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Grim year ahead for nuclear industry, with ever cheaper renewables and climate action

renewables-not-nukesNuclear faces tough 2015 as renewables growth soars RTCC Responding to Climate Change 31 December 2014,  Governments are still spending billions on nuclear research, but it looks like being an unhappy new year for the industry  By Paul Brown

With nuclear power falling ever further behind renewables as a global energy source, and as the price of oil and gas falls, the future of the industry in 2015 and beyond looks bleak.

Renewables now supply 22% of global electricity and nuclear only 11% − a share that is gradually falling as old plants close and fewer new ones are commissioned.

New large-scale installations of wind and solar power arrays continue to surge across the world. Countries without full grids and power outages, such as India, increasingly find that wind and solar are quick and easy ways to bring electricity to people who have previously had no supply.

Developed countries, meanwhile, faced with reducing carbon dioxide emissions, find that the cost of both these renewable technologies is coming down substantially. Subsidies for wind and solar are being reduced and, in some cases, will disappear altogether in the next 10 years.

Speed of installation

The other advantage that renewables have is speed of installation. Solar panels, once manufactured, can be installed on a rooftop and be in operation in a single day. Wind turbines can be put up in a week.

Nuclear power, on the other hand, continues to get more expensive. In China and Russia, costs are not transparent, and even in democracies they hard to pin down. But it is clear that they are rising dramatically…………

a drawback is the price tag of around $3 billion dollars. Both the US and UK are supporting private firms in research and development, but commercial operation is a long way off.

Whether a small nuclear power station would be any more welcomed than a wind or solar farm to provide power in a neighbourhood is a question still to be tested.

Nuclear enthusiasts − and there are still many in the political and scientific world − continue to work on fast breeder reactors, fusion and thorium reactors, heavily supported by governments who still believe that one day the technology will piggy-bank--nuke-sadbe the source of cheap and unlimited power. But, so far, that remains a distant dream.

In the meantime, investors are increasingly sceptical about putting their money into nuclear − whereas renewables promise an increasingly rapid return on investment, and may get a further boost if the governments of the world finally take climate change seriously.  http://www.rtcc.org/2014/12/31/nuclear-faces-tough-2015-as-renewables-growth-soars/#sthash.GPucWfk6.dpuf

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January 2, 2015 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable

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