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Can a "less hazardous" nuclear power play a much larger role in the world's race to decarbonize?

Source : World Economic Forum

Notes by Narsi

Nuclear power is perhaps the only zero-carbon source of energy that actually can scale to provide baseload (24x7) power to a very part of the global economy. Yet, this sector provides hardly 10% of the global electricity consumption currently.

While many claims that nuclear power provides some of the cheapest electricity in the world, I will take that estimate with a pinch of salt as some aspects of nuclear power costs are still a bit smudgy (especially given the long gestation period for these projects to be constructed and commissioned and the extra costs required for safety and maintenance). But even at moderate costs, nuclear power plants are a good bet if not for the safety and security risks.

To a very large extent, the slow growth has been due to concerns over nuclear power plant safety during operations and an equally important concern about the hazards from spent nuclear fuel.

Interestingly, a recent report mentions a technical solution that could perhaps handle the nuclear waste from Finland’s Onkalo spent fuel repository, and several other countries are also working on such projects. Could this be a turning point for the global - and Indian - nuclear power sector?

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