Nuclear Politics

Fight Against Climate Change ‘Needs 100-200 Nuclear Plants A Year’

By David Dalton
12 October 2018

Fight Against Climate Change ‘Needs 100-200 Nuclear Plants A Year’

12 Oct (NucNet): Any realistic plan for decarbonising the planet must include building 100 to 200 new nuclear reactors worldwide each year for the next few decades, experts have said in an article published in The Huffington Post.

The article, by Joshua Goldstein, a professor of international relations, and Staffan Qvist, a clean energy engineer, said nuclear power is free of carbon pollution; is highly concentrated, which minimises environmental impact from mining and waste; and operates 24/7 without needing batteries.

Most importantly, it can scale up rapidly. “Based on our analysis of many countries’ experiences, what might take a century to do with renewables alone could be done in 20 years with nuclear power,” the article said.

Nuclear also generates far less waste than other energy sources, including renewables, the article said. The spent fuel from a lifetime of electricity use by an average American generated entirely from nuclear power would fit in a soda can. “Someday we’ll bury it, but for now the waste can be left safely in its dry casks, certified for a hundred years, while we attend to bigger issues like saving the planet.”

Nuclear power need not be too expensive either, the article said. Existing US nuclear plants, which generate one-fifth of the nation’s electricity, produce less expensive power than either coal or gas. In South Korea, electricity from nuclear power costs less than 4 cents/kWh, which is cheaper than that from any other source.

The key to replicating South Korea’s low costs is to focus on repeatedly building a standardised design, which brings costs down to $2bn per GW. That’s about double the capital cost of a US natural gas power plant, but half that of a US coal plant and less than half of wind and solar power facilities with equivalent production.

The article is online:

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