The Future of Nuclear Power


Nuclear generation provides about 17% of world electricity, avoiding the emission of up to 2.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. This represents nearly one-third of the CO2 emitted from electricity generation. It is thus essential that nuclear generating capacity is maintained if emissions from power generation are to be successfully limited over the next 10 to 15 years and beyond.
In the longer term, without continued large-scale nuclear programs many countries will find it impossible to meet future electricity demand while complying with the proposed limits on carbon dioxide emissions. Nuclear power is the only fully developed non-fossil electricity generating option with the potential for large-scale expansion. A continued steady growth of nuclear power could cut energy-related CO2 emissions substantially over the coming decades if it were used to avoid increases in fossil fuel burning. Nuclear power therefore deserves full consideration as one means of curbing CO2 emissions.
Whether to pursue a nuclear power program is a decision for each country to take in the light of its own energy circumstances. Where nuclear power is adopted, however, it should be recognised as a component of a national strategy to reduce CO2 emissions. The nuclear industry will continue to work with governments, other industries and environmental organizations to ensure that the maximum use is made of this clean source of electricity.
The future of resources for nuclear energy is promising. It is estimated that the supply of Uranium is 2.4 million tons. 3700 tons of Uranium are used to operate energy production at the current levels. According to calculations, all of the earths Uranium will last 650 years, whereas coal will last only 107 years. Nuclear power is the cheapest per kilowatt hour, however, the cost of building and mantaining a plant is great, and most plants have a lifespan of 30 years, after which, they become decommissioned. It is clear that the overall goal is to achieve meaningful reductions in future levels of carbon dioxide emissions.
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