MIT Energy Initiative has a five-part series of articles that takes a broad view of the likely scalable energy candidates. The article on wind talked about the economics, the intermittent nature of wind power and prospects for scaling.
Nuclear power is often thought of as zero-emissions, Prinn points out that “it has an energy cost — there’s a huge amount of construction with a huge amount of concrete,” which is a significant source of greenhouse gases.
CO2 comparison for different energy sources
The MIT article on nuclear : The biggest factors limiting the growth of nuclear power in the near term are financial and regulatory uncertainties, which result in high interest rates for the upfront capital needed for construction.
Nuclear power is half the cost in China and South Korea and almost as cheap in Russia and India. The countries with more favorable regulations is where nuclear power is being built.
Country Number of reactors Nameplate watts Expected TWh generation China 27 27230 200 TWh Russia 11 9153 70 TWh S Korea 5 5560 44 TWh India 6 4194 32 TWh Taiwan 2 2600 20 TWh Bulgaria 2 1906 15 TWh Ukraine 2 1900 15 TWh Others 10 10000 80 TWh
China and India are expecting to scale nuclear construction to several hundred gigawatts by 2030-2035.
China will start exporting reactors in 2013. Those reactors will be very affordable and middle eastern countries will be eager buyers and China will have no qualms about selling them nuclear power.
The MIT article talking about lack of scaling of nuclear power before 2050 is talking about the USA and Europe building almost zero new power generation and having regulations and business which makes it expensive.
I am surprised that MIT made such clear mistakes in their energy articles.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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