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

9.9% de la energía eléctrica generada a nivel mundial proviene de Nuclear

¿Qué es Nuclear?

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 66.4% 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.


¿Es Nuclear una fuente de energía baja en carbono?

Sí, debido a sus emisiones relativamente bajas en el ciclo de vital, Nuclear se considera una fuente de energía baja en carbono.

La estimación media de las emisiones del ciclo vital de Nuclear es 12 gCO2eq / kWh. Where do our emissions numbers come from?

Energia eólica11 gCO2eq / kWhBaja en carbono
Nuclear12 gCO2eq / kWhBaja en carbono
Energía hidroeléctrica24 gCO2eq / kWhBaja en carbono
Geotérmica38 gCO2eq / kWhBaja en carbono
Solar45 gCO2eq / kWhBaja en carbono
Biocombustibles230 gCO2eq / kWhBaja en carbono
Gas490 gCO2eq / kWhAlta en carbono / combustible fósil
Petróleo650 gCO2eq / kWhAlta en carbono / combustible fósil
Carbón820 gCO2eq / kWhAlta en carbono / combustible fósil

Nuclear en comparación con otras fuentes de energía eléctrica bajas en carbono

Los productores de energía eléctrica más importantes procedentes de Nuclear

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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.

Cambios significativos de la energía baja en carbono debido a Nuclear

Región Años Cambiar
Francia 1976 → 1986 31.2 → 88.1%
Corea del Sur 1982 → 1986 12.9 → 50%
Argentina 1977 → 1985 23 → 60%
España 1981 → 1988 28.6 → 63.7%
Hungría 1982 → 1988 0.6 → 33.7%
Armenia 1995 → 2002 39.9 → 71.4%
Finlandia 1980 → 1983 41.3 → 67%
Bélgica 1974 → 1977 1.2 → 26.5%
Special region: High Nuclear (>26%), Low Wind And Solar (<13%) 1980 → 1987 41.2 → 70.8%
Bélgica 1983 → 1988 47.7 → 68.4%
Eslovaquia 1997 → 2002 52.5 → 72.7%
Rumanía 2003 → 2014 32.9 → 59.8%
España 2005 → 2010 35.4 → 53.6%
Suecia 1974 → 1981 76.5 → 95.8%
Chequia 2000 → 2013 22.4 → 47%
Alemania 1974 → 1985 8.4 → 30.5%
Japón 1977 → 1985 19.8 → 38.3%
Hungría 2003 → 2009 27.5 → 44%
Chequia 1985 → 1990 7 → 22.4%
Eslovenia 2007 → 2014 59.4 → 76%
Special region: High Nuclear (>13%), High Wind And Solar (>13%) 1980 → 1988 31.7 → 48.5%
Bulgaria 1986 → 1996 31 → 49.2%
Bulgaria 2006 → 2007 52.6 → 41.4%
EU 1980 → 1985 29.6 → 42.5%
Suecia 2001 → 2003 96.1 → 85%
República Popular China 2011 → 2020 18.8 → 33.7%
Special region: High Wind And Solar (>26%), Low Nuclear (<13%) 1980 → 1985 16.5 → 28.4%
Lituania 1995 → 2005 90.5 → 75.5%
México 2016 → 2021 18.6 → 29.8%
Reino Unido 1980 → 1993 13.5 → 28.3%
Japón 1998 → 2003 43.5 → 34%
Chequia 2016 → 2020 41.5 → 50.4%
Sudáfrica 1983 → 1988 0.5 → 8.9%
Estados Unidos 1973 → 1983 18 → 27.1%
Japón 2006 → 2007 37.9 → 32.5%
Canadá 2003 → 2020 71.6 → 83.5%
Irán 2008 → 2019 3.6 → 11.6%
Francia 1991 → 1997 86.5 → 92.1%
India 2015 → 2020 18 → 23%
Alemania 1986 → 1988 28.4 → 32.4%
Eslovenia 2016 → 2020 67 → 70.6%
Estados Unidos 1985 → 1990 27 → 30.8%
Francia 2013 → 2014 90.3 → 93.2%
Hungría 2018 → 2019 41.7 → 44.4%
Sudáfrica 1993 → 1998 5 → 8.2%
EU 1990 → 1997 43.9 → 47.2%
Special region: High Wind And Solar (>26%), Low Nuclear (<13%) 1986 → 1993 26.4 → 29.4%
Suiza 1987 → 1988 97.3 → 99.3%

Blog

Dec 09, 2021
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Nov 27, 2021
Confronting climate change requires ambition

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

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What can we learn about decarbonization from past experiences?

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

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