuclear power provides an example of “where real-world costs have been higher than anticipated … while solar PV is an example where real-world costs have been lower”.
Ecologist 2nd Nov 2018 read more »
Exploring Synergies between Nuclear and Renewables: IAEA Meeting Discusses Options for Decarbonizing Energy Production and Cogeneration. A hybrid energy system combining both nuclear and renewables can significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to conventional fossil fuels, participants at an IAEA meeting heard last week. Such an integration would also foster cogeneration for seawater desalination, hydrogen production, district heating, cooling and other industrial applications. Further research and development, the introduction of appropriate policies and market incentives are important next steps.
IAEA 2nd Nov 2018 read more »