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Nuclear energy not cheap, not clean,

Greenpeace debunks nuclear benefit “expanding global nuclear capacity would be accompanied by costs of nearly $10 trillion.” Malaysia Business Insight BY PAUL ICAMINA

NUCLEAR’S contribution in easing climate change is “too little, too late,” the anti-nuclear group Greenpeace said.

“Most of the hypothetical new big reactors would start to generate energy well beyond 2020, probably after 2025, when we already need to see significant cuts in carbon dioxide emissions,” said Tessa de Ryck, Greenpeace regional spokesperson on nuclear power.

By that time, it would be too late, she told a forum on nuclear power as an energy option at the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute……………..

The mean age of current nuclear reactors is 25 years and many of them will need to be replaced within the next 10-15 years, she said. At least 17 of those listed by the International Atomic Energy Agency as operational did not generate any power in 2008, De Ryck added.

Citing the Paris-based Nuclear Energy Agency projection that the number of reactors will quadruple by the year 2050, she noted that 1,400 nuclear reactors will help reduce CO2 emissions by a mere 6 percent.

Debunking claims that “nuclear power is cheap,” De Ryck said that expanding global nuclear capacity would be accompanied by costs of nearly $10 trillion.

“After a 2007 report that nuclear power will likely cost over $7,000 per kilowatt, Moody’s Investor Services is now taking an even more cautious view towards investment in nuclear power,” she said.

Citing a Massachusetts Institute of Technology report, De Ryck said the estimated cost of constructing a nuclear power plant has increased at a rate of 15 percent per year heading into the current economic downturn.

“This is based both on the cost of reactors in Japan and South Korea and on the projected cost of new plants planned in the United States. The overnight capital cost was given as $4,000 per kilowatt in 2007 money,” she pointed out.

No new nuclear power plant is possible without significant government support or loan guarantees, she said, adding that the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) report “The Financing of Nuclear Power Plants” released just last week says that governments that want to see investment in new reactors must provide policy support and, in many cases, financial support, or the budding nuclear revival may not happen.

“In countries without large, financially strong and vertically integrated utilities, the need for direct government support to share in the construction risks is likely to be all the greater,” she said.

She pointed to the experience of Finland, which has four nuclear reactors generating 28 percent of its electricity. In 2005, it started construction of a new third-generation reactor, the 1,600-MW European Pressurized Reactor (EPR), a flagship of the so-called nuclear renaissance.

After more than three years of construction delays, it will take over 7.5 years to build with a cost overrun of 2.3 billion euros, De Ryck said. About 1,500 safety problems have been identified by the Nuclear Safety Authority of Finland, she said.

“Finland, with greenhouse gas emissions now up by 16 percent, is not going to meet its Kyoto targets,” she said.

December 18, 2009 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, climate change | , , , , , , ,

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