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Response to kristopher (Reply #11)

Mon Jan 11, 2016, 05:20 PM

14. A clearer statement from Romm

http://bos.sagepub.com/content/71/6/52.full
[font face=Serif][font size=5]Joe Romm: Why nuclear power will not be the whole solution to climate change[/font]

[font size=4]Abstract[/font]

[font size=3]In this interview, physicist and climate change blogger Joe Romm speaks with the Bulletin’s Dawn Stover about whether nuclear energy will be a major player in efforts to mitigate global warming. Romm points to economics as a limiting factor for nuclear power, at least until the world grows more desperate to reduce carbon pollution. He explains the reasons why nuclear energy is expensive in the United States and Europe but expanding in China. Although pessimistic about nuclear, Romm is optimistic that the world has reached a turning point for the adoption of renewable energy generation and storage technologies, energy efficiency, and carbon abatement policies.



BAS: What role do you see for nuclear power in the response to climate change? How big of a player should it be?

Romm: If one is going to avoid catastrophic warming and keep things below 2 degrees Celsius, which is certainly a great challenge, then you can’t rule out any carbon-free source. New nuclear plants are very expensive, which is why there has been exceedingly little construction in any market economy. Beyond China and India, you just don’t see a lot of sales, so I think the challenge for nuclear will be to maintain its market share. In the most optimistic projections, it can expand a little bit in the coming decades, but that will require a fair amount of sales because as plants get older in theory they have to be decommissioned. At some point, the world is going to get considerably more desperate to reduce carbon pollution than it is now. When we hit that phase, whatever is plausible and affordable and scalable is going to see massive deployment. To the extent that all these countries are already making serious commitments, then certainly people will take a second look at nuclear. If it could get its act together and come up with a modular design that was standardized and not too expensive, it might be able to see some growth.



BAS: What sort of portfolio will be needed to meet the Paris targets? According to the wedge theory—which says that a combination of strategies can together stabilize the climate—we’d need to triple the world’s current nuclear capacity just to cut emissions by one wedge, out of eight needed.

Romm: The International Energy Agency teamed up with the Nuclear Energy Agency to release a report earlier this year on their optimistic scenario, in which nuclear power sees modest growth in its share. Nuclear is not going to be the big contributor to the solution, if by big one means more than 10 percent; 80 to 90 percent of what we do is going to be other stuff. I am not in favor of shutting down nuclear plants, by the way. I don’t think that makes sense unless a plant isn’t safe.

…[/font][/font]


I would say that our stances are remarkably similar.

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