There’s a growing push for nuclear-power generation as a choice for countries trying to wean themselves off fossil fuels and reduce their carbon footprint. But new research suggests there are potential downsides. For many scientists — and Bill Gates — nuclear energy is part of the answer to the world’s climate-change problem. The market for nuclear power could triple by 2050 across the world, according to a recent study by Third Way, a U.S.-based think tank. There are more than 60 advanced reactor designs in development in the U.S., the Atlantic Council, a U.S. think tank, said in a paper. However, a recent study published in Nature Energy provides a different view. Scientists who conducted the study collected data from 123 countries over a 25-year period, examining how the introduction of either nuclear-power or renewable-energy sources affects each country’s levels of carbon emissions. The results show that a larger-scale national investment in nuclear-power plants not only fails to yield a significant reduction in carbon emissions, it actually causes higher emissions in poorer countries that implemented this strategy. For renewables, the opposite is true — in certain large country samples, the relationship between renewable energy and reduction in CO2-emissions is up to seven times stronger than the corresponding relationship for nuclear power. It is interesting how consistent the results are across different time frames and country sets.
Nuclear Power Not the Answer