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The percentage of electricity that is generated domestically from low-carbon sources.

9.9% des weltweiten Stroms wird aus Kernenergie erzeugt

Was ist Kernenergie?

Nuclear power is the use of nuclear reactions that release nuclear energy to generate heat. The heat is used to turn a steam turbine, which turns a generator, which in turn generates electricity. Most electricity from nuclear power is produced by nuclear fission of uranium and plutonium.

Nuclear energy has been used since the 1950s. France gets 67.4% of its electricity from nuclear power. Nuclear energy was the principal source of decarbonization in several countries in the 1970s and 80s, such as France which increased its nuclear generation from 7.6% in 1976 to 70% in 1986, and Belgium which increased from 0.3% in 1974 to 66.9% in 1986. It proves that large-scale low-carbon electricity production is economically possible.

Electricity from nuclear power is generated continuously and therefore does not require electricity storage or backup sources like intermittent energy sources do.

The share of nuclear in electricity worldwide peaked at 17.6% in 1996. Some countries such as Germany and Belgium are planning to shut down all of their nuclear power plants, while others like Mainland China and India are expanding their nuclear energy capacity.


Ist Kernenergie eine kohlenstoffarme Energiequelle?

Ja, aufgrund seiner relativ geringen Lebenszyklusemissionen wird Kernenergie als kohlenstoffarme Energiequelle betrachtet.

Der Median der geschätzten Lebenszyklusemissionen von Kernenergie beträgt 12 gCO2eq / kWh. Where do our emissions numbers come from?

Wind11 gCO2eq / kWhKohlenstoffarmer Strom
Kernenergie12 gCO2eq / kWhKohlenstoffarmer Strom
Wasserkraft24 gCO2eq / kWhKohlenstoffarmer Strom
Geothermie38 gCO2eq / kWhKohlenstoffarmer Strom
Solar45 gCO2eq / kWhKohlenstoffarmer Strom
Biokraftstoffe230 gCO2eq / kWhKohlenstoffarmer Strom
Gas490 gCO2eq / kWhKohlenstoffreich / fossile Brennstoffe
Öl650 gCO2eq / kWhKohlenstoffreich / fossile Brennstoffe
Kohle820 gCO2eq / kWhKohlenstoffreich / fossile Brennstoffe

Kernenergie im Vergleich zu anderen kohlenstoffarmen Stromquellen

Erheblichste Erzeuger von Strom aus Kernenergie

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What are the pros of Nuclear energy?

When it comes to reducing global warming, nuclear power offers a number of advantages.

Nuclear can help reduce global warming

First of all, nuclear power can generate large amounts of low-carbon electricity, which does not contribute to global warming. Indeed, it is a low-carbon energy source that emits very low levels of greenhouse gases (12 gCO2eq / kWh) unlike natural gas (490 gCO2eq / kWh) and coal (820 gCO2eq / kWh).

Nuclear generates electricity continuously (without intermittency)

Secondly, nuclear plants produce electricity in a continuous way and therefore do not require storage, as opposed to intermittent low-carbon energy sources such as solar and wind power that depend on daylight and meteorological conditions.

Nuclear has very low fuel costs

Third, nuclear reactors require very small amounts of enriched uranium to produce large amounts of electricity. While 1 kg of coal produces 8 kWh of heat, and 1 kg of oil produces 12 kWh, 1 kg of natural uranium generates 45,000 kWh. As a result, mining along with uranium cost is reduced and represents just 6% of the cost (https://www.euronuclear.org/glossary/fuel-comparison/).

Nuclear is cheap in the long-term

The average price of electricity produced by new nuclear reactors is 69 US$ / MWh according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), compared to 50 US$ / MWh for onshore wind, 56 US$ / MWh for solar, 71 US$ / MWh for gas and 88 US$ / MWh for coal.

Nevertheless, it is by extending the life of existing nuclear power plants that nuclear becomes the most economical way to produce low-carbon electricity, with an estimated average cost of 32 US$ / MWh.

Nuclear is well-known

Fourth, nuclear energy is a well-known technology that has been supplying low-carbon electricity in industrialized countries since the 1950s.

What are the cons of Nuclear energy?

Some radioactive waste must be stored for a very long time.

The most radioactive waste from nuclear reactors needs to be stored for several millennia. Underground disposal in stable geological layers can be a storage solution.

