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The world needs more nuclear power plants. Just look to Sweden

40 0 14

In the month since the Katowice climate meeting, with its latest alarms on the accelerating pace of climate change and the hopeless progress on cutting global carbon dioxide emissions, there must be many tempted to slit their wrists.

Not so Professor Joshua Goldstein from the American University in Washington, and the Swedish engineer, scientist and consultant Staffan Qvist, who last week published their new book, A Bright Future.

Goldstein and Qvist have a simple recommendation: “The world just needs to be a bit more like Sweden.” That means slashing our reliance on fossil fuels as ruthlessly as possible, continuing to build up our renewable energy resources, and above all else, build “kärnkraft”. That is Swedish for nuclear power plants.

The proposal is a precocious one, in the month that Hitachi has thrown in the towel on the proposed Wylfa Newydd nuclear power plant in north Wales in the UK, and in the eight years since the Fukushima disaster in Japan has idled 42 nuclear plants across Japan, led to the closure of eight plants in Germany, and stalled government nuclear plans in many other countries.

But there is a ruthless logic to Goldstein and Qvist’s argument: the absolute priority is to decarbonise; and since it will take literally a century to build reliable and sufficient solar and wind power, we need to fill the breach with nuclear power generation, which is reliable and can be cranked up at speed while we solve the problems linked with other renewables. In short, it provides a safe, reliable and cost-effective route to fully decarbonised power generation within a time frame that keeps climate chaos at bay.

The authors ask us to look at France, Ontario, and – most closely – Sweden, which effectively........

© South China Morning Post