Many proponents of a zero-emission grid are firm opponents to nuclear power. It is not emission-free, they argue. It is dangerous because it uses radioactive materials. Now, one team of researchers has taken it one step further, suggesting that nuclear has no place at all in a zero-emission future. In a study published in Nature, the team, from the University of Sussex, the team argues that renewables and nuclear are mutually exclusive, and nuclear needs to be shunned in favor of solar and wind to advance the world’s emissions-cutting agenda. The study used data from the World Bank and the International Energy Agency to suggest that renewables and nuclear “tend to exhibit lock-ins and path dependencies that crowd each other out,” according to a press release from the University of Sussex. Basically, one of the messages of the authors is that nuclear is bad because it crowds out renewables and makes them less competitive. Grid structures optimized for nuclear and fossil fuel generation make distributed power costlier, they noted. Regulatory frameworks, finance markets, and employment practices were also in favor of conventional sources of power generation at the expense of renewables.
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