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Countries’ approaches to reviving nuclear power differ

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Significance

Extending nuclear plants' lifespans is a relatively low-cost way of sustaining this form of power generation, but renewable energy with zero fuel costs is challenging such investments. Nuclear plant newbuilds face barriers in advanced economies. Russia and China will be the primary vendors of nuclear power plants.

Impacts

  • Stalling nuclear power generation in advanced economies will encourage ambitious targets for wind and solar power.
  • The need to invest in and remunerate power system flexibility will become more urgent as nuclear generation declines.
  • Russian and Chinese nuclear power plant exports gives them leverage over developing states, under the mantle of decarbonisation.
  • New approaches to nuclear power are likely to attract public finding in advanced economies.
  • Innovative nuclear technologies are unlikely to arrive at sufficient scale in time to aid decarbonisation efforts much before 2050.

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