In Paris, in early December, the advocates of nuclear power made yet another appeal to world leaders to adopt their technology as central to saving the planet from dangerous climate change. Yet analysis of the plans of 195 governments that signed up to the Paris agreement, each with their own individual schemes on how to reduce national carbon emissions, show that nearly all of them exclude nuclear power. Only a few big players—China, Russia, India, South Korea and the United Kingdom—still want an extensive program of new–build reactors. To try to understand why this is so the U.S.-based Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists asked eight experts in the field to look at the future of nuclear power in the context of climate change. One believed that large-scale new-build nuclear power “could and should” be used to combat climate change and another thought nuclear could play a role, although a small one. The rest thought new nuclear stations were too expensive, too slow to construct and had too many inherent disadvantages to compete with renewables. Amory Lovins, co-founder and chief scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute, produced a devastating analysis saying that the slow-motion decline of the nuclear industry was simply down to the lack of a business case.
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