Discursive Essay Nuclear Power

Nuclear energy is also not included in the Kyoto Protocol mechanisms under which the industrialized (Annex 1) states can obtain credits against their own greenhouse gas emissions by investing in reducing emissions from developing countries.Second, with economies of nuclear scale continuing to push reactors to 1 GW size or larger, the grids in many developing countries simply cannot accommodate the reactors.Construction of the Flamanville-3 reactor started in December 2007, and it is too early to see if it will improve on the Olkiluoto performance.

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The2008 reference scenario shows global nuclear capacity growing from 368 GW in 2006 to 433 GW in 2030, with a preponderance of this growth in India and China.

Russia also had ambitious plans for expansion, but recently announced a sharp adjustment downward.

The most striking aspect of nuclear power projections is the tremendous uncertainty about how rapidly or not nuclear capacity will grow worldwide over the next four decades.

For example, the by the Nuclear Energy Agency of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows low and high scenarios as follows: the high scenario grows to about 600 GW by 2030 and then rapidly grows to almost 1,500 GWby 2050; the low scenario shows no growth to 2030 and then modest growth to 600 GW by 2050. For example, for OECD countries in North America, the range of change from 2004 to 2050 is 20 to 275 GW; for OECD countries in Europe, it is -10 to 200 GW; and even for China the range is considerable: roughly 60 to 120 GW.

Nuclear power growth is stagnant or negative in most of the industrialized countries, and there is still today, outside of China and India, almost no nuclear power in the developing countries.

In 2007, world nuclear electricity generation dropped by 2 percent; in 2008, for the first time in nuclear power’s history, no new reactor was connected to the grid anywhere.This paper, while skeptical of the robust nuclear renaissance many in the nuclear industry now predict, is not anti-nuclear. It is a mature and well-established technology, unlike, for example, carbon capture and storage.Improvements in its operation and reliability in recent years have been striking.However, several utilities have filed combined construction and operating license applications with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), which is now reviewing the applications; and four of the utilities have signed Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) contracts in anticipation of NRC approval.Most of the license applications have come from utilities in regulated markets, where risks are borne by rate and tax payers, though at least two have been submitted by merchant utilities.For one, nuclear power plants, unlike dams and other infrastructure, are not underwritten by the World Bank or most other international lending organizations.The large investments required for nuclear power therefore compete with the pressing needs for health, education, and poverty reduction.It produces little carbon dioxide and can clearly, in principle, play a significant role in combating global warming.Compared to coal-generated electricity in particular, it is relatively clean, producing almost no emissions.In its reference scenario, the projects that by 2030 China will install an additional 30 GW of nuclear – substantial to be sure, but not unprecedented compared to past nuclear growth in other countries.Some recent statements by Chinese authorities, however, indicate much greater growth.


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