World Nuclear Association Blog

Calculating Carbon Futures

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How we generate electricity, grow food, heat buildings, travel and manufacture goods are just some of the activities leading to the production of greenhouse gases. For that reason, if you think that we need to reduce emissions, then no one single change can be the total solution.

The Global Calculator is a new tool that can be used to experiment with different options with the objective of selecting a range of actions that would reduce emissions to a level that the model judges would give a good chance of limiting the average global temperature rise to 2C. In addition to making choices for energy production, the calculator also allows users to make choices in areas such as food production and consumption, industry efficiency and transport. 

The calculator includes example choices from organisations as diverse as the International Energy AgencyFriends of the EarthChatham HouseShell, and the World Energy CouncilThe amount of nuclear energy in the generation mix is one of the choices that can be made, with options ranging from no nuclear generation up to 1870 GWe by 2050. Notably, all the examples choices, with the exception of Friends of the Earth, include nuclear as part of their actions needed to hit the 2C target. The FoE target is only reached without nuclear by assuming a global population 1.3 billion lower than the central choice and "very ambitious" changes to lifestyle and improvements in energy efficiency. These changes mean that the amount of renewable generation in the FoE scenario is also lower than in many of the others.

We have devised two scenarios, looking at how different levels of nuclear energy deployment can influence achieving the 2C objective.

The first scenario - called Largo - takes as its basis our reference case from the World Nuclear Association Global Fuel Market Report, which assumes just under 3% growth in global nuclear capacity to 2030. Continuing the same growth rate through to 2050 gives a global nuclear capacity of 1030 GWe.

The second scenario - called Allegro - selects the maximum capacity of nuclear generation that the Global Calculator allows, giving a total global nuclear capacity in 2050 of 1870 GWe.

Global Calculator

 

For the rest of the scenario choices, both Largo and Allegro seek to maximise the benefits of low carbon generation, by putting more effort into shifting from gasoline to electric transport options. The scenarios also look for improvements in energy efficiency, at home and in industry.

In addition to more nuclear generation, the Allegro scenario seeks higher levels of effort with renewables, energy efficiency and CCS.

With both scenarios the 2C target is reached, at least according to the judgement of the Global Calculator. However, the area in which they differ most is in the level of effort required after 2050. In the Largo scenario emissions reduction efforts must continue at an "extremely ambitious" between 2050 and 2100. In the Allegro scenario more ambition for nuclear energy in the first half of the century, coupled with greater electrification of transport and a stronger shift away from coal, means the overall level of effort for emissions reductions post-2050 is a more manageable "very ambitious" level.

According to the authors of the Global Calculator, a level 4 effort is making "an extraordinarily ambitious and extreme level of abatement effort." The Allegro scenario would require a significant acceleration in deployment of nuclear energy. But according to the Global Calculator model the reward could be a much more manageable level of effort on avoiding climate disruption in the longer term.

The Exceptional Economics of Nuclear Energy

(In the News) Permanent link


David Hess examines the recent Ecofys draft report

Energy reports come and go but every now and then one grabs your attention –for all the wrong reasons. The recent interim report "Subsidies and costs of EU Energy" is one such report. Prepared by energy consultancy Ecofysi for the European Commission, it is intended to inform future European energy policy. It is fair to say that this prospect has raised eyebrows of quite a few members of the nuclear community.

Let's be clear that the intentions of the work are unquestionably good. A detailed assessment of the cost, subsidies and a financial value for the environmental impacts and externalities of different energy sources is just the ticket for helping Europe to make the right energy choices going forward, especially as it faces the formidable challenges of decarbonising and enhancing energy security. However, when the methodology of such a study appears to be crafted with the intention of reinforcing popular energy beliefs instead of challenging them something has clearly gone awry.    

Without question the interim report is afflicted by a case of 'nuclear exceptionalism'. What this translates to is an excessive focus on 'nuclear issues' while those of other energy sources are downplayedii. In other cases of nuclear exceptionalism the technology simply gets ignored from energy discussions – despite currently accounting for 11% of the world’s electricity (a rather significant chunk of its low-carbon supply at that) and offering clear potential for future growth. The common error of the nuclear exceptionalist is that they mistake efforts by the nuclear industry to account for possible impacts of the technology – such as special waste, safety and liability arrangements – as points against it. In fact the extraordinary amount of resource that the industry dedicates to these matters should count as one of nuclear energy’s greatest selling points! Arguably no other industry tries as hard as nuclear to internalise its potential externalities and system costs.

