Options of nuclear energy to combat climate change? – concerns by nuclear-energy supportive scientists


#nuclear energy #climate change #mitigation #energy #sustainable development #SDGs #decarbonization

To save us from the devastating consequence from climate change, decarbonizing the energy system is a must. But whether it could do so in its current form is a critical question, as argued by Morgan et.al. in a recent publication on the prominent journal PNAS, after a careful analysis of options in the US:

  • Existing large light water reactors: trend of closure under economic pressure from low natural gas prices; difficulty of expansion because of their great cost and complexity
  • Advanced fission enterprise: assessment suggests that no US design will be commercialized before midcentury.
  • Factory-manufactured, light water small modular reactors (SMRs): might be the only option to be deployed at significant scale in the climate-critical period of the next several decades.

At the same time, the authors concluded that the US appears set to virtually lose nuclear power. Therefore a portfolio of every available technology and strategy we can muster is needed to achieve deep decarbonization of the energy system, as they concluded.

For more details, please refer to the original publication on PNAS and the news report on Vox.

(Morgan et.al. (2018) US nuclear power: The vanishing low-carbon wedge. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1804655115)