Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Is nuclear power one of the best solutions to halt climate change?

Many people, especially environmentalists have negative opinion about nuclear power. The recent Fukushima accident certainly played its part in shaping of the public opinion because this was yet another major nuclear accident after the Chernobyl. But is nuclear power really that bad?

First of all, renewable energy sources such as solar and wind are said to be far safer from the environmental point of view but this does not mean that we should completely turn away from nuclear power, especially given the imminent climate change threat.

World must move away from its reliance on fossil fuels because decarbonization of our entire electricity generation is the only solution to halt climate change.

The recent open letter signed by the 60 scientists that was organized by the researchers at the University of Adelaide says that even renewable energy sources aren't 100“ environmentally friendly and that nuclear power should get more substantial role in global fight against climate change.

The researchers point out that our environment is also threatened by „land transformation resulting from renewable energy sources, such as flooded areas for hydro-electricity, agricultural areas needed for biofuels and large spaces needed for wind and solar farms“.

The major conclusion in their letter was that when nuclear power is compared objectively with renewables it performs as well or even better in terms of safety, cost, scaleability, land transformation and carbon emissions. Nuclear power is also said to minimize impact to biodiversity in comparison to all other energy sources.

The scientists propose using nuclear power systems with complete fuel recycling as one of the sustainable energy technologies. They also propose appropriate use of renewable energy sources and various energy storage and energy efficiency solutions.