A critical evaluation of nuclear power and renewable electricity in Asia

Sovacool, Benjamin K (2010) A critical evaluation of nuclear power and renewable electricity in Asia. Journal of Contemporary Asia, 40 (3). pp. 369-400. ISSN 0047-2336

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Abstract

This article judges modern nuclear power and renewable electricity technologies according to six criteria: cost; fuel availability; land degradation; water use; climate change; and safety/security. It concludes that when these criteria are taken into consideration, renewable electricity technologies present policy makers with a superior alternative for minimising the risk of fuel interruptions and shortages, helping improve the fragile transmission network and reducing environmental harm. These more environmentally-friendly generators cost less to construct, produce power in smaller increments and need not rely on continuous government subsidies. They generate little to no waste, have fewer greenhouse gas emissions per unit of electricity produced and do not substantially contribute to the risk of accidents. In contrast, the costs for nuclear plant construction, fuel, reprocessing, storage, decommissioning and further research are expected to rise. Modern nuclear reactors are prone to accidents, failures, shortages of high quality uranium ore may be imminent and the thermoelectric fuel cycle of nuclear plants consumes and degrades vast quantities of water. Greenhouse gas emissions associated with the nuclear lifecycle are notable and reactors and waste storage sites can degrade land and the natural environment. Thus, the article concludes that any effective response to electricity demand in an Asia facing climate change should promote the rapid expansion of renewable technologies and a more limited use of nuclear power.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Depositing User: Benjamin Sovacool
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2015 14:43
Last Modified: 02 Jun 2016 14:13
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/58202
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