New report: Nuclear power will not solve climate change

A recently published report from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace shows that nuclear power cannot solve climate change due to time and safety limits.

"After several decades of disappointing growth, nuclear energy seems poised for a comeback. Talk of a "nuclear renaissance" includes perhaps a doubling or tripling of nuclear capacity by 2050, spreading nuclear power to new markets in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, and developing new kinds of reactors and fuel-reprocessing techniques. But the reality of nuclear energy's future is more complicated. Without major changes in government policies and aggressive financial support, nuclear power is actually likely to account for a declining percentage of global electricity generation."

According to the International Energy Agency's World Energy Outlook 2008 nuclear power's share of worldwide electricity generation is expected to drop from 15% in 2006 to 10% in 2030.

The report, titled "Nuclear Energy: Rebirth or Resuscitation?", comes to the conclusion that states interested in nuclear energy should be aware of the costs and risks involved in nuclear energy, as well as the time it takes to construct a nuclear plant.

"The earliest the first new U.S. reactor could be finished is 2015, but the report notes that it takes about 10 years to put a new plant in service, from licensing to connection to the grid. In two dozen countries that are interested in obtaining civil nuclear energy but have not previously built a reactor, it will take even longer, the report says."

The report also comes to the conclusion that nuclear energy will not help countries to reach energy security or independence and that it could risk world security.

"In addition, uranium and nuclear fuel come from only a few countries – Canada, Australia, Russia, the United States and France – making nations without resources or technologies as dependent on foreign sources of energy as before, the report notes. Worse still, it says, the need for fuel may drive more nations to develop their own uranium enrichment facilities, raising the risk of the proliferation of nuclear weapons."


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Simon Leufstedt
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