New Study: Nuclear Power Is Humanity’s Greenest Energy Option
Germany idiotically shut down its last three nuclear power plants last month. Until 2011, the country obtained one-quarter of its electricity from 17 nuclear power plants. As a December 2022 study in Scientific Reports shows, turning off this carbon-free energy source is incredibly short-sighted for combatting climate change and protecting natural landscapes.
The European researchers behind the new study do an in-depth analysis of how much land and sea area it would take to implement the Net Zero by 2050 roadmap devised by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in 2021. The IEA outlines an energy transition trajectory to cut global carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels to zero by 2050. The Net Zero goal is to keep the increase of global average temperature below the threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius above the late 19th-century baseline. “This calls for nothing less than a complete transformation of how we produce, transport and consume energy,” notes the IEA.
The Scientific Reports study finds that implementing the IEA’s roadmap requires that much of the world’s agricultural and wild lands be sacrificed to produce energy. Biofuels, both liquid and solid, are especially egregious destroyers of the landscape. On the other hand, the energy source that spares the most land is nuclear power. In addition, electricity produced by fission reactors is not intermittent the way that vastly more land-hungry solar and wind power are.
Let’s go to the figures. The European researchers illustrated the vast differences in the amount of energy that can be produced per unit of land by calculating what percentage of land would be needed to meet 100 percent of emissions-free primary energy demand in 2050. Primary energy refers to raw fuels before they have been converted into other forms of energy like electricity, heat, or transport fuels. They calculate that nuclear power generation could supply all the energy demand in 2050 while occupying just 0.016 percent of the world’s land area. On the other hand, using biomass to gener
Article from Reason.com