Returning to the Ecofys report, you can read what WNA has to say about it here as well as European trade body Foratom here and an excellent in depth account by physicist and energy/environment commentator Jani Martikainen here. I’m not going to try and repeat these critiques, but I will highlight just one part of our response which serves as an acute example of nuclear exceptionalism and a rather interesting addition to the popular discourse on nuclear economics in general.

Decommissioning the nuclear subsidy 

A rather surprising finding of the Ecofys report is that nuclear energy received a subsidy of €7 billion in 2012iii. It is surprising because the owners of currently operating nuclear reactors in Europe received no such thing. We are never told precisely what this subsidy is supposed to consist of, but a clue is provided in a remote corner of an annex. The overwhelming components of the supposed subsidy are apparently being handed out by the UK and the EU itself. If you know anything about energy policy in Europe then this should set alarm bells ringing.

nuclear interventions by country

Source: Ecofys report

There is no feed-in-tariff, or special tax-credit, or nuclear obligation, or guaranteed offtake (or anything even remotely similar that is normally what we think of as an energy subsidy) received by EDF Energy for operating the UK’s current reactor fleetiv. And the idea of the EU offering anything like that to operating reactors is a far cry from the present political reality. So what could this subsidy be, and why is Italy on the list given that the country closed all its nuclear power plants in the 1980s?! The only answer that makes sense is that the majority of this supposed subsidy relates primarily to payments made by these governments to cover the costs of decommissioning legacy nuclear sites. 

Take a second to think about this. You may find yourself asking questions like "hey don’t some of these sites hark back to the early days of nuclear technology and isn’t technology much better now", or maybe "weren’t some early facilities used for purposes other than just producing energy?" or possibly "aren’t these sites owned by government and not industry?" Perhaps also you recall some kind of condition imposed by the EU that resulted in the forced shut-down of eight reactors in aspiring EU member states in exchange for ongoing financial aid, some of which was nominally to help with the imposed decommissioning. 

Whether or not you share these thoughts and wonder whether such ‘subsidies’ should be included at all, you may be surprised that they are categorised as a ‘cost to production’ because you know perfectly well that currently operating nuclear facilities as well as all future ones are required to put aside funds to pay for their eventual dismantlement in a way that quite simply no other energy technology is expected to.

A taxing nuclear question

The sting in the tail of the alleged €7 billion subsidy is that it omits entirely an absolutely vital consideration. This is surprising, since it is not some esoteric classification of government support, but rather an everyday sort of thing that you are no doubt familiar with yourself. When you calculate how much money is in your account at the end of the month, you look at outgoings but also incoming right? Well Ecofys decided not to do exactly that.

The reason given is that all power plants pay the same tax and this is reflected in the price of electricity paid by customers. In fact there are many countries in the EU in which nuclear power is selectively taxed. These are not environmental charges and nor are they equally applied to other electricity forms.

I took it upon myself to try and come up with a reasonably robust figure for the amount of these nuclear-specific taxes in Europe for the year 2012. The exact nature of how the taxes work tends to be complex and only in one or two instances are amounts stated plainly on balance sheets. Added to this is that some of the taxes are being disputed and I have only picked out the largest while ignoring the nuclear-specific tax arrangements of some countries which fell outside the period in question. Despite all this, the message is clear: current nuclear facilities provide a great big subsidy to certain European countries.

 

Country      tax detail (for 2012) 2012 paid (estimate)
Belgium Nuclear tax of 0.5 Euro cents/kWh €479 million*
France  Tax on basic nuclear installations €350 million**
Germany €145 per gram of fissile uranium or plutonium fuel loaded into reactor. This translates to 1.4 Euro cents/kWh (2012 nuclear generation of 100 billion kWh) €1400 million***
Sweden
Nuclear tax of 0.67 Euro cents/kWh. (63.5 billion nuclear kWh generated in 2012) €424 million***
UK 0.61 Euro cents /kWh† Climate Change Levy on business and industry (70 billion kWh 2012 nuclear generation, 60% UK business consumption)  €256 million***
Total   €2909 million

 

*known exactly. Source: https://www.electrabel.com/assets/be/corporate/documents/activity-report-2012_EN.pdf 
**Estimates based on NEA report https://www.oecd-nea.org/law/legislation/france.pdf which cites 2006 values. It may be slightly over as not all such facilities relate to power production
*** estimated by multiplying tax rate by 2012 generation levels
†0.51 p/kWh used. http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/rates/ccl.htm conversion rate of 1.2 euro per pound used. The UK climate change levy affects nuclear plants despite the fact that these emit zero greenhouse-gas emissions during operation 

Note that this does not even include the other general taxes that all energy facilities are reasonably expected to pay. When these are included and when the decommissioning subsidy is (rightly) subtracted then it is almost certain that on balance currently operating nuclear power plants pay more to communities and government then they receive in the form of subsidy.

