I answered a question on Quora about why is nuclear power generating more power than solar energy ? Nuclear generates over 2500 TWh and solar is at 500 TWh and heading to 900 TWh globally in 2022.
Current bids for new nuclear power plants in China fell below $2000/kW in 2016. China’s Hualong reactor’s estimated per GW construction cost of US$2.5 billion.
China has 43 GW of reactors and will be completing 11 more reactors for about 13 GW of power. 40GW of reactors generated 285 TWh of power in 2018. China built those for about $90–110 billion. A GW of nuclear power can produce 8 TWh when operated with US level efficiency and capacity factor. China does not full operation out of some new reactors as they cannot operate a full year. Steady-state 40 GW can generate 320 TWh for full-year operation. China build is about half the cost of France’s build in the 1980s.
France built 58 nuclear reactors over 15 years and has generated over 400 TWh with them. The inflation-adjusted price was $330 billion.
Germany spent $580 billion on solar and wind to get about 220 TWh. This was four times more expensive than France.
Solar and Wind need natural gas or some other power plant backup or massive battery farms that have not been built yet.
Even the 2019–2022 build of solar and wind is estimated to add 800 TWh for about $1 trillion in spending. It is more expensive than France’s build out. Double France 400 TWh to get 800 TWh and double the inflation-adjusted cost and it is $660 billion.
China can add 1GW or 7TWh for $2 billion to $2.5 billion. 800 TWh would be $220 to 270 billion. This would be four times cheaper than the projected solar and wind construction.
Nuclear is safer based upon actual deaths per terawatt hour and less polluting. Solar needs to use ten times the steel and concrete. Steel and concrete need polluting industrial processes to make. Solar uses twenty times the land.
Solar has industrial chemical waste.
Solar, wind, nuclear are all much safer than coal, natural gas and oil. The fossil fuels kill with particulates and other pollution.
Nuclear power did offset coal power usage. It is a historical truth for decades. This meant nuclear power prevented over 2 million deaths from air pollution.
Compare that to the 50 deaths at Chernobyl, zero deaths at Three Mile Island and zero nuclear deaths at Fukushima.
Nuclear power has been made even safer and with new molten salt reactors can be made even lower cost.
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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