Saturday, January 14, 2017

What Nuclear Power Needs to Remain on Track

Cruas Nuclear Power Station in France. (Photo Credit: Harvey Barrison)
To ensure that nuclear power can make the necessary contribution to climate change mitigation, three things are needed, writes Tim Yeo, Chairman of the pro-nuclear group New Nuclear Watch Europe (NNWE):  there must be international harmonization of safety requirements, the industry needs to bring down costs by better exploiting economies of scale, and policymaking and analysis should ensure a level playing field.

The prospects for 2017, both economic and political, are beset with extraordinary uncertainty. But whatever the consequences of President Trump and Brexit, of the German and French election results, of the turmoil in the Middle East or the future of the oil price and the dollar, one thing will not change.

In 2017 the global move to low carbon technology will continue.  The near universal recognition by the business community of the need for this trend to accelerate means that the switch will make considerable further progress this year in most countries, with the possible exception of the U.S.

Nowhere is this a bigger or more urgent challenge than in the energy industry.  Unless faster cuts are made in carbon emissions from electricity generation average global temperature will unavoidably rise by more than 2 degrees C.  The opportunity for the nuclear industry therefore remains enormous, however unpredictable the events of 2017 turn out to be.

At NNWE we welcome the growth of renewable energy.  We support efforts to cut the cost of electricity storage.  We accept the inevitability of continuing coal consumption in Asia and the consequent need for carbon capture utilization and storage.

But however fast advances in all these areas occur we believe that substantial new investment in nuclear power is also essential if the world is to meet its climate change objectives.  Nuclear remains the only technology which currently delivers secure low carbon baseload electricity at scale.

Read more at What Nuclear Power Needs to Remain on Track

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