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25 Jul 2019, 14:52
Benjamin Wehrmann

Costly nuclear power no option for low-carbon power mix of future – researchers

Nuclear power production is too expensive – and too dangerous – to play a role in the low-carbon energy system of the future, according to a report (in English) by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW). The authors say “radioactive emissions” mean nuclear power can never be “clean”, and nor has it ever been economically viable. Nuclear power has only been able to compete commercially because it is a byproduct of a technology developed for military, rather than civilian, purposes, they argue. Even without the colossal costs of decommissioning plants and storing nuclear waste, a survey of 674 plants revealed they would have made average losses of 5 billion euros without public support, the authors say. 

Germany produced nearly 12 percent of its power from nuclear plants in 2018 but is set to shut down the last of them at the end of 2022, concluding the nuclear phase-out first agreed in 2001. The cost of storing Germany’s nuclear waste is estimated to amount to around 170 billion euros by the end of the century, a sum Germany intends to raise through a special nuclear waste investment fund.  

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