This is something that I think European policy-makers certainly deserve to be aware of.

Hopefully this post adds a little more depth to the questions of energy subsidies and costs which is, when all is said and done, a complicated affair. I’m certainly not saying that government intervention in energy markets is bad or should be stopped. A significant degree of such intervention is essential if we hope to fundamentally transform our energy systems into one fit for the future. In this regard new nuclear power plants are definitely no exception – and should not be treated as one! However it should be clear that operating nuclear plants are immensely valuable strategic assets. It does not make sense shut them down in the absence of sound economic or technical reasons. 

____________________________________________________________________________

i) Ecofys specialises in energy efficiency and renewable energy systems. They were supported in preparing the report by KPMG, the Centre for Social and Economic Research (CASE) and CE Delft.
ii) An example of nuclear exceptionalism might be for instance to include decommissioning in levelised cost calculations for nuclear, but not doing so for other electricity sources. A further example would be calculating a cost for a theoretical major nuclear accident in Europe as an externality, while ignoring the cost of potential accidents of other energy source of the unfortunate number of real accidents that occur all too frequently for other energy forms.
iii) It has to be noted that this was quite a low figure in comparison to the other electricity technologies.
iv) Some are on offer for the proposed new reactors the company intends to build at Somerset and Suffolk. 

IEA World Energy Outlook analysis: nuclear, hydro and wind lead the low-carbon way

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Reading the coverage of the International Energy Agency's World Energy Outlook 2014 you might come to the conclusion that renewables will flourish, nuclear's future is uncertain, oil supplies are a matter of concern and surprisingly little has been said about coal and gas. 

The projections used in the report tell a different story, particularly in the electricity generation sector. This story becomes clearer if we consider each generation source individually when looking at the three scenarios discussed in the report. 

  • Current Policies: taking account only of current policies, not anticipating any future national or international action to address issues of climate change, energy security and affordability
  • New Policies: the central scenario of WEO-2014, taking into account all current policies as well as relevant policy proposals to address climate change, energy security and affordability, but still using up the Earth's carbon budget, as defined by the IPCC.
  • 450 Scenario: assumes set of policies introduced to allow CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere to peak at 450 ppm, putting us on course to limit climate change warming to 2 degrees C.

The contribution of each generation source 

The chart below shows the electricity generation from all sources in 2040 under the three scenarios. The first thing to note is that electricity demand rises in all three scenario. Various levels of energy efficiency are applied in each scenario, but global electricity demand will continue to rise to meet the needs of a global population, when billions today still do not receive adequate electricity supplies.

Looking to nuclear energy, in all three scenarios the amount of nuclear generation increases from 2012 levels. As might be expected, the more effort put in to policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions the greater the amount of nuclear generation forecast.

Separating renewables into individual generation sources shows the different prospects for the different technologies. Hydro remains the main source of generation classed as renewable. Wind shows the greatest growth, with wind, nuclear and hydro becoming the three main players in near-zero carbon emission generation. While other forms of renewables are numerous, their overall contribution to electricity generation remains limited in all scenarios.

 

 IEA WEO generation scenarios

Generation Change

The amount of change in the contribution to the generation mix is best illustrated in this second chart. This chart shows the change in the amount of electricity generated, in terawatthours (TWh) for each generation form in all three scenarios. The greatest additional generation from near-zero carbon generators comes from nuclear, wind and hydro. Nuclear and wind both show the greatest growth between the three scenarios, hydro less so, perhaps reflecting that the potential for large hydro to grow will be limited by the availability of suitable sites for dams. 

The contributions of the other renewables show more clearly, as they add capacity to a very low current baseline.

