Nuclear Power to Stabilize Energy Demands

Nuclear Power to Stabilize Energy Demands

Energy CIO Insights | Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Even though renewables have proved that large quantities of energy can be produced. They are unstable and wavering, which will curb steady supply of energy.

FREMONT, CA: 2018 experienced a decline in the world’s production of nuclear power with 2701 terawatt-hours (TWh). It represents the consistent decline over the past decade but is also misleading. The global nuclear power production decreased by 10 percent in the years 2010 to 2012, as a result of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan. But the global value of generation has risen each year since 2012.

Although it wasn’t the first incident to impact the nuclear power industry, the pace of global growth in nuclear power slowed significantly following the Chernobyl incident. Much difference was noticed when the market contracted as it did after the Fukushima disaster. 

The world’s leading producer of nuclear power is the U.S by generating 850 TWh of nuclear power in 2018. This quantity makes up 31.4 percent of the total nuclear power generated worldwide, with France coming second by producing 15.3 percent and China being the third with 10.9 percent. The top five global nuclear powers include Russia with 7.6 percent share and South Korea with 4.9 percent of the worldwide share.

Japan had the largest percentage in the rate of rising with 68.9 percent hike in nuclear power production in 2017. But, the generated levels have been well below pre-Fukushima levels in Japan.

Along with Japan, the countries that experienced slingshot growth in nuclear power in 2018 are China, Switzerland, Pakistan, Taiwan, Mexico, and Argentina, with the rate of increase being double-digits. Countries which experienced double-digit declines were South Korea, Belgium, and South Africa.

Germany is trying to phase out nuclear power with dedication, but, the country’s generation rates have remained unaltered since 2017. It occupies the place in the top 10 producers of nuclear power in the world.

Impact of Nuclear Power:

Renewable sources of energy like wind and solar energy are fixated to produce more electricity globally than nuclear power in recent years. The fact that renewables are growing is a remarkable achievement. It is to be noted that it has not grown rapidly enough to stop the usage of fossil fuels for energy production as well. While they are producing substantial amount, the renewable sources cannot be depended on when electricity or power is needed.

Last year, the global consumption of coal, oil, and natural gas had increased more than four times the growth in renewables. As a result of which, the global carbon dioxide emissions recorded set a new all-time high in 2018. Those trends are predicted to continue for the foreseeable future as the world exhibit a rapid growth rate in renewables consumption, but an even greater holistic growth from fossil fuels.

As the only large-scale stable power generating source that doesn’t emit carbon dioxide during its operation, Nuclear power can be the solution for this problem. But the fear the general public has for nuclear power has stopped the increase in growth. This issue must be addressed and overcome collectively to help displace fossil fuels. It is only possible if people believe that accidents like Chernobyl and Fukushima are no longer possible.

Nuclear power plants must be designed to be fail-proof if not fail-safe. To be fail-safe, the systems even in case of an accident should abort immediately or turn to a safe state. Future nuclear plants must be designed such a way that it provides the public with an absolute degree of confidence on the safety measures.

The achievement of a fail-safe or fail-proof state is scientifically impossible, but the public expectations may be otherwise. The most fundamental reason is that the plant cannot merely be guarded against every possible outcome. Thus, mitigation possible consequences and implement fail-safe designs are tried.

Some people reject the idea of nuclear power being utilized in any circumstances. To blindly believe that renewable sources of energy will suffice the world’s growing hunger for power is impossible as it is not the same in reality.

Thus, whether it is a popular choice or not, absolute condemnation of nuclear power almost certainly means enhanced global carbon dioxide emissions. That’s an extremely high price to pay, knowing its impacts on climate change and the environment.

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