Monday, November 29, 2010

Nuclear Power Reliable, Cheap, Clean


One of the features of nuclear power which is most attractive to a large segment of the population, is the fact that it does not emit CO2. Among all baseload energy sources, nuclear is the cheapest and lowest carbon emitting power source. With the coming of factory-made small modular nuclear plants, nuclear should get cheaper, more reliable, safer to operate, and quicker to install.
After analysing a wealth of peer-reviewed studies on market needs, technology
performance, life-cycle emissions and electricity costs, the researchers conclude that only five technologies currently qualify for low-emission baseload generation. Of these, nuclear power is the standout solution. Nuclear is the cheapest option at all carbon prices and the only one able to meet the stringent greenhouse gas emission targets envisaged for 2050.

Only one of these five qualifiers comes from the renewable energy category – solar thermal in combination with heat storage and gas backup. However, on a cost basis, it is uncompetitive, as are the carbon capture and storage technologies.

Professor Barry Brook, director of climate science at the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute says: “I am committed to the environment, personally and professionally. The evidence is compelling that nuclear energy must play a central role in future electricity generation. No other technology can meet our demand for power while reducing carbon emissions to meet global targets”. _BraveNewClimate_via_NextBigFuture

More informed energy analysts understand that the true strengths of nuclear power far transcend the feature of no carbon emissions. But if low CO2 emissions can be used as a bargaining point with the carbon hysterics in government regulatory agencies, then by all means, let's do it.

CO2 is a well-mixed atmospheric gas. Plants and algae do not care where their CO2 comes from (China and India), and will not begrudge humans their more sustainable nuclear power -- even if it means less CO2 for them.



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