 

 IEA WEO Changes In Generation

What this graph makes clear is that the greatest uncertainty is over the future of fossil fuels. Unconstrained in the current policies scenario, coal and gas-fired electricity generation will grow far more than either nuclear or any renewable. The introduction of new policies currently on the table has a markedly different effect on coal and gas. Coal sees a significant fall in generation, as carbon policies begin to bite, but gas sees a growth in additional generation, replacing one fossil fuel with another.

A future of fossil fuel uncertainty

The coal to gas switch of the New Policies would leave us in an impossible situation where the world's carbon emission budget would be used up by 2040. To have a chance of limiting global warming to an average of 2C, according to the IPCC, no further greenhouse gas emissions would be possible. All fossil fuel generation would have to be switched off on 1 January 2041.

It is only the 450 Scenario that sets us on a more practical path of emissions reduction, greater at first, but allow a more manageable retirement of the remaining fossil fuel generation over the second half of the century.

With these scenarios a clearer picture emerges. Nuclear, wind and hydro will lead the growth in near-zero carbon generation. The amount of growth will depend on the international commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This commitment will also encourage the growth of other renewables. The uncertainty in electricity generation to 2040 lies in the futures of coal and gas.

 

 

Decommissioning costs in context

(In the News) Permanent link


The Financial Times today has focussed on the IEA World Energy Outlook comment on nuclear decommissioning costs, with a headline reading "Bill for shutting nuclear plants will reach $100bn".

To be clear the $100bn figure is for the decommissioning of almost 200 reactors, nearly half of the reactors currently operating, between now and 2040. 

This might seem to be a significant sum, but it needs to be put context. The table below lists other costs listed in the IEA World Energy Outlook

 
 Annual Cost
Global nuclear decommissioning, average per year      $4 billion
Upstream oil and gas development costs by 2030 $900 billion
Fossil fuel subsidies 2013      $550 billion
Renewables subsidies 2013      $120 billion

 

Nuclear decommissioning costs are a tiny fraction of the investment needed in upstream oil and gas development or fossil fuel or renewables subsidies. They are also a small fraction of overall generation costs, only a few tenths of a cent per kWh. 

The IEA World Energy Outlook states: "Decommissioning costs account for less than 1.5% of generation costs in all regions, on the assumption that they are accrued over the entire economic lifetime of plant operation." (IEA WEO p396).

The IEA figures are consistent with other estimates of decommissioning costs, including a much longer report produced by the OECD in 2003 (The IEA was established in the OECD framework). These costs are recognised by industry and nuclear regulators and funds are already being set aside to carry out decommissioning in the future. The commitment of the nuclear industry to properly funding decommissioning costs compares well to preparations made elsewhere in the energy sector. For more information please see our information paper on nuclear decommissioning

The Financial Times focus on nuclear decommissioning costs is disappointing, given the much greater challenges for the world's energy system the IEA's report sets out; that urgent action is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to address climate change.

WNA Director General Agneta Rising said:

"The IEA's central scenario would set us on a path of a dangerous increase in global temperatures. We must act to switch to cleaner and more affordable energy sources. Nuclear is a cost-effective way of producing reliable low-carbon electricity on a large scale. Nuclear must form an increasing part of the world's energy supply if we are to get serious about addressing climate change."

WNA welcomes the report's recognition of the many benefits of nuclear energy, such as enhanced energy security, system reliability and low emissions. The report states:

"Nuclear plants can contribute to the reliability of the power system where they increase the diversity of power generation technologies in the system. For countries that import energy, it can reduce their dependence on foreign supplies and limit their exposure to fuel price movements in international markets."

"Nuclear power is one of the few options available at scale to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions while providing or displacing other forms of baseload generation.It has avoided the release of an estimated 56 gigatonnes of CO2 since 1971, or almost two years of total global emissions at current rates."

Paris climate conference must avoid hot air

(Conferences, Staff) Permanent link

In the latest editorial on the World Nuclear News website WNA's Jonathan Cobb looks forward to the climate change negotiations that will take place in Paris next year. In the article Cobb looks back at the early days of the UN COP negotiations, events he describes as 'exciting', but sees the recent meetings as having ossified. This may not bode well for the Paris meeting.

Many of the world leaders who met in New York last September pressed the case for more action. The path of global greenhouse gas emissions is well illustrated by the series of graphs an article on Energy Collective. If action is to be taken it needs to be meaningful, and that would mean deploying the full range of mitigation options available to us, as there is not sign of overachievement so far.

