In an alternative universe where the political and cultural factors never led to the Fukushima nuclear accident, it’s tough to imagine a global electricity system all that different from today’s. Wind and solar would likely still be on a steep downwards cost curve, fossil fuels would still be raking in subsidies (sometimes with the support of the nuclear industry), and though nuclear’s output would still be higher, it would still certainly face the deeper, longer-term economic issues that have defined its growth and decline over the past several decades. “The history of nuclear power is something of a rollercoaster from inflated claims and optimism to disillusionment,” said Dr Simon Taylor, of Cambridge Judge Business School, to mark the ten year anniversary of the accident. The only advanced economies looking to build nuclear power are the UK, and Finland. “But the main reason is not a shift in public opinion following Fukushima, with attitudes remaining surprisingly favourable in the UK. The problem with new nuclear remains economic: it costs too much to build,” said Taylor, author of the book The Fall and Rise of Nuclear Power in the UK: a history.
Renew Economy 10th March 2021 read more »
Nuclear power faces a wobbly future 10 years after an earthquake and tsunami triggered a triple reactor meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan. But the industry’s unstable footing has less to do with the Fukushima accident—and more to do with how a natural gas glut and the rise of renewable power have transformed the global energy landscape.
Scientific American 9th March 2021 read more »
Nuclear technology’s role in the world’s energy supply is shrinking. Anniversaries of the Fukushima and Chernobyl disasters highlight the challenges of relying on nuclear power to cut net carbon emissions to zero. Today, nuclear power supplies about 10% of the world’s energy, down from 13% in 2010. Its use might continue to fall, although it will remain a part of the global energy mix for many decades, with a role in decarbonizing energy supplies as the fossil-fuel age comes to a close.
Nature 9th March 2021 read more »