Washington, DC (June 14, 2007)- Nuclear power could curb climate change but it would have to expand worldwide at the rate it grew from 1981 to 1990, its busiest decade, and keep up that rate for half a century, a report compiled by environmentalists, academics, and nuclear industry proponents said. Specifically, that would require adding on average 14 plants each year for the next 50 years, all the while building an average of 7.4 plants per year to replace those that will be retired.
The needed rate of expansion would be faster than during the industry’s first 40 years, and faster than the Energy Information Administration’s forecast for the next 30 years in the United States. Some authors differed, though, on how much the industry will expand, and said it could still make some type of impact. While the report also supported storing U.S. nuclear waste at power plants until the long-stalled Yucca Mountain repository opens, 10 repositories the size of Yucca Mountain would be needed to store extra waste generated by the nuclear generation boom.
Twenty-seven individuals from organizations spanning a broad ideological spectrum, including the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Nuclear Energy Institute, spent nine months on the report, called “The Nuclear Power Joint Fact-Finding.” The group, which was brought together by the nonprofit Keystone Center, said that as companies limit generating electricity from coal and other fossil fuels, there will be more financial incentives to build nuclear power plants.