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05.03.2021 Article

The Role of Nuclear Power in Energy Transition to fight CO2 Emissions

By Philip Kyeremanteng || MSc CEnv CSci
The Role of Nuclear Power in Energy Transition to fight CO2 Emissions
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Carbon dioxide emissions will continue to grow for the next 30 years. For us to control climate change, CO2 emissions literally must go to zero because of its accumulative emissions that drives heating on the planet.

If climate change is the main reason why we want to move from fossil fuels to other sources of energy with less or CO2 emissions, then Nuclear power is a viable option.

Nuclear power works the same way as electricity generated from burning of fossil fuels. The difference is that the heat is generated via controlled fission or the splitting of nuclei in the atoms. In an age of anthropogenic climate change, nuclear power with comparatively less CO2 emissions is an important viable option in the energy mix. Long term benefits of fossil fuel simply cannot be replaced by other energy source especially when we consider the long-term impacts of climate change. Therefore, looking at this, nuclear is the energy source that can perfectly replace fossil fuels.

Nuclear power has so many challenges, example outdated regulations, poor perception base on historically disaster like Chernobyl in 1986 and Fakushima in 2011, difficulties in managing the waste and high upfront cost. If these challenges can be overcome, then we must seriously look at nuclear science and technology as the viable option to replace fossil fuels in the long term. Several countries including France and Japan built fleet of nuclear reactors as a strategic energy option to lessen the dependence on imported fossil fuels.

Some of the technological solutions that investors, policy makers, environmentalists, scientists and engineers can look at are small scale reactors that will be able to mitigate the financial risk of large installations and nuclear fission using thorium instead of enriched uranium as a way to address the severity concerns associated with nuclear expansion. Furthermore, advance research into the sustainable management of the nuclear waste to address most of the environmental concerns.

Therefore, we must give the nuclear energy advocate a hearing and support their argument, if it can be cheap and safe then it worth exploring this option further.

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