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Nuclear energy vs renewables: which is the best solution for the climate crisis?

There is no silver bullet to the climate crisis, and renewables
look like a better, cheaper solution

In addition to safety concerns,
rising costs are a central reason why the number of new plants under
construction remains limited. Since 2011, nuclear power construction costs
globally have doubled or even tripled.

China is, however, notable in its
nuclear ambitions. The country is planning at least 150 new reactors in the
next 15 years, more than the rest of the world has built in the past 35,
though cost could ultimately change this direction of travel. There are
some big nuclear power stations on the cards – think Hinkley Point C or
Sizewell C in the UK.

But the major excitement among many nuclear
enthusiasts, including plenty of UK MPs is around so-called small modular
reactors (SMRs). If you believe the hype, they are the answer to all
climate and energy ills.

So what is the solution? Renewables, renewables
and more renewables? In short, yes. The costs of solar, wind power and
storage continue to fall, and by 2026 global renewable electricity capacity
is forecast to rise by more than 60 per cent, to a level that would equal
the current total global power capacity of fossil fuels and nuclear
combined, says the IEA.

Some argue nuclear can be a clean back-up option
for when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun isn’t shining. But again,
other options already exist, including demand response (for example,
plugging in your electric car when there is lots of energy and not
switching on your washing machine when the system is under strain),
large-scale storage and interconnections between different countries.

 New Statesman 4th Aug 2022

August 5, 2022 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable

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