Friday, December 18, 2009

Studies, Studies and Mo' Studies with Nuclear

Actually, there are only just three recent studies/reports I'd like to bring to your attention. The first comes from Ted Rockwell (pdf) at Learning About Energy.

Colleagues:
Attached is a list of purported facts about the use of nuclear energy for generating electricity, and purported facts about the principal, post-fossil alternatives: wind, solar and biofuels. There are no conclusions or recommendations here, just facts. Just real-world facts, no predictions or estimates or opinions. I don’t know of any other document that performs this function.
In it, there are some interesting safety stats on wind (p. 8) that I was unaware of and Mr. Rockwell includes some commentary on Amory Lovins' way of life that makes for some good reading. Definitely will be a useful document.

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Next study to check out comes from the OECD's Nuclear Energy Agency. Earlier this week, NEA released a document on the perspective of nuclear energy and how it can address climate change (pdf).
Scenarios for future electricity supply prepared by the International Energy Agency, based on a reduction of CO2 emissions to around half of 2005 levels by 2050, show that nuclear power has a vital role to play, alongside improved energy end-use efficiency, a major expansion of renewable, and carbon capture and storage (CCS) from fossil fuel burning. These scenarios envisage a nuclear capacity of around 1,250 GWe by 2050, compared with 370 GWe today – an expansion of over 300%. This would require the completion of around 20 large nuclear plants (of 1.5 GWe each) per year during the 2020s, rising to 25 to 30 plants per year in the 2040s. In its Nuclear Energy Outlook (2008), the NEA found that nuclear capacity could reach 1,400 GWe by 2050 under its high scenario, through an even stronger expansion in the 2040s.
Oy, quite a task ahead.

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And the last recommended study comes from the Energy Information Administration. On Monday, they released their preliminary numbers in their AEO 2010 on what the energy and electricity trends look like for the US out to 2035. There isn't too much love for nuclear, i.e. they only project 8,400 MW of new capacity will be built by 2030. But EIA does project that no nuclear plants will retire by 2035 (this assumes that 41 nuclear units (32,000 MW) will operate beyond 60 years). Below is a table we put together from EIA's data tables that shows what is projected to be built by each electric source and their different fuel shares based on existing laws and regulations:

Interesting how gas is projected to build the most capacity yet its fuel share remains practically the same...

3 comments:

Left Atomics said...

8400 MWs in 20 years? Evidently they don't read Mandarin.

SteveK9 said...

They may be unaware of any other source of 'just the facts', but I would recommend to them David MacKay's superb 'Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air'. Just the facts is the whole point of this comprehensive treatise. Available for purchase or for free from the website

http://www.withouthotair.com/download.html

kb said...

@SteveK9: We reviewed MacKay's book here on NNN back in May.

http://neinuclearnotes.blogspot.com/2009/05/sustainable-energy-without-hot-air.html