Arms Control Today May 2007
Faux Renaissance: Global Warming, Radioactive Waste Disposal, and the Nuclear Future
Harold A. Feiveson
Over the past 20 years, there has been little or no net growth in installed nuclear capacity in much of the world with the exception of Asia, where there has been some limited new nuclear construction. Many energy analysts now expect, however, a dramatic nuclear renaissance, provoked in part by anxieties over global warming and claims that nuclear power can play a substantial role in easing these concerns.
Yet, nuclear power will have to expand fivefold or more worldwide to make even a modest contribution to greenhouse gas reductions. Such an expansion does not appear feasible in the next quarter-century or longer, and in the interim, there are alternative paths to low-carbon-emitting electricity that appear equally or more promising than nuclear power.