Can nuclear power help save us from climate change?

| September 23, 2019

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Globally, nuclear power is on the skids. Its contribution to electricity generation is in a free fall, dropping from a mid-1990s peak of about 18% of worldwide electricity capacity to 10% today, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The agency expects the downward spiral to continue, hitting 5% by 2040 unless governments around the world intervene. The driver for that intervention would be nuclear reactors’ ability to generate energy with low greenhouse gas emission. To meet the world’s energy needs and avoid the worst effects of climate change, low-carbon electricity generation must increase from providing 36% of the world’s energy today to 85% by 2040, the IEA says. “Without an important contribution from nuclear power, the global energy transition will be that much harder,” IEA executive director Fatih Birol says in a statement accompanying an IEA nuclear power report.

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