Daily Archives: November 12, 2021

Use Nuclear Power to Fight Global Warming

The Economist magazine has an excellent article on the importance of nuclear power in fighting global warming. It says:

Because nuclear power is expensive in ways that show up in profits, whereas damage to the climate is not priced into burning fossil fuels, this would be unsurprising even if it were popular with environmentalists—which, by and large, it is not. But it is still too bad. The paradigm-shifting drop in the cost of renewable electricity in the past decade is central to the decarbonisation pathway the world is fitfully following. But a clean-energy system requires redundancy and reliability in its electricity grids that are hard to achieve with renewables alone. It will probably also require lots of hydrogen for, say, powering aircraft and making steel and chemicals, which reactors could provide.

Nuclear power has its drawbacks, as do all energy sources. But when well-regulated it is reliable and, despite its reputation, extremely safe. That is why it is foolish to close down perfectly good nuclear power stations such as Diablo Canyon, in California, because of little more than prejudice. It is why some countries, most notably China, are building out their nuclear fleets. It helps explain why others—including, as it happens, Saudi Arabia—are getting into the game for the first time. And it is why approaches to reducing nuclear energy’s cost penalty are at last coming into their own.