The latest edition of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report indicates the stagnation of the sector continues. Just 2.4 GW of net new nuclear generation capacity came online last year, compared to 98 GW of solar. The world’s operational nuclear power capacity had declined by 2.1%, to 362 GW, at the end of June.
According to a new study by Finland’s LUT University, solar PV consumes between 2% and 15% of the water that coal and nuclear power plants use to produce just 1 MWh of output; for wind, this percentage ranges from 0.1% to 14%. Under the researchers’ best policy scenario, water consumption could be reduced by 75.1% by 2030, compared to 2015 levels.
The latest edition of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report gives the energy source little hope in the race against fast, widespread, job-friendly, popular renewables. The report reiterates clean power is taking the lead in the world’s energy system and nuclear is not only too costly a remedy for carbon emissions but too slow to deploy. Nuclear output grew only 2.4% last year while solar and wind power volumes grew 18% and 29%, respectively.
Study claims that investment in a new 1GW nuclear power plant leads to average losses of approximately 4.8 billion euros. It further argues that the technology’s dangerous radioactivity emissions and proliferation risks do not qualify it as a ‘clean’ energy solution to be considered for addressing climate change. Yet still, governments are incorporating the technology into clean energy plans around the world.
Stanford professor Mark Z Jacobson has said new nuclear plants may cost up to 7.4 times more than wind and solar facilities, with construction times longer by up to 15 years. Such a delay, he said, may see an huge amount of extra carbon emissions from fossil fuel power sources. His verdict comes as China this month set new guaranteed tariffs for nuclear power.
The French government has devised three possible scenarios for the planned phasing out of part of its nuclear power generation assets. Even under the most optimistic scenario, the target to reduce the share of nuclear power from around 75% to 50% by 2025, which had been set by the previous government, will only be reached in 2035. The most pessimistic scenario envisages the construction of four new nuclear reactors by 2040.
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