Nuclear Power: Better Get Up to Speed

From Radio New Zealand, “More nuclear power stations needed – energy agency“:

The International Energy Agency says the world needs to build 30 nuclear power stations each year until 2050 if there is to be any chance of curbing growth in greenhouse gas emissions.

Along with this, the agency says 35 coal fired power stations per year need to be fitted with the capacity to store carbon dioxide emissions underground.

The warning comes in a new publication from the agency, which is based in Paris.

It says nuclear plants would displace coal burning plants and bring regular electricity to billions of people who lack it now.

That’s a discerning summary of the IEA’s July 1 news release, “IEA sees the first early signs of an energy technology revolution underway across the globe but urges that much more needs to be done to achieve the necessary long-term CO2 cuts.” The release includes a paragraph, “Top priorities for the near future”:

Increased energy efficiency will become the most important “fuel” of the future. Low-cost options for reducing actual consumption – many of which are already available – offer the greatest potential for cutting CO2 emissions over the period to 2050. This will require that current rates of energy efficiency seen in OECD countries are replicated across the world and maintained over the next 40 years. Decarbonising the electricity sector, the second-largest source of emissions reductions, must involve dramatically increasing the shares of renewables and nuclear power, and adding carbon capture and storage (CCS) to plants that consume fossil fuels. By 2050, renewable electricity generation would need to represent almost half of electricity generation up from 18% today. More than 30 new nuclear power stations and 35 coal-fired plants fitted with CCS would be needed on average every year to 2050. A decarbonised electricity supply, combined with smarter grids, would then offer substantial opportunities to reduce CO2 emissions in end-use sectors through increased electrification (for example, through the introduction of electric vehicles and efficient electric heat pumps). Under BLUE Map, by 2050, more than 50% of all light duty vehicle sales worldwide are either plug-in hybrid or all-electric vehicles.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation used during the rolling out of the report to the media in Washington last Thursday. More materials are available here.

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