The study blames nuclear power investments as expensive and slow: “Delays increase CO₂ emissions”

A new study on the profitability of nuclear power questions recent plans to increase nuclear power investments, especially in Europe and the United States. The study was published in the science journal Joule in August.

According to the researchers, compared to renewable energy, every investment in nuclear power delays decarbonization, i.e. the transition from coal.

“In a world transitioning away from coal, delays increase CO₂ emissions,” the German-led group writes.

According to them, in the middle of the climate crisis, the technology that is the cheapest and the fastest ready for use should be preferred.

The researchers went through the planned nuclear power plants and state that the cost increase from the original has been significant. For example, the budget of the French Flamanville nuclear power plant increased from 3.3 billion to 13.2 billion euros. The figure does not include the increase in financial costs.

The researchers also use the Finnish Olkiluoto nuclear power plant as an example, the costs of which rose from the originally planned three billion to 11 billion euros.

Already in 2014, a study was published in which the costs were exceeded in 97 percent of the 180 nuclear power projects examined – an average of 117 percent.

“Despite low productivity, nuclear power is presented as a good investment in the fight against climate change. Today, however, the competition for the profitability of nuclear power does not come from coal or gas, but from renewable forms of energy,” the researchers write.

The study also questions the reliability of nuclear power, especially taking into account the poor availability of French power plants recently. According to the researchers, questions about the usability of nuclear power are increased by the increasingly common drought, which causes power plants to have problems with cooling water.

“To balance the renewable energy system, flexibility is needed rather than primary production.”

As an alternative to nuclear power, researchers suggest energy storage in the form of hydrogen, batteries and pumped-source power plants.

“The climate crisis requires urgent actions and such large investments that their profitability is of primary importance.”

The international energy organization IEA confirmed in October 2020 that solar power had become the cheapest energy ever. Tekniikka&Talous already wrote in 2010 that solar energy was cheaper than nuclear power in North Carolina, USA.

By Editor

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