Banking on Nuclear

(Web) Permanent link


The nuclear industry needs to satisfy the multi-criteria approach to risk that banks take when they decide whether to invest in a large infrastructure project. Only then, can it expect to attract this form of financing to nuclear new build projects, writes Ron Cameron on the latest WNN Editorial article.

Specifically,says Cameron, banks look for long-term certainty on price, stable government policy, industry reputation, regulatory certainty, the process for addressing planning and environmental issues and public acceptance, in addition to the economics of the project.

Cameron argues that European wholesale electricity markets are currently not favourable to nuclear power, however. That, he says, is because the role of nuclear in offsetting the negative effect on price of feed-in tariffs and grid priorities for renewable forms of energy is not adequately recognised. The cost to the system of having intermittency of supply is often borne by the nuclear plants through their role in providing back-up generating capacity or otherwise by the consumer through higher electricity prices, subsidies or taxes. With no level playing field for nuclear in liberalised electricity markets, there is a real difficulty in seeing where nuclear new build is going to come from in Europe, without government action. Cameron thinks that there is a need to explicitly recognise the advantages that nuclear power provides to stabilise these markets long term, to support the move to a low carbon economy and to help with security of supply.

Read more on WNN: http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/E-Banking-on-nuclear-1808201401.html

European Crunch Time

(Publications) Permanent link

With the average age of European Union (EU) nuclear plants now at around 30 years, bringing enough new capacity online to match that lost through the closure of old nuclear plants will present a major challenge, writes Stephen Tarlton.

Currently, 131 nuclear power reactors with a combined capacity of around 122 GWe operate in 14 EU member states. This accounts for over one-quarter of the electricity generated across all of the EU's 28 member states. Half of the EU's nuclear electricity is produced in only one country, namely France.

But with the French government planning to cap nuclear capacity at its current level of around 63 GWe, along with the politically-motivated decisions by two member states (Germany and Belgium) to exit nuclear power over the next decade, a decline in EU capacity up to around 2030 is all but inevitable.

In order to reverse this expected short-term decline, the new generation of nuclear reactor designs needs to be firmly established in the EU. Today, nuclear plant construction is underway in only three EU member states - Finland, France and Slovakia (although the reactors under construction in Slovakia are Russian VVER-440 units, a design that is unlikely to be built again). Beyond these units, the countries that are most likely to have additional new nuclear units in operation by 2030 are Finland, Hungary, Lithuania and the United Kingdom. Though less likely, further new units by 2030 might also be seen in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden.

According to a new report titled New Nuclear in Europe - 2030 Outlook by the World Nuclear Association (WNA), the outcome of the nuclear projects in these 13 countries - but especially the two EPRs currently under construction in Finland and France, along with the planned new reactors in Finland, Hungary, Lithuania and the United Kingdom - will determine whether the expected short-term decline in the EU's nuclear industry will be reversed.

Read more on WNN Analysis


New nuclear power source for space probes

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 Tim Tinsley NNL
Tim Tinsley, National Nuclear Laboratory

In a new feature article on World Nuclear News scientist Tim Tinsley, from the UK's National Nuclear Laboratory describes the work being carried out to develop a new nuclear power source that will help explore the outer reaches of the solar system. Most space probes are powered either by solar panels or by radioisotope power sources. Solar panels work well in the inner solar system, although the solar-powered Mars rovers have to curtail activities over-night and during Mars winters due to a lack of power. Radioisotope power sources, that use radioactive decay heat to generate electricity provide a more reliable source of power, allowing the Mars Curiosity rover to travel further and work longer, and probes like Voyager, Cassini and the New Horizons probe currently speeding to Pluto to explore the outer reaches of our solar system and interstellar space.

However, supplies of the main isotope used - Pu-238 - are running short. The work being done at NNL would extract americium-241 from plutonium separated from used nuclear fuel. Although the Am-241 produces less power per unit weight than Pu-238, the separation process would be far less expensive. 

It also strikes that Am-241 also has a longer half-life than Pu-238, meaning Am-241 power sources should last longer. Voyager 2 launched in 1977. Although its power source has lasted an impressive 37 years already, the gradual decay of its Pu-238 power source, with a half-life of 87.7 years means that the probe will no longer be able to operate beyond 2020. An Am-241 source would have a half life of 432 years, meaning the fall in output from a Am-241 RPS would be much slower, potentially allowing probes to operate for much longer.

