Inderscience Publishers

The role of nuclear energy in the post-Kyoto carbon mitigation strategies

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Policy scenarios examined in this paper provide insights into the long-term role that nuclear power could play in abating CO2 emissions. Impacts are quantified for a strict phase-out of nuclear generation capacities, and are contrasted with scenarios allowing for a nuclear technology breakthrough under a specific carbon-tax regime. The energy-related global CO2 emissions are reduced by nearly 50% relative to the baseline in 2050 in the carbon-tax scenario, allowing for policies in favour of nuclear energy. On the contrary, the emission-reduction levels are less ambitious for the same carbon tax when a worldwide phasing-out of nuclear power is adopted. The substantial increase in contribution of nuclear energy projected for the carbon mitigation does not represent an acute threat from the uranium resources scarcity point of view for the time horizon of analyses. Nevertheless, the cost of nuclear fuel supplies and waste disposal might increase significantly without adjustments in the technology used.

Keywords: CO2 mitigation, carbon dioxide, nuclear power, carbon value, nuclear fuel, radioactive wastes, nuclear energy, carbon emissions, waste disposal, nuclear waste

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