Nuclear Power And Renewable Energy Not Compatible

The notion that nuclear power has its role alongside renewables in a clean energy future has been argued in a recent study.
 
Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, a non-profit think-tank affiliated with the German Green Party, says the view of nuclear and energy efficiency plus renewable energy co-existing ‘clearly mutually exclude each other” for a number of reasons.
  
On the cost issue, the study carried out for the group points out competition for taxpayer dollars has seen renewable energy miss out on much needed funding required to improve on existing technology. In Germany alone, a country seen as a solar power stronghold, the nuclear sector has received approximately 100 billion Euros in public subsidies to date – and the funding is continuing.
 
Drawing on data from a Renewable Energy Policy Project study carried out in 2000, the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung report says in their first 15 years, nuclear and wind electricity production in the USA produced a similar level of energy, but the subsidy to nuclear outweighed that of wind by a factor of over 40 – $39.4 billion to $900 million.
  
Additionally, the nuclear sector continues to receive substantial subsidies through the lack of incorporating environmental costs into electricity prices, such as the ongoing cost of needing to safely store nuclear power station waste for possibly thousands of years. 
 
Government financial guarantees for third-party liability insurance also add to the taxpayer burden and at the expense of clean, safe power generation technologies. The liability insurance subsidies alone are enough to make solar power cheaper than nuclear energy generated electricity according to a study from Queen’s University in Canada.
 
On the energy efficiency front, the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung report states centralized, large, power-generation units lead to structural overcapacities, killing energy efficiency incentives. Increasing levels of renewable electricity sources will need medium baseload facilities, not large nuclear power plants.
 
The report also says investor cash should also be spent on the options that provide the most substantial emission reductions the fastest. Nuclear power is not only one of the most expensive but also the slowest option, with reactors taking many years to build. A solar farm can be constructed in a matter of months once approval has been given. 
  
Currently, there are 436 nuclear electricity generation facilities in operation globally, but in the next 15 to 20 years more ageing plants will go offline than new ones coming into operation.
  
The full report, entitled “Systems for Change: Nuclear Power vs. Energy Efficiency + Renewables?” can be viewed here (PDF)