Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Expensive nuclear power will not save planet - sustainability expert

News

NUCLEAR POWER is not a cost effective power source and its expansion will do little to combat global climate change, a leading American sustainability expert said on Monday.

After 50 years we are no closer to making the economics of nuclear power stack up, said Amory Lovins, chief executive of US sustainable development think-tank the Rocky Mountain Institute.

He was addressing over 300 engineers at a Royal Academy of Engineering sponsored lecture on the economics of nuclear power.

'I don't know of anything that can save nuclear power from its dismal fundamental economics, ' he said. 'Nuclear power has died of an incurable attack of market forces with no credible prospect of revival.' Lovins said the technology's poor economic record and need for huge public subsidy to cover decommissioning costs meant that further nuclear power expansion was 'coasting to a halt'.

He added that it was commercially unrealistic to renew or enhance the world's aging nuclear power stations.

Instead he highlighted the rapid growth in small decentralised and renewable power generation technologies. He argued that these are more efficient but also give more 'climate change solution per pound.

'But if you buy one thing then you must forego something else - therefore investment in nuclear power now will make things worse.' Lovins' presentation showed an array of alternative scenarios to the use of large centralised thermal generation plants.

These included the use of wind, tidal, solar, geothermal and biomass and, crucially, hinged on the need for a diversified portfolio of sources.

See analysis, page 15

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.