Major nuclear accidents can have catastrophic consequences.

According to OurWorldInData, nuclear energy is one of the safest energy sources in the world at just 0.07 deaths per TWh. It is 467 times safer than brown coal.

Nevertheless, nuclear accidents can have catastrophic consequences. Since the first nuclear reactors were built in 1954, there have been two Level 7 major nuclear accidents.

In Fukushima, Japan in 2011, a tsunami blocked the reactor cooling systems, resulting in a nuclear accident. While around 20,000 people died as a consequence of the tsunami, no official deaths or cancers have been associated with the nuclear accident. Nevertheless, the debate continues about potential links between the accident and thyroid cancer. An exclusion zone was set up around the plant and around 80,000 people were displaced.

In Chernobyl on April 26, 1986, the explosion of a nuclear reactor was caused by a series of human errors (incomplete documentation and lack of training of operators) during a safety test of the plant followed by a technical failure in the emergency shutdown mechanism of the plant. The number of deaths is still being debated. 30 people died during the accident, and an additional 16,000 people may have died from cancer caused by the release of radioactivity into the atmosphere. An exclusion zone around the Ukrainian power plant was set up.

Erhebliche Änderungen der kohlenstoffarmen Energie aufgrund von Kernenergie

Region Jahre Ändern
Frankreich 1976 → 1986 31.2 → 88.1%
Südkorea 1982 → 1986 12.9 → 50%
Argentinien 1977 → 1985 23 → 60%
Spanien 1981 → 1988 28.6 → 63.7%
Ungarn 1982 → 1988 0.6 → 33.7%
Armenien 1995 → 2002 39.9 → 71.4%
Finnland 1980 → 1983 41.3 → 67%
Belgien 1974 → 1977 1.2 → 26.5%
Belgien 1983 → 1988 47.7 → 68.4%
Slowakei 1997 → 2002 52.5 → 72.7%
Rumänien 2003 → 2014 32.9 → 59.8%
Spanien 2005 → 2010 35.4 → 53.6%
Schweden 1974 → 1981 76.5 → 95.8%
Tschechien 2000 → 2013 22.4 → 47%
Deutschland 1974 → 1985 8.4 → 30.5%
Japan 1977 → 1985 19.8 → 38.3%
Ungarn 2003 → 2009 27.5 → 44%
Tschechien 1985 → 1990 7 → 22.4%
Slowenien 2007 → 2014 59.4 → 76%
Bulgarien 1986 → 1996 31 → 49.2%
Bulgarien 2006 → 2007 52.6 → 41.4%
EU 1980 → 1985 29.6 → 42.5%
Schweden 2001 → 2003 96.1 → 85%
Volksrepublik China 2011 → 2020 18.8 → 33.7%
Litauen 1995 → 2005 90.5 → 75.5%
Mexiko 2016 → 2021 18.6 → 29.8%
Vereinigtes Königreich 1980 → 1993 13.5 → 28.3%
Japan 1998 → 2003 43.5 → 34%
Tschechien 2016 → 2020 41.5 → 50.4%
Südafrika 1983 → 1988 0.5 → 8.9%
Vereinigte Staaten 1973 → 1983 18 → 27.1%
Japan 2006 → 2007 37.9 → 32.5%
Kanada 2003 → 2020 71.6 → 83.5%
Iran 2008 → 2019 3.6 → 11.6%
Frankreich 1991 → 1997 86.5 → 92.1%
Indien 2015 → 2020 18 → 23%
Deutschland 1986 → 1988 28.4 → 32.4%
Slowenien 2016 → 2020 67 → 70.6%
Vereinigte Staaten 1985 → 1990 27 → 30.8%
Frankreich 2013 → 2014 90.3 → 93.2%
Ungarn 2018 → 2019 41.7 → 44.4%
Südafrika 1993 → 1998 5 → 8.2%
EU 1990 → 1997 43.9 → 47.2%
Schweiz 1987 → 1988 97.3 → 99.3%

Blog

Dec 09, 2021
Where do our emissions numbers come from?

Nov 27, 2021
Confronting climate change requires ambition

Sep 08, 2021
Misleading claims about renewable power generation share in Denmark

May 10, 2021
What can we learn about decarbonization from past experiences?

Jan 21, 2021
Why are we not talking about hydropower?

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