Nuclear power is much greener than solar and wind power: new research

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Hinkley Point C / EDF Energy

The UK contractor for the Ginkley Point C nuclear power plant has commissioned the most detailed nuclear power plant carbon footprint report ever. The expertise echoes the conclusions previously presented by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and confirms that nuclear power plants are environmentally friendly in terms of their impact on the climate.

The expertise was carried out by the environmental protection specialists of the consulting company

Ricardo Energy & amp; Environment and this was confirmed by consultants from another company – the Canadian WSP, also specializing in ecology. It was carried out for a new nuclear power plant in the United Kingdom – “Ginkley Point C” (Hinkley Point C), which the French company Électricité de France (EDF) has started to build. in December 2018.

What do we know about Hinkley Point C

Two new generation reactors 3+ will be built in the first and second units of the new nuclear power plant – these are reactors Scalable power reactor (EPR), each with 1630 MWe capacity. The first unit is expected to come into effect in 2026.

The third reactor, which has not yet been approved by the authorities, could be built at the Sizewell nuclear power plant on the North Sea coast (Ginkley Point C) under construction on the Atlantic coast). Therefore, it was important for the contracting company to note the high degree of environmental friendliness of the new reactors.

Project expertise

Experts assessed the carbon footprint of the Ginkley Point C nuclear power plant from the procurement phase to the construction, operation and post-decommissioning phase of the plant. It turned out that before supplying electricity to consumers, the nuclear power plant will produce 5.49 g of CO2 for 1 kWh of electricity. Taking into account the distribution network and the process of delivery to consumers, CO2 production will reach 10.91 g per 1 kWh.

For comparison, according to the average estimate of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, wind energy production on the offshore hydrocarbon plateau is expected to reach 12 g of CO2 per 1 kWh, and for farms large-scale solar panels – 48 g of CO2 per 1 kWh.

Let us add that for natural gas this figure is 490 g CO2 for 1 kWh, and for coal – 820 g CO2 for 1 kWh. UN). The EEC report confirms that nuclear energy in general has the lowest carbon intensity over its entire life cycle from all sources of electricity, 5.1 to 6.4 g of CO2 per kWh.

Other equally important factors in the benefits of nuclear power plants include the relatively low use of materials and extremely low land use. All of this forces us to rely on nuclear power plants to switch to new, clean energy sources. A number of European countries, led by Germany, are still banking on this process, but it looks like everything could change soon.



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