Allowing ageing nuclear power plants to shut down will push up the price of electricity and increase greenhouse gas emissions, the International Energy Agency has warned, as it urges developed countries’ governments to look at ways to keep them in operation. Many reactors in the US and the EU are approaching the end of their intended lifetimes, and if they are allowed to go out of service the proportion of those economies’ electricity production coming from nuclear power will plunge over the next two decades. Utilities including Exelon, Southern California Edison and Entergy have been closing nuclear plants in the US. Germany has set a target of shutting all its nuclear plants by 2022. The IEA, the think-tank backed by rich nations’ governments, is warning in a report published on Tuesday morning that if the decline in nuclear power in developed countries is not stopped, it will hamper the fight against climate change, and raise prices for consumers. Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director, said “Lifetime extensions for nuclear plants are not only a cost-effective solution, but also keep our climate targets alive,” he said. “They are the most urgent policy challenge today.” Reactors are on average 35 years old in the EU and 39 in the US. If no new plants are built and there are no lifetime extensions for existing plants, nuclear power will by 2040 drop in the US from about 20 per cent of electricity supply to 8 per cent, and in the EU from about 25 per cent to just 4 per cent, the IEA has calculated. To avoid that outcome, Mr Birol said, governments need to find economic instruments and market structures that will help nuclear plants compete against wind and solar power that still often benefits from subsidies and mandates, and against gas-fired plants that often receive capacity payments to reward them for being available when needed. “Nuclear lifetime extensions are economical compared to other investment alternatives, but don’t benefit from the comparable tax credits or clean energy targets of renewables,” he said. “As a result, they might be financially unviable.”
FT 28th May 2019 read more »
A steep decline in nuclear energy capacity will threaten climate goals and power supply security unless advanced economies find a way to extend the lifespan of their reactors, the International Energy Agency said. Nuclear is currently the world’s second-largest source of low-carbon electricity, behind hydropower, and accounting for 10 percent of global electricity generation. But nuclear fleets in the United States and Europe are on average more than 35 years old and many of the world’s 452 reactors are set to close as cheap gas and tighter safety requirements make it uneconomical to operate them. “Without policy changes, advanced economies could lose 25 percent of their nuclear capacity by 2025 and as much as two-thirds of it by 2040,” the IEA writes in its first major report about nuclear energy in two decades.
Reuters 28th May 2019 read more »
IEA 28th May 2019 read more »
IEA 28th May 2019 read more »