Friday, February 06, 2015

“Nuclear will have such a significant role…”

IEAreport From Scientific America:

The International Energy Agency and the Nuclear Energy Agency suggest in a report released Thursday that nuclear will have such a significant role to play in climate strategy that nuclear power generation capacity will have to double by 2050 in order for the world to meet the international 2°C (3.6°F) warming goal.
You’d expect that from NEA, but the IEA? That’s something. The SciAm story gives a good rundown of the report, but obviously, nothing beats the report itself. After noting the slowdown following the Fukushima Daiichi accident, the report notes, as we have done, that global progress continues apace:
However, in the medium to long term, prospects for nuclear energy remain positive. A total of 72 reactors were under construction at the beginning of 2014, the highest number in 25 years. According to the 2D scenario, China would account for the largest increase in nuclear capacity additions from 17 GW in 2014 to 250GW in 2050 and, by 2050, would represent 27% of global nuclear capacity and nuclear power generation. Other growing nuclear energy markets include India, the Middle East and the Russian Federation.
And this probably says something about former NRC Commissioner William Magwood being chief at the NEA:
Nuclear safety remains the highest priority for the nuclear sector. Although the primary responsibility for nuclear safety lies with the operators, regulators have a major role to play to ensure that all operations are carried out with the highest levels of safety.
You can take the regulator out of the agency, but … (joking aside, it’s a good point).
And this seems targeted directly at the U.S., though that may be my own provincialism showing:
Governments that have not yet finalized their strategies for managing nuclear waste, should do so without delay. For high-level waste, deep geological disposal (DGD) is the recommended solution.
Which sounds a lot like Yucca Mountain, doesn’t it?
Here’s a key takeaway:
Nuclear energy currently contributes to a reduction of CO2 emissions from the power sector of about 1.3 to 2.6 gigatonnes (Gt) of CO2 every year, assuming it replaces either gas- or coal-fired generation. It is estimated that since 1980 the release of over 60Gt CO2 has been avoided thanks to nuclear power.
The avoided CO2 emissions were calculated by replacing nuclear generation by coal-fired generation. would result in annual CO2 emission reductions of 2.5Gt CO2 in the 2DS compared with the 6DS. Globally, this represents 13% of the emissions reduction needed in the power sector with the contribution in different regions varying from as high as 24% in the Republic of Korea to 23% in the European Union and 13% in China. Nuclear clearly plays an important role in providing reliable, low-carbon electricity in most regions of the world.
The DS refers to the report’s different scenarios – that is, what is needed to achieve a 2 degree reduction by 2050 and 6 degree.
I won’t go through the whole report, but it’s a spectacular offering and worth attending to. You don’t have to cherry pick from it to get interesting data from it; it’s a complete cherry tree.

1 comment:

SteveK9 said...

I am incredibly sick of hearing that 'safety is our highest priority' ... how about saving the planet from a climate catastrophe, or bringing billions of people out of dire poverty that shortens their lives by decades. If we were as scared of our own shadow as we are now, we would still be traveling in horse-drawn carriages.