Nuclear Power Expansion a Pipe Dream, Finds UK Research Group

Hope for new era of cheap, clean power is a 'myth', one that will set back true sustainable energy development years in the event of a terrorist attack.

Published: 12-Jul-2007

A worldwide expansion of nuclear power has little chance of significantly reducing carbon emissions but will add dangerously to the proliferation of nuclear weapons-grade materials and the potential for nuclear terrorism, says a leading research group that has analysed the possible uptake of civil atomic power over the next 65 years.

The Oxford Research Group paper, funded by the Joseph Rowntree charitable trust, says that the worldwide nuclear "renaissance" planned by the industry to provide cheap, clean power is a myth. Although global electricity demand is expected to rise by 50% in the next 25 years, only 25 new nuclear reactors are currently being built, with 76 more planned and a further 162 proposed, many of which are unlikely to be built. This compares with 429 reactors in operation today, many of which are already near the end of their useful lives and need replacing soon.

For nuclear power to make any significant contribution to a reduction in global carbon emissions in the next two generations, the paper says, the industry would have to construct nearly 3,000 new reactors - or about one a week for 60 years.



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