Paul Dorfman: Nuclear energy isn’t a safe bet in a warming world – here’s why. The overwhelming majority of nuclear power stations active today entered service long before the science of climate change was well-established. Two in five nuclear plants operate on the coast and at least 100 have been built just a few metres above sea level. Nuclear energy is, quite literally, on the frontline of climate change – and not in a good way. Nuclear power is often credited with offering energy security in an increasingly turbulent world, but climate change will rewrite these old certainties. Extreme floods, droughts and storms which were once rare are becoming far more common, making industry protection measures, drafted in an earlier age, increasingly obsolete. Climate risks to nuclear power plants won’t be linear or predictable. As rising seas, storm surges and heavy rainfall erodes coastal and inland flood defences, natural and built barriers will reach their limits. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission concludes the vast majority of its nuclear sites were never designed to withstand the future climate impacts they face, and many have already experienced some flooding. A recent US Army War College report also states that nuclear power facilities are at high risk of temporary or permanent closure due to climate threats – with 60% of US nuclear capacity at risk from future sea-level rise, severe storms, and cooling water shortages.
The Conversation 28th June 2021 read more »