Nuclear should not be considered low carbon energy: If countries want to lower emissions as significantly, swiftly and affordably as possible, they must prioritise renewable investment over new-build nuclear.

 

The University of Sussex Business School and the ISM International School of Management has suggested, which evaluated 123 countries over a period of 25 years. Researchers assert they should not be considered “an effective low carbon energy source” as a result of the study which found global nuclear energy programmes rarely deliver ample carbon emission reductions.

They advise that nuclear programmes in poorer nations are absolutely associated with relatively higher levels of emissions as well as countries with larger-scale nuclear infrastructure in place do not tend to show significantly lower carbon emissions.

The report states nuclear and renewable energy programmes “do not tend to co-exist well together” and states that they “crowd each other out and limit effectiveness” – for example,  this is how electricity transmission and distribution systems enhanced for larger-scale centralised power production such as conventional nuclear make it more challenging, time-consuming as well as costly to offer small-scale distributed renewable power.

Finance and regulatory models based around long, costly nuclear projects are similarly unsuited to facilitating shorter-term, decentralised projects as the study sugests.

Benjamin K Sovacool, Professor of Energy Policy in the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of Sussex Business School, said: “The evidence clearly points to nuclear being the least effective of the two broad carbon emissions abatement strategies, and coupled with its tendency not to co-exist well with its renewable alternative, this raises serious doubts about the wisdom of prioritising investment in nuclear over renewable energy.

“Countries planning large-scale investments in new nuclear power are risking suppression of greater climate benefits from alternative renewable energy investments.”

Nuclear should not be considered low carbon energy

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