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Renewable energy is getting a boost from the nuclear industry’s focus on climate change

  “The nuclear industry giving credence to climate change from fossil fuels has simply led to a stronger renewables industry. …….now renewables, often thought of as useful complements to nuclear, begin to threaten it in power markets when there is abundant power from renewables when the wind blows and the sun shines.”

U-turn to nowhere: Nuclear’s dire outlook U-turn to nowhere: Nuclear’s dire outlook Business Spectator, 27 January 2015Jim Green “……. a long-standing pattern of stagnation continues. Global nuclear capacity grew by 10.6% in the two decades from 1995-2014, and just 2.6% in the decade from 2005-2014.

The pattern of stagnation is likely to persist. Steve Kidd, a nuclear consultant who worked for the World Nuclear Association for 17 years, wrote in a May 2014 article:

“Upper scenarios showing rapid nuclear growth in many countries including plants starting up in new countries now look very unlikely……….”Despite 20 years of stagnation, the World Nuclear Association remains upbeat. Its latest report, The World Nuclear Supply Chain: Outlook 2030, envisages the start-up of 266 new reactors by 2030. The figure is implausible.

Nuclear Energy Insider was more sober and reflective in an end-of-year review published in December: “As we embark on a new year, there are distinct challenges and opportunities on the horizon for the nuclear power industry. Many industry experts believe that technology like Small Nuclear Reactors (SMR) represent a strong future for nuclear. Yet, rapidly growing renewable energy sources, a bountiful and inexpensive supply of natural gas and oil, and the aging population of existing nuclear power plants represent challenges that the industry must address moving forward.”

Steve Kidd is still more downbeat: “Even with rapid nuclear growth in China, nuclear’s share in world electricity is declining. The industry is doing little more than hoping that politicians and financiers eventually see sense and back huge nuclear building programmes. On current trends, this is looking more and more unlikely. The high and rising nuclear share in climate-friendly scenarios is false hope, with little in the real outlook giving them any substance. Far more likely is the situation posited in the World Nuclear Industry Status Report ……..

Kidd’s comments on renewables are also worth quoting: “The nuclear industry giving credence to climate change from fossil fuels has simply led to a stronger renewables industry. Nuclear seems to be ’too difficult’ and gets sidelined − as it has within the entire process since the original Kyoto accords. And now renewables, often thought of as useful complements to nuclear, begin to threaten it in power markets when there is abundant power from renewables when the wind blows and the sun shines.”….. “nuclear power faces major challenges in competitive markets where there are significant market and regulatory risks, and public acceptance remains a critical issue worldwide.”…….

A November 2014 article in The Hindu newspaper notes that three factors have put a break on India’s reactor-import plans: “the exorbitant price of French- and US-origin reactors, the accident-liability issue, and grass-roots opposition to the planned multi-reactor complexes.” In addition, unresolved disagreements regarding safeguards and non-proliferation assurances are delaying US and European investment in India’s nuclear program………https://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2015/1/28/energy-markets/u-turn-nowhere-nuclears-dire-outlook

 

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January 30, 2015 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs

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