Renewable power is capable of reducing more carbon emissions per dollar and per year than nuclear energy, according to the recently released World Nuclear Industry Status Report (WNISR). The WNISR is about the nuclear industry, not by the nuclear industry—it’s actually produced by an anti-nuclear activist. Naturally, the actual-nuclear industry disagrees strongly with the report’s conclusions. While the report does reflect the reality that renewable power is now faster and cheaper to build and operate, what that means for limiting carbon emissions is substantially more complicated. The WNISR has been compiled annually since 1992 by Mycle Schneider, along with a range of other contributors. It has consistently made the case against investing in nuclear power. This year’s edition attracted wider attention after it was covered by Reuters. It argues that new nuclear power is both costlier and slower to build than new renewable capacity. “Costly and slow options avoid less carbon per dollar and per year than cheaper and faster options could have,” the report says. These options “thus make climate change worse than it should have been: even though they are low-carbon, they still reduce and retard achievable climate protection compared to what was achievable.” That is, spending on nuclear power wastes time and resources that would have been better spent on renewables, ultimately delaying decarbonization.
Ars Technica 27th Sept 2019