Nuclear no answer to climate chnage

Is Nuclear Energy a Fuel with a Future?, Huffington Post, Andy Mannle, : 10/28/11 “………the nuclear industry needs to do more than build a few plants a year to be a true low-carbon alternative to fossil fuels. A hard look at the science of reducing atmospheric carbon to 350ppm shows why.

To get the world off coal, which produces roughly half of the world’s power, would require 7-8 terawatts of energy. One nuclear power plant yields a gigawatt of power, meaning 8000 nuclear power plants would be needed to produce 8 terawatts. To do this by 2050, 200 plants would need to be built a year, which is roughly one every 1.5 days. Since nuclear plants only have a lifespan of 50 years, by the time the required amount is built, early plants would have to start being decommissioned. After that, new plants would need to keep being built at the same pace just to replace retiring ones.

So if the world goes nuclear, supplying half the power we need would require building a new plant every other day forever.

Even if this rate of growth were feasible, it is clearly unsustainable. Of course, no single strategy is going to wean us off coal in several decades. We will need a combination of carbon reduction strategies — what Princeton researchers Robert Socolow and Stephen Pacala call “stabilization wedges” that each reduce a billion tons a year for the next 50 years. The “wedges” include efficiency, renewables, carbon sequestration, reforestation, and replacing coal plants with natural gas. But even for nuclear to generate a single wedge would require tripling our current nuclear capacity.

The reality is global CO2 emissions are rising, not falling. And we can’t build enough nuclear alone to stop them. As such, nuclear’s benefits as a low-carbon alternative would only materialize in the context of a global war on carbon. Absent that, nuclear becomes just another low-carbon energy source competing on the open market with cleaner renewables and cheaper natural gas. Ironically, the current slow growth of nuclear and the possibility of an actual nuclear retreat after Fukushimacould mean an acceleration in our rising CO2 emissions, cautions the International Energy Agency…..

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