Onagawa: The NPP that withstood the tsunami

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A fascinating brochure has been published outlining the story of the Onagawa nuclear power plant and how it withstood the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011. It is available here.

The report reviews the differences between what happened at Fukushima Daiichi, Fukushima Daini and Onagawa. 

Onagawa faced a stronger earthquake and tsunami of similar height to Fukushima Daiichi, at around 13m. The earthquake disrupted external power supplies, but with a combination of one remaining external power line and six of the eight diesel generators the plants shut down and cooling systems started as planned - in fact Unit 2 was in the process of starting up as the earthquake struck and reached cold shutdown a few minutes later.     

When the tsunami struck the damage caused to Onagawa was much less severe than at Fukushima Daiichi and Daini, because the Onagawa plant had been built at a height of 14.8m, higher than the tsunami waves. There was some disruption to unit 2 cooling, but all reactors achieved cold shutdown as planned.

The preparedness and efforts of staff at Onagawa were recognised when they were presented with a WANO (World Association of Nuclear Excellence) Award for Nuclear Excellence.

 Onagawa WANO 
Onagawa staff whose combined efforts earned them a WANO Nuclear Excellence Award 

Perhaps even more remarkable is how the Onagawa nuclear plant became a place of refuge for people from the area surrounding the plant, where many had died, and even more had been made homeless.

On March 11, 1,500 people working at the site were stranded, without any reports how their friends and family outside the plant had fared. From the devastated surrounding area 50 people sought shelter at the plant. Eventually the site would become a refuge for 364 people from the local community.

 Onagawa Refugees  

Local refugees offered shelter in Onagawa gymnasium

The article shows how robust nuclear power plants are when back up power supplies and flood defences are properly in place. Since the accident at Fukushima 'stress tests' have been carried out at reactors around the world to ensure that plants are sufficiently prepared. Even at Onagawa defences have been strengthened even more.

 

IPCC call for low carbon energy action

(Communications) Permanent link

When the third report from the IPCC, on mitigation of climate change, was published on Sunday the world's media focussed on its key messages - greenhouse emissions are rising, the threat of climate change is getting stronger, serious and radical international action is required, but we can still avoid the worse effects of climate change if we take action now and for the long term.  

But what was released on Sunday was just the "Summary for Policymakers", a 30-odd page negotiated skim of the actual report, which contains more a thousand pages of carefully referenced scientific assessment.

The conclusions of the full IPCC report are clear, the energy supply system is the largest contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions and more action in this sector is required now. The IPCC report says around 80% of our electricity must be supplied by low carbon sources such as nuclear, renewables and CCS by 2050 and to eliminate polluting coal, oil and gas generation by the end of the century.

IPCC Gases

The IPCC concludes that no single mitigation option in the energy supply sector will be sufficient to hold the increase in global average temperature change below 2°C above pre‐industrial levels. Embracing all options will give us the greatest chance of avoiding the harmful effects of climate change in the most cost-effective way.

Nuclear energy is recognised as having some of the lowest greenhouse gas emissions for each unit of electricity generated, even when the full lifecycle emissions are included. Average emissions from nuclear are 12 grams of CO2 per kWh, compared to 11 gCO2/kWh for onshore wind, 12gCO2/kWh for offshore wind, 24 gCO2/kWh for hydro and 28-47 gCO2/kWh for solar. Biomass has no direct emissions, but infrastructure and supply chain emissions averaged a significant 230gCO2/kWh. Emissions for gas and coal averaged 490 and 920 gCO2/kWh respectively. Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) helped reduce fossil fuel emissions, but even with CCS fossil fuel emissions were between 160-220 gCO2/kWh.

For uranium resources, the IPCC report notes that if all conventional uranium occurrences are considered there would be enough uranium to meet current levels of demand for 250 years. Closing the nuclear fuel cycle with reprocessing and recycling of fuel through fast reactors could extend that by more than 50 times (to more than 12,500 years) and reduce the amount of waste generated and disposal required. Thorium too could extend the nuclear resource further.

Tackling climate change and weaning ourselves off our addiction to fossil fuels for electricity generation can seem daunting. But as has been demonstrated by France, a commitment to nuclear energy, in partnership with renewables, can virtually eliminate fossil fuels from electricity generation in little more than two decades - and supply some of the lowest cost electricity in Europe.

Nuclear energy supplies low carbon electricity reliably and affordably. The world needs nuclear energy to tackle climate change.