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Is Nuclear Power the Answer to Global Energy Demands?

Nov 14, 2016 04:20 AM EST
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An international team of scientists proposes that the world should start prioritizing the production of energy by nuclear power if there is any hope of staving off the worst effects of global warming due to greenhouse emissions. As published in the International Journal of Global Energy Issues, the teams suggests it would be possible to achieve an annual electricity output of 20 terawatts without needing to develop carbon dioxide trapping and storage technology for the tens of billions of tons of emissions that would dangerously affect the earth and cause global warming to reach disastrous levels.

Though there is a lot of opposition because of the potential dangers of nuclear power, the team also pointed out that the international demand for electricity would fall short by about 40 percent over the period 2020 to 2100. Developing nations like China and the U.S. are predicted to need power at an increasing rate over the coming years. Sustainable and non-carbon alternative power sources like wind, solar, tidal, and other technologies are not being utilized at a satisfactory rate since there are limiting factors like inconsistent energy production.

Herve Nifenecker of the Université Inter-Âges du Dauphiné is the honorary chairman of Sauvons Le Climat and along with his colleagues in Australia, Austria, Belgium, China, France, India, Singapore, and the USA had explained how solutions to the problem of climate change developed in the wake of requirements established by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) propose measures the international community might not be able to address due to rising energy requirements.

"An accelerated development of nuclear electricity production, starting as soon as 2020, would significantly alleviate the constraints required to stabilize global temperatures before 2100," the team reported. "The carbon dioxide volume to be stored would be divided by at least a factor of 2.5 and might even prove unnecessary. The constraints on the development of expansive and intermittent renewable electricity techniques might also be lessened."

The team proposed that it should be physically and economically plausible to multiply by a factor of fifty the production of nuclear energy by 2100, leading to a complete elimination of fossil fuels. They estimated that 60 percent of electricity demand could be met through nuclear power and the rest through sustainable technology.

According to the team, nuclear energy is the most benign way of producing electricity in terms of environmental health and biodiversity. "Nuclear power could both answer the climate challenge and give a perennial solution to humanity's energy needs for thousands of years," the team concluded.

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