South Korean energy scenarios show how nuclear power can reduce future energy and environmental costs

Key points:

  • Nuclear power has a key role to play in mitigating (make (something bad) less severe, serious, or painful) green house gas emissions.
  • The Greenpeace scenario has a higher total external cost than the nuclear scenarios.
  • The nuclear-centred scenarios offer the most sustainable option for South Korea.
  • The similar conclusions are likely to apply to other Asian countries.

This journal compares the sustainability of the ‘Governmental’ scenario, which relies on fossil fuels, and the Greenpeace scenario, which emphasized renewable energy and excludes nuclear power. These were based on a range of environmental and technological perspectives which contrasted against two additional nuclear scenarios that instead envisage a dominant role for nuclear energy. Sustainable metrics consist of energy costs, external costs such as greenhouse-gas emissions, air pollutants, land transformation, water consumption and discharge and safety, and also consist of additional costs. The nuclear-centred scenarios produced the lowest total cost per unit of final energy consumption by 2050 ($14.37 GJ−1), while the Greenpeace scenario has the highest costing ($25.36 GJ−1). After researching into probabilistic simulations and cost metrics their simulation modelling came to the conclusion that despite inherent uncertainties, a large expansion for nuclear-power capacity offers the most sustainable pathway for South Korea, adopting a nuclear-free pathway will be costly and produce more greenhouse-gas emissions.

I was very surprised to read South Koreas support for Nuclear power after such catastrophe like Fukushima in 2011, in this journal the Japanese government expresses their previous plans of having a nuclear free future for Japan, but after researching quantitative analysis it’s shown that this would increase negative environmental, economic and social impacts for the country, since 2013 they have backed away from nuclear free proposals. In a report which concludes the risk assessment from Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear accident, despite the widespread public anxiety, the potential dangers to and long-term health impact of the Fukushima region will be insignificant.

 “Overall, people in Fukushima are expected on average to receive less than 10 mSv due to the accident over their whole lifetime, compared with the 170 mSv lifetime dose from natural background radiation that people in Japan typically receive”


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