Is nuclear energy good for the climate?
Why in the news?
- The latest figures on global carbon dioxide emissions call into question the world’s efforts to tackle the climate crisis.
- CO2 emissions are set to soar 4.9% in 2021, compared with the previous year, according to a study published earlier this month by the Global Carbon Project (GCP), a group of scientists that track emissions.
- During the COP26 climate summit, advocates have been arguing about the importance of Nuclear energy as comprehensive alternatives.
Is nuclear power a zero-emissions energy source?
- Nuclear energy is also responsible for greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, no energy source is completely free of emissions, but more on that later.
- When it comes to nuclear, uranium extraction, transport and processing produces emissions. The long and complex construction process of nuclear power plants also releases CO2, as does the demolition of decommissioned sites.
- And, last but not least, nuclear waste also has to be transported and stored under strict conditions and here, too, emissions must be taken into account.
- Taking into account the current overall energy system, nuclear energy is by no means CO2 neutral,
How much CO2 does nuclear power produce?
- A report released in 2014 by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), for example, estimated a range of 3.7 to 110 grams of CO2 equivalent per kilowatt-hour (kWh).
- New power plants, for example, generate more CO2 during construction than those built in previous decades, due to stricter safety regulations.
How climate-friendly is nuclear compared to other energies?
- If the entire life cycle of a nuclear plant is included in the calculation, nuclear energy certainly comes out ahead of fossil fuels like coal or natural gas.
View all comments