While it’s been touted by some energy experts as a so-called “bridge” to help slash carbon emissions, a new study suggests that a commitment to nuclear power may in fact be a path towards climate failure. For their study, researchers at the University of Sussex and the Vienna School of International Studies grouped European countries by levels of nuclear energy usage and plans, and compared their progress with part of the European Union’s 2020 Strategy. The researchers found that “progress in both carbon emissions reduction and in adoption of renewables appears to be inversely related to the strength of continuing nuclear commitments.” For the study, the authors looked at three groupings. First is those with no nuclear energy. Group 1 includes Denmark, Ireland and Portugal. Group 2, which counts Germany and Sweden among its members, includes those with some continuing nuclear commitments, but also with plans to decommission existing nuclear plants. The third group, meanwhile, includes countries like Hungary and the UK which have plans to maintain current nuclear units or even expand nuclear capacity. “With reference to reductions in carbon emissions and adoption of renewables, clear relationships emerge between patterns of achievement in these 2020 Strategy goals and the different groupings of nuclear use,” they wrote. For non-nuclear Group 1 countries, the average percentage of reduced emissions was 6 percent and they had an average of a 26 percent increase in renewable energy consumption. Group 2 had the highest average percentage of reduced emissions at 11 percent and they also boosted renewable energy to 19 percent. Pro-nuclear Group 3, meanwhile, had their emissions on average go up 3 percent and they had the smallest increase in renewable shares—16 percent.
Ecowatch 23rd Aug 2016 read more »
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