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Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:26 AM

Restricting nuclear power has little effect on the cost of climate policies

In fighting against the Republican War on Science, some of the talking points you hear:
1. Global warming isn't real.
2. It would be too expensive to stop anyway.
3. It can't be stopped without nuclear energy.
4. It would be too expensive to stop without nuclear energy.

None of those are true, and a recent paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences addresses that last item.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-10/pifc-rnp092812.php

Public release date: 1-Oct-2012
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

Restricting nuclear power has little effect on the cost of climate policies

Incremental costs due to policy options restricting the use of nuclear power do not significantly increase the cost of even stringent greenhouse-gas emissions reductions

"Questions have been raised if restricting nuclear energy – an option considered by some countries after the accident in Fukushima, Japan – combined with climate policies might get extremely expensive. Our study is a first assessment of the consequences of a broad range of combinations of climate and nuclear policies," lead author Nico Bauer says. Restrictions on nuclear power could be political decisions, but also regulations imposed by safety authorities. Power generation capacities would have to be replaced, but fossil fuels would become costly due to a price on CO2 emissions, this in sum is the main concern.

<snip>

For their study, the scientists looked into different nuclear power policies. These cover a range of scenarios from "Renaissance", with a full utilization of existing power plants, a possible refurbishment for a lifetime expansion and investments in new nuclear power capacities, to "Full exit", with a decommissioning of existing power plants and no new investments. They contrasted each scenario with climate policies implemented via an inter-temporal global carbon budget which puts a price on carbon emissions. For the budget, the cumulative CO2 emissions from the global energy sector were limited to 300 gigatons of carbon from 2005 until the end of the century. This represents a climate mitigation policy consistent with the target of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius.

"A surprising result of our study is the rather little difference between a 'Renaissance' or a 'Full exit' of nuclear power in combination with a carbon budget when it comes to GDP losses," Bauer says. While the 'no policy case' with a nuclear phase-out and no carbon budget has only negligible effect on global GDP, the imposition of a carbon budget with no restrictions on nuclear policy implies a reduction of GDP that reaches 2.1 percent in 2050. The additional phase-out of nuclear power increases this loss by about 0.2 percent in 2050 and hence has only little additional impact on the economy, because the contribution of nuclear power to the electricity generation can be substituted relatively easy by alternative technology options, including the earlier deployment of renewables.

###

Article: Bauer, N., Brecha, R.J., Luderer, G. (2012): Economics of nuclear power and climate change mitigation policies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Early Edition)


The paper is paywalled at http://www.pnas.org/content/109/42/16805.abstract

The lead author has made the paper freely available, plus a critique and rebuttal,
on his webpage at http://www.pik-potsdam.de/members/nicolasb/

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Reply Restricting nuclear power has little effect on the cost of climate policies (Original post)
bananas Dec 2012 OP
kristopher Dec 2012 #1
quadrature Dec 2012 #2
XemaSab Dec 2012 #3
joshcryer Dec 2012 #5
bananas Dec 2012 #6
AtheistCrusader Dec 2012 #4
Nederland Dec 2012 #7

Response to bananas (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 04:33 PM

1. Given the pace of deployment for nuclear...

...this paper confirms that nuclear is, indeed, a net negative in the effort to fight climate change. We can achieve far faster results with a solid portfolio of renewable technologies.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 11:36 PM

2. the situation in Japan

the OP is hard to believe.

Japan has decided to turn off
most of its nuclear power.
Now, they have to import
liquefied natural gas.

somebody in Japan has to pay for that,
at a time when Japan will start to run into
financial problems.
(although it may not be the retail customer,
at least at first, because electricity rates are rigged)

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Response to quadrature (Reply #2)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 11:45 PM

3. Welcome to DU!

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Response to quadrature (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:44 AM

5. The US is expected to start exporting liqueified natural gas, as well.

So it's in the USs interest to do little or nothing about climate change and to hope that nuclear gets shut down.

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Response to quadrature (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 04:41 PM

6. It's in line with most analyses

The OP is a global analysis, Joe Romm gives a good overview of other global analyses, the results are similar:
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2011/01/10/207320/the-full-global-warming-solution-how-the-world-can-stabilize-at-350-to-450-ppm/

<snip>
I also agree with McKinsey Global Institute’s 2008 Research in Review: Stabilizing at 450 ppm has a net cost near zero. For a longer discussion on cost, see “Introduction to climate economics: Why even strong climate action has such a low total cost.”
<snip>


For Japan, the head of METI concluded that a phase-out would be a net positive:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/1014186971

Mon Aug 6, 2012, 10:30 PM
bananas (19,180 posts)

UPDATE: Japan Can Eliminate Nuclear Power By 2030 - METI Minister

Source: Wall Street Journal

Japan's trade and industry minister on Tuesday said that phasing out nuclear power by 2030 is possible and would not be a drag on the domestic economy.

"We can do it," Japan's Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yukio Edano told reporters at a press conference, referring to reducing Japan's reliance on nuclear energy to zero.

"I don't think the zero scenario is negative for Japan's economy. On the contrary, it can create growth" by driving technological innovation in renewable energy and energy efficiency, he said.

<snip>

Mr. Edano added that phasing out nuclear energy is as least as possible as the other two options. His comments come after Prime Minister Noda instructed his Cabinet late Monday to look into the implications of deciding to eliminate nuclear power.

<snip>

Read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20120806-716903.html


Keep in mind that nuclear was only around 10% of Japan's primary energy,
and seems to have peaked around the year 2000:

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:21 AM

4. Nuclear power is stupid expensive.

Full stop.


(I am intrigued by the foreign go-ahead with Thorium reactors though.)

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 10:35 PM

7. Time will tell if this study is correct

My guess is it won't take too many years before we can look at Germany and know that it was wrong.

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