Monday, November 25, 2013

Renewables vs. nuclear energy - What is better for climate change?

The currently dominant fossil fuels are thought by many scientists to be the main culprits behind the climate change and global warming. If world really wants to tackle climate change it needs to move away from fossil fuels and focus more on other energy sources such as renewable energy and nuclear energy. This article will discuss which of these two is the better solution for climate change-renewable energy or nuclear?

Renewable energy certainly seems like the better solution than building more nuclear power plants, and this is not just because of the recent Fukushima accident. The accidents such as Fukushima and Chernobyl are rare but when they occur they are usually accompanied by massive environmental damage which is usually long-lasting, and difficult to clean up.

Nuclear power plants are extremely expensive to be built because they need to comply with number of different safety measures and also because they are technologically complex. Even choosing site for nuclear power station is very difficult because communities usually oppose having plant nearbye. Renewable energy technologies have been constantly dropping in prices, and it's only matter of time before wind and solar become cost-competitive with fossil fuels, in fact if you calculate the total damage in environmental, social and health costs due to climate change and pollution then renewable energy is already better in terms of costs than fossil fuels.

The technologies used for nuclear power generation could be also used for the development of nuclear weaponry, and we must also not discount the possibility of terrorist attack, just imagine what could happen if some radical terrorist organization would take over the nuclear power plant.

Clean energy race is well on, and all countries of the world have been seriously considering their renewable energy options, in order to choose the one best suited for them. In many countries future nuclear power development has been pretty much abandoned and the golden age of nuclear power generation seems to be well behind us.

In the last 10-15 years, from 2000 upwards global renewable energy capacity has more than doubled. In 2012, in United States, renewable energy accounted for 56% of new electricity generation.

It would be wrong to say that we should abandon nuclear energy straight away because nuclear energy accounts to significant share of electricity generation in many countries of the world. The solution is to focus primarily on renewable energy sources such as solar and wind when discussing our energy future. Nuclear power had a pretty good run, and once current nuclear power plants end their lifetime we should consider replacing them with some of various renewable